1. CHECK THE WEATHER FORECAST: the weather can turn quickly this time of year, so be prepared and pack the rain gear and the leathers.
2. APPROPRIATE CLOTHING: to stay warm and comfortable you may need gloves and a jacket.
3. WATCH FOR WET LEAVES: wet leaves are slippery so be cautious of the road conditions.
4. WEAR PROPER RAIN GEAR: preferably Gore-Tex or equivalent. It needs to be able to breath but still not allow water to creep in. Make sure your helmet covers your face, since rain above 30 mph is going to hurt you.
5. MAKE SURE YOUR TIRES ARE CORRECT FOR RIDING IN THE RAIN, in other words, do not go out riding in the rain with slick tires.
6. WATCH THE ROAD. What used to be kind-of slippery is now very slippery. White lines on the roads will have become ice rinks, metal plates/manholes are super dangerous, avoid them like the plague.
7. WATCH OUT FOR PADDLES. Yes, it can be fun riding through one, but since the water hides the surface you just don’t know what you are riding into. Can the puddle in fact be a three feet deep hole? Do you want to find out the hard way?
8. When riding and YOU SEE A COLORED RAINBOW ON THE GROUND, watch it. It’s got nothing to do with God’s promise or the gay movement, chances are it’s oil.
9. DEER CAN BE MORE ACTIVE IN THE AUTUMN: always be on the lookout for wildlife
10. When rain first starts after many days of dry weather, it’s when it’s the most dangerous since there’s a lot of oil and dirt on the road. Wait an hour or two for the rain to wash away the oil/dirt before riding since the road surfaces are at their slipperiest. If it’s just drizzle, then the road will remain slippery.
11. RAILWAY CROSSINGS are to be taken as straight as possible. Remember the railway tracks are metal, and wet metal is slippery. Straighten your bike when riding through one.
12. WHEN YOU NEED TO BRAKE, apply more rear brake than normal. If your front wheel starts sliding you’re done for, if your rear wheel slides you can easily correct it.
13. DO NOT BRAKE STRONGLY IF POSSIBLE. Brake gently. If you need to urgently apply your brakes, pump them so that you do not start aquaplaning.
14. GIVE YOURSELF MORE SPACE between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain.
15. RELAX WHEN RIDING. Getting all cramped and bunched up is not good. First of all you will get tired real quickly and it is dangerous. Relaxed riding is much better.
16. BE VISIBLE. Rain makes it difficult for cars to see you. If you have high visibility clothing, now it is the time to put them on.
17. An obvious advice, but here it is anyway: REDUCE YOUR SPEED! In many countries legally you need to reduce speed by some 10-20% when it rains, and there are good reasons for it.
18. Since we don’t have wipers on our helmets (well, maybe some do) you can easily SPRAY SOMETHING LIKE RAIN-X on the visor to help you with your visibility. Rain-X keeps the rain from the visor.
19. When lightning starts up, stop riding. Head for cover (don’t stop below a tree).
Riding in the Rain
When you’re driving in your car or truck, you’re protected from the rain. When you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re exposed to the elements. However, motorcycles do offer some advantages in wet weather. They provide a superior view of the road, easier maneuverability, and more escape routes from any potentially dangerous situations.
If you’re riding in the rain, remember the following tips from the Motorcycle Safety Foundation some of which we covered above:
- Aim for smooth control. Be gentle with our brakes and throttle, but balance your grip. When you’re riding in the rain, aim to complete your turns before you accelerate.
- Avoid last minute reactions whenever possible. In wet weather, you must plan ahead to determine when you will need to accelerate or brake. Using engine braking for corners and junctions will reduce the risk of skidding.
Avoiding hazards is extremely important in the rain and wet road. Watch out for the following obstacles when you’re riding your motorcycle in wet weather:
- Slick concrete surfaces
- Manhole covers
- Railroad tracks
- Oil spills
When you’re purchasing tires for your motorcycle, avoid tires that are labeled as “long-lasting” if you plan to do a lot of riding in wet weather. Many motorcycle owners think this purchase is a good way to save money. However, these tires are typically less tacky and can’t provide enough traction to keep you safe in wet weather.
Always Ride Safe,