Although riding your motorcycle during the wintertime is legal in Ontario, it doesn’t mean that it’s always the smart thing to do – and especially doing so unprepared.
When road conditions are bleak and slippery, it’s usually best to just stay home and not take your chances.
However, sometimes, riding in these conditions is just unavoidable.
That’s why it’s important to remember what you must do in order to safely maneuver icy or snowy roads on your trusty mechanical steed.
Take a look at these 5 tips.
Know what surfaces will do you the most favours
Compacted snow that’s been treaded over repeatedly by cars will be hard and incredible slippery, so it’s best to avoid riding in the tire tracks of cars.
Instead, opt for loose or freshly-fallen snow, which will give your tires more traction.
Also keep an eye for salt on the ground, which can cause your tires to lose traction, especially when turning a corner.
Dark + Glossy = Black Ice
As friendly as Canadians can be, we share a common enemy that’s hated across the nation: black ice. This thin coating of transparent and extremely slippery ice often blends right into the road, catching us off-guard.
However, it can sometimes be spotted as a patch of black, shiny asphalt.
Dry asphalt in the winter is almost always gray-white in colour.
If you suspect an area to be black ice, it’s best to steer clear of it completely.
But, if you do hit ice or another slippery surface, pull in the clutch and coast across, using your foot to hold your bike up if necessary. Be sure to stay off the brakes as well, which will most likely cause you to skid.
Be one with the brakes
In an empty parking lot, practice braking on your bike. Starting slow and working your way up to faster speeds, this will help you get a good feel of braking with different amounts of pressure.
If your bike doesn’t have an anti-locking braking system (ABS), squeezing on your brake handle hard will likely cause you to come flying off. Instead, what you should do is brake with your rear brake first, and then immediately apply pressure to the front break
Prepare your tires
Cold temperatures will mean cold tires, which don’t have as much grip.
In regular temperatures, tires will heat up after you ride for a bit, creating tighter traction. However, in the winter, any tire heat that you might’ve gathered will be gone after stopping at a red.
Consider investing in a pair of winter tires for your bike. While they’re not a very common practice for a lot motorcyclists, they do exist, and in Quebec, they’re even the law. Alternatively, look into installing studs into your tires.
Also remember to check your tire pressure frequently, with a gauge – not just your fingers!
Dress for warmth
While this is piece of advice is applicable to most things in life, it’s especially important for motorcycling in the winter.
Staying warm is key to conserving energy, which helps you stay energized and alert.
Dress in proper motorcycling gear designed for winter and wear base layers to help retain your body heat. Stay dry and avoid exposing any skin.
Also keep in mind that face-shield fogging will become worse in the winter, so consider investing in a helmet with anti-fogging technology, or apply some anti-fog treatment before heading out.
Motorcycle accidents can happen and their effects can be devastating. If you’ve been injured, contact our team of lawyers at Harris Law. We’ll investigate all the factors involved in the accident and get you the compensation you deserve.