Gone With The Wind

Safety Tip of the Week
Wind: Watch Out!

Riding your motorcycle in windy conditions can be dangerous. We found a lot of information about what to do to increase your safety when the wind blows. This tip is just the beginning. Watch for more in upcoming newsletters.

The safest ways to ride in wind depend on which way it’s blowing. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you head out. Some days it may be best not to ride at all. But even if the forecast is benign, wind conditions can change during the course of your ride. In leathers and helmet, and moving, it can be difficult for you to notice changes in wind conditions until they begin to affect your ride. Keep wind in mind and watch things like grass, treetops, pennants or flags. If they show that the wind is blowing in one direction, we have some tips that will help. But, if they veer and vary, you will have a more difficult time.

Of course, a heavier, more low-slung motorcycle will be less affected by wind than a light, tall motorcycle. But you probably have just one, so that’s perhaps a consideration when purchasing a motorcycle, but not much help now. However, if you know you’ll be riding in windy conditions, don’t add large bags. Consider leaving saddle bags and tank bags at home when a windy day is forecast. They give more area for wind from any direction to push you around, and they add extra drag.

Windy days can pose extra hazards for your eyes. The wind can lift and carry grit and debris, and these can be blinding. Be sure to wear a full-face helmet, or pull down that visor, or wear wraparound eyeglasses. A windshield is also a big help, of course.

Wind often comes with rain. Your rain gear should be tight at the neck, wrists, and ankles to avoid leaks. The nuisance of feeling water run against skin can be especially dangerous when you need all your wits about you to counteract gusts of wind.

Allow more travel time. Riding in and reacting to the wind will take a lot out of you, both physically and mentally. Plan for stops to rest and refresh in a sheltered spot or indoors. You may also find that you need to ride more slowly in windy conditions.

More tips to come on this important topic.