Riding Your Motorcycle in the Rain
Five Important Safety Tips
Riding your Harley-Davidson throughout Miami and the greater South Florida area can be like riding through paradise filled with ocean views and palm trees. But with any tropical paradise, rain can come at any time and pose a challenge for even the most experienced biker.
Currently, we South Florida residents are in the rainiest month of the year and in the midst of hurricane season. That being said, let’s take a look at five important safety tips when riding your motorcycle in the rain.
The first step in protecting yourself and staying safe when riding your motorcycle in the rain is wearing the right gear. Be sure to have high boots, a waterproof jacket, helmet, and gloves to keep you warm and dry. Even though we’re in Miami, you’d be surprised how cold it can get when riding in the rain.
Another great tip is having a helmet with an anti-fog visor and a breath guard. Visibility is the most important thing and will ensure you stay safe on your journey. You can check out authentic Harley-Davidson gear here.
Just as important as staying warm and dry, is ensuring your motorcycle has plenty of good tread on your tires. If your tires are bald, they won’t be able to grip the road and the risk of hydroplaning increases. Also, try to avoid any painted areas (such as lane lines) as they tend to cause slip when changing lanes or coming to a stop. Lastly, being sure you’re in the right gear will also help prevent any slippage or loss of traction. When accelerating from a standstill, try upshifting earlier to manage torque and prevent skidding.
You never know what kind of drivers are going to be around you or what they might do, especially in the rain. The best advice is to give yourself plenty of spacing in front of you. This allows you to be prepared for any sudden stops or movements. Defensive driving is key when navigating your motorcycle through the rain. You won’t always have enough traction to stop immediately if the need arises. The more space you have, the safer you’ll be. Spacing is your friend!
This leads us to the next most important tip when riding your motorcycle in the rain. Always be aware of your bike and your surroundings. As stated above, make sure you have enough tread on your tires, your electronics (e.g., blinkers) are in working order, and that you stick to the driest parts of the pavement where possible.
It’s also important to maintain focus on other drivers. Despite rainy conditions, other vehicles may try to overtake you and when they do, they often get closer to you. Be aware of these signs so you’re prepared on what other drivers plan on doing. Riding at slower speeds, with plenty of spacing are your best bets.
One of the scariest things about riding in the rain is hydroplaning. This is when your motorcycle rides over water causing you to lose traction and drift, or “float”. It’s important to try to not panic if this happens. Also, resist slamming on your brakes if you feel your bike begin to drift or float. Instead, let off the throttle, and relax your grip. The tighter you hold the handlebars the more exaggerated the movements can become.
Ultimately, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of distance between you and other drivers, stay warm and dry, and maintain clear visibility at all times. And remember, if the rain becomes too difficult to navigate through, it’s best to stop somewhere safe and let the weather pass.