When you take your motorcycle out on a beautiful day, you can enjoy it all — the open road, the sunshine, the fresh air, and the calmness of the ride. But when you take your bike out on a windy day, it’s a much different experience.
Not only can the wind be cold and uncomfortable for riding, but it can also make it more challenging to maintain control. In fact, riding your motorcycle in the wind can be such a nerve-wracking journey that it might make you decide to skip the trip entirely. However, there will be times when you get caught on a windy day or when your bike is your only option. Follow these tips to stay safe when riding your motorcycle in the wind.
Tip #1: Prepare in advance for a windy ride.
- Minimize the amount of baggage that you carry. Saddlebags, backpacks, and even your clothing can catch the wind, creating unnecessary drag.
- Secure loose items that could be easily blown away.
- Wear protective eyewear to shield your eyes from any windblown dirt or debris.
Tip #2: Check the weather.
- Wind speeds exceeding 50 mph are considered too dangerous for motorcycles, even heavier models.
- Wind speeds between 20 and 30 mph will be too much for most lightweight motorcycles.
- Avoid taking your motorcycle out during high wind warnings, hurricane-force winds, tornados, or other severe weather conditions.
Tip #3: Stay calm and in control.
- Don’t panic. Relax and try not to grip the handles too hard. Maintain a steady speed.
- Ride in the middle of the lane. Give yourself some space in case you move to the right or left due to wind gusts. Know that the other vehicles on the road could be moved by the wind, too.
- Know your abilities. If you’re inexperienced, or if you feel out of control, find a safe place to wait it out. Better safe than sorry.
Tip #4: Know the direction of the wind and how to adjust.
- You may be able to feel the direction of the wind. But if you’re unsure, look for things that are blowing: grass, the tops of trees, and flags. Note the direction the wind is blowing.
- If it’s a tailwind, it will push you from behind.
- Give yourself extra stopping distance. The wind could propel you forward as you’re trying to slow and stop.
- Watch your speed and stay in your comfort zone. You don’t want the wind to push you faster than you are comfortable traveling.
- If it’s a crosswind, it comes from the sides.
- This is the most difficult type of wind. It can come to you from either side, or both.
- Shift your weight to the side the crosswind is coming from and lean into it slightly. Do it carefully so you don’t affect your balance.
- Using your leg on the side the wind is coming from, turn your knee in the direction the wind is blowing. Your leg acts as a sail and the wind won’t push you as hard.
- If it’s a headwind, it’s coming to you from the front.
- Headwinds are stronger than the wind that usually comes at you from the front.
- Ride low behind the windshield.
- Keep your legs and arms close to your body and to the bike.
Tip #5: Be aware of wind fluctuations.
- The wind direction can change at any time. Be prepared to adjust accordingly.
- If you’re behind a large truck, it will block the wind from you somewhat. Be prepared for a wind gust as you move away from the truck.
- Remember the rules about sharing the road with others. Add extra distance when it’s windy in case you need it.
Tip #6: Certain places are windier than others.
- Winds are generally higher in the hills and lower in the valleys.
- Roads with hedges and other barriers can help to protect you from the wind.
- If the open road is too windy, see if there is another route you can take that is more sheltered.
Windy conditions can contribute to accidents. Make sure your bike is fully protected with the right amount of motorcycle insurance. Safe travels—and enjoy the ride.
This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or www.calcas.com.