Motorcyclists face risks on the road regardless of the time of year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motorcyclists are nearly 30 times more likely to face a fatal collision than a passenger vehicle.
The risk of accident can grow in the colder months when winter weather can create especially dangerous conditions for motorcycles.
Difficulty maintaining control
Ice and snow create slippery roadways that can make it difficult for riders to control their bikes. Cold tires also have less traction than warm ones, which compounds the effects of slick surfaces. Tires lose pressure when temperatures drop, so motorcyclists must make sure to fill their tires to the manufacturers’ specifications before each ride.
Snow and sleet can make it difficult for bikers to see and respond to hazards in time to avoid a collision. Additionally, cars may have increased trouble seeing motorcycles, either due to precipitation, iced-over windows or sunlight reflecting off of snow.
Effects of cold air
Motorcyclists do not have the same protection from the cold air that passengers in cars do, and even temperatures above freezing can have life-threatening implications. Hypothermia can set in quickly and be fatal. Additionally, stiff muscles and limbs cannot respond as quickly to potential dangers. Cold temperatures can distract riders and make thinking difficult.
When riding in winter weather, motorcyclists need to take precautions to protect themselves. This includes wearing the correct gear, checking tire pressure and planning their route to avoid particularly hazardous conditions. When in doubt, it is better to stay home until the weather improves.