Riding a motorcycle in the rain – Safety tips
Especially on hot summer days, when we hit the roads and go for longer trips, it can happen quite often that a summer storm catches you on the way. If the storm is not too severe, it can actually be quite fun riding a motorcycle in the rain. Of course, with a proper motorcycle waterproof gear. But there are some very important safety facts you need to take into account.
See and be seen when riding a motorcycle in the rain
When it begins to rain, the visibility decreases a lot. Make sure you will be able to see clearly and you will be seen. Anti-fog visors or Pinlock anti-fog insert lenses are a must-have for your motorcycle helmet to ride in such conditions. It will prevent your helmet visor to fog up and you will be able to see clearly.
Make sure you use your motorcycle turn signals to indicate your intentions. Where possible, indicate also with your hand signals. While waiting at the red light, stay on your brakes. The motorcycle brake light will warn drivers behind you. Allow them to see you sooner and better. If you are wearing reflective motorcycle gear it can only help other drivers to see you in good and especially in bad weather. The reflective gear is even more important when riding a motorcycle in the rain when visibility gets worse. With a back off module or smart brake light installed, it will increase your capacity of communicating with other vehicles in traffic while braking with the engine or downshifting.
Take it easy
After a longer period of dry weather, the first 10-15 minutes of rain are the worst when it comes to road conditions. A lot of dust and dirt has gathered on the road. Before the rain washes it all away, it makes those spots on the road very slippery. Take extra caution since the combination of water and dirt affects tire traction and braking. When riding a motorcycle in the rain, brake and accelerate smoothly. Do not exaggerate while cornering, loosen up your body and do only one thing at a time.
Rainbows on the road won’t bring you any luck
You must have seen a rainbow on the asphalt before. Especially while it is raining or just after the rain has stopped. Even if the colors of the rainbow on the road may look nicer than different shades of usual grey, those spots are the worst for riding a motorcycle in the rain. The reason the rainbow patches form on the road is in the rain mixing with the oil that dripped from different vehicles. That combination makes the road very slippery. Also, take extra caution on intersections. On spots where vehicles are stopping on the intersections, oily patches are much more common than elsewhere on the road. They are harder to see in raining conditions.
Beware of road markings, manhole covers, railway crossings
Every time the riding surface changes you need to adapt your ride to those specific conditions. While it is raining or just after it stopped, the roads remain wet for quite some time. Road markings, manhole covers and railway crossings become as slippery as ice. Those surfaces differ a lot from asphalt and the rainwater makes it only worse. My advice is to slow down significantly before you go over those surfaces and do it in an upright riding position. Minimise the lean angle to the extent the situation allows. Riding a motorcycle in the rain on those surfaces can be very dangerous. Do not brake or accelerate on those surfaces and take extra caution.
Avoid puddles on the road – it may seem as a lot of fun but it could end a disaster
Everybody hides a child within himself and on some occasions, the child wants to get out. Seeing a puddle on the road might be one of those occasions. Even if it may seem that splashing might be a lot of fun, it can end in everything else but fun. You can never be sure what hides beneath the puddle. The best advice would be to avoid it completely. If you can’t avoid it, don’t make sudden moves, don’t brake hard and don’t even think about accelerating (aquaplaning). Try to keep your motorcycle in an upright position and cross it with extra care. Riding your motorcycle in the rain should remain fun even after the puddle.
Find a line with less surface water
If you are following another vehicle, you will notice that there is less water in the tire tracks of the vehicles in front of you. Tires push the water away for a brief moment which allows you more traction. Still be very careful and keep enough distance from the vehicle in front of you if you would need to brake quickly. Even if the water is pushed away, the road is still slippery. Always find the driest line when riding a motorcycle in the rain.
Motorcycle safety is very important, no matter what the weather conditions are like. Take extra care on wet surfaces during or just after the rain. If you are fond of seeing some safety tips for riding a motorcycle in the rain in a video, take a look at the FortNine YouTube channel and his ride after the summer storm.
Stay safe on a sunny day and when you go riding a motorcycle in the rain!