Hurricane season runs June through November in Miami and elsewhere in Florida. That means that your chances of running into a severe storm on your motorcycle are heightened during the summer and early autumn.
Knowing how to operate your bike if you run into such a storm can mean the difference between making it home and ending up in the hospital. Here are some tips for riding safely when Mother Nature is tossing you her worst.
Tips for Riding Your Motorcycle Safely in Bad Weather
1. Don’t Get (Too) Wet
At best, it’s uncomfortable to ride with water pouring down your back. At worst, it’s difficult to stay upright and on two wheels. If you are wearing rain gear, you may still get wet. If you forget your rain gear, you’re going to get soaked. Make sure that you always have a rain suit at the ready.
If you are purchasing new rain gear, look for an entire suit. Make sure the pants are long enough to cover your legs and that the sleeve cuffs will prevent rain from entering your gloves. Remember that leather is not waterproof. If you don’t want to start off in your rain gear, at least have it packed and with you.
2. Avoid Slick Roads
Many riders know that the roads will be slippery when it has rained or is raining, but it’s not unusual to misjudge the timing of when roads turn slippery. Don’t rely on the rain pouring from the sky to tell you how treacherous the roads will be. A road will be more slippery if there has been a long dry spell.
Dirt and oil have been building up on the road and will present more of a hazard than if there had been several days of rain to wash them away. The sections of road that lay just before a traffic light or stop sign tend to have more oil and debris build up, so be careful.
3. Know the Street
The things you can’t see on the road are often more dangerous than the things you can. Heavy rains hide road hazards that you may see if the sky was clear. Hard rains can inhibit your ability to see potholes, uneven pieces of road and other hazards that could throw you off your bike.
Try to stick to roads that are familiar to you if you can help it. At least you’ll know where the holes are and which sections of road are clear.
4. Handling Hydroplaning
Most people in Miami have experienced hydroplaning in a vehicle. You feel as though you lose control of your car, even slightly, and you take your foot off the gas until you clear the water. Hydroplaning on a motorcycle isn’t much different, although it does happen less thanks to the shape of a motorcycle’s tires.
If you find yourself careening through the water, lay off the throttle and keep your hands firmly on the grips. Try to maintain control of your bike and only increase your speed once you have made it over the puddle.
5. Just Don’t Do It
If we are being honest, and we are, your best course of action during severe weather is to just stay home. You can do everything right while driving through a storm and still find yourself in an accident. Driving during a storm is dangerous. There is no two ways about it. If you have the option of staying home or at least driving a car, do so.
Storing Your Bike
You know how to prepare your home in the face of a hurricane. You know what you and your family will do if you are forced to evacuate. Do you know what to do with your motorcycle?
Your bike is an investment that you want to protect. Parking it in the garage and hoping for the best is okay, but if you really want to keep your bike safe, there are a few steps you can take.
1. Evacuate Your Bike
If you know that a hurricane is barreling down and you have time to do so, consider storing your bike outside of the evacuation zone. If you have friends or family that live outside of the effects of the storm, find out if you can store your bike in their garage. This won’t work for everyone, but it is the best way to keep your bike safe.
2. Put It Up
In areas where flooding is a concern, put your bike on a lift or lift table. Strap your bike down after it has been lifted to make sure it doesn’t roll or fall off. Place your bike close to a wall to protect it from high winds.
3. Wrap It
Wrapping your motorcycle won’t protect it from all debris, but it will offer at least some peace of mind. Wrap or cover your bike in thick blankets or a tarp. It may not protect your bike from the heaviest of debris, but it can help prevent scratches and dings from lighter pieces of debris flying or falling through the air.
4. Cover and Remove
Take time to cover your exhaust and air cleaners, even if you are wrapping your bike. The extra protection will prevent water from getting into your engine. Take off or lower your windshield to protect it from breakage. If you have any custom pieces, consider removing them, wrapping them and storing them somewhere safer than your garage.
Nothing beats the feeling of riding your bike on a clear summer day. It’s when the weather takes a turn for the worse that things turn from pleasant to harrowing. If you can’t avoid riding during a severe storm, be sure to follow the tips above.
Speak with a Miami Motorcycle Accident Attorney Today
If you are involved in a motorcycle accident, reach out to our experienced team of Miami motorcycle accident lawyers. We can offer you a free case evaluation to determine if you are entitled to damages from the at-fault party. Call our office today to schedule your consultation and learn more about your legal rights.