It’s a given fact that motorcyclists are more vulnerable to danger than most other road users. As winter draws closer and the nights get darker, it’s essential to take a few additional steps to keep yourself safe on the road.
Why should you consider wearing brighter clothing?
To abide by the law, the only protective equipment a rider needs to wear at all times is the helmet. It’s the responsibility of the rider to make themselves more visible. This is especially important during late evenings, dull or rainy weather conditions and at night when the light conditions are reduced. No one want’s to be involved in an accident and wearing clothing with a reflective colour can aid others to see you so will help to prevent this.
Try swapping your helmet for a brightly coloured one
Being a motorcyclist, buying a good quality helmet should be your priority when it comes to purchasing safety gear. It’s against the law to ride a motorcycle without wearing a helmet.
The helmet must meet the standards that are set by the British Safety standards. By choosing a bright or at least light coloured helmet, it will help you be more visible to other road users, and naturally bright colours are more noticeable than dark or dull colours.
Consider some additional add-ons to make yourself brighter
One of the latest technological advancements is the introduction of the ‘LED light system’ to helmets. Much like when you put the brakes on a red light comes on the back of your motorcycle/car, the LED system will produce a red light on the helmet as well.
Alternatively, there are plenty of cheaper LED brands designed for motorcyclists on the market — these work by securing a band around each leg and arm. Just ensure that the bands are fully secure before setting off on a ride and suitable for the speeds you intend to go at.
Invest in reflective clothing and reflecting tape
You don’t need to invest in a state of the art light system to make yourself seen. Reflective strips can be a great and cheaper alternative to LED’s. Reflective tape and stripes will have a white glow when passing any light source such as headlights and streetlights. This, in turn, will increase your visibility.
Reflective tape on your wheels is also a good way of being noticeable to other road users. However, always check with your garage to ensure any motorcycle add-ons have been installed safely and legally.
Consider swapping your bike leathers for warmer gear
Instead of wearing items such as kevlar jeans in winter, opt for safer and warmer clothing such as heavy-duty textiles. Wearing suitable quality gloves and footwear is also strongly recommended. The easiest way to lose concentration on a motorcycle is by allowing yourself to get too cold. This could result in a severe road accident.
In the worst-case scenario, whilst riding a bike, you can develop hypothermia if your body’s core temperature falls below 10 degrees. Riding at an average road speed of 55 mph with wind chill can be a severe health risk so make sure you keep yourself warm.
Prepare your motorcycle for winter
All motorcyclists know how important it is to keep your bike in good condition. This is especially the case in winter. Make sure you keep an eye on essential things such as tyre pressure, brake lights, exhausts and clean your bike chain frequently. By doing this, you will be limiting the potential of having an accident due to a fault on the motorcycle. If anything else, it will save you money in the long run as well.
Avoid distractions such as your mobile phone
Riding your motorcycle in winter can be miserable. You may find yourself having to take different routes due to the road conditions. It’s cold, and the chances are there will be more traffic on the road. It can be tempting to put headphones in for listening to music and the sat-nav.
Ride more cautiously in poor weather
Always remember that it’s easier for a car or lorry to lose control on icy roads. Even if a car driver does see you if their vehicle hits black ice, it may be out of their power to stop before hitting you. Always have the road conditions in your mind and do your best to avoid riding in the blindspots of different vehicles. Prepare for the possibility that they cannot see you.