Is It Safe to Ride a Motorcycle in the Winter?
For many motorcyclists, there are three riding seasons: spring, summer, and fall. Winter is the time to store their bikes and count down the days until it warms up again. But some bikers ride year-round. Doing so is unquestionably chilly, especially in Wisconsin, but is it dangerous?
The biggest factor to consider when asking this question is the weather conditions on the day you ride. Temperature plays a role, but mostly for comfort. The bigger consideration is whether there’s been any precipitation recently, including a chance of it during your ride. When temperatures are near or below freezing, puddles and small amounts of rain can freeze, causing black ice to form.
Ice and snow are extremely dangerous for all drivers, but especially motorcyclists. That’s because motorcycles have only two wheels, and traction is limited compared to cars, trucks, and SUVs. All it takes is one brief loss of traction or control on a patch of ice and motorcyclists can wipe out, resulting in serious injuries.
Another factor to consider is increased stopping distance for both bikes and other vehicles. Even in inclement weather, the biggest risk factor that motorcyclists face is other drivers. When those drivers can’t slow down in time to avoid a crash, their chances of being injured increase significantly.
Ultimately, riding a motorcycle during the winter is up to each rider. It’s not always the most comfortable ride, although wearing all the gear can make it more tolerable. But to be on the safe side, avoid riding when there’s any chance of ice or snow on the roads, and stick to warmer days during the winter.