Handling Dangerous Surfaces On Your Motorcycle

There are several obvious reasons that riding motorcycles is more dangerous than driving cars: riders having limited experience on a bike, other vehicles on the highway, excessive speed, distracted driving, the size differential of car vs. motorcycle, safety equipment issues, etc. The list truly can go on and on. 

However, one of the biggest reasons that there are more fatalities and serious injuries from motorcycle accidents is the two-wheeled design of a motorcycle, making them much more prone to crashes when attempting to make a quick steering correction or when traveling over dangerous roadway surfaces. Although these problems are better handled by veteran riders who exercise constant caution, there remains a large population of novice and inexperienced riders who lack the knowledge to safely maneuver their motorcycles in hazardous conditions, often leading to serious and sometimes deadly mistakes.

To prevent motorcycle accidents and serious injuries, it is vital for riders to exert caution when traveling over uneven surfaces, slippery roads, railroad tracks, grooved pavement, or gratings. Other road obstacles, such as cracked pavement, potholes, speed bumps, and debris can be equally dangerous. The first and best option is to avoid these types of surfaces altogether by going around them or by avoiding the route.

According to the Indiana Department of Transportation, it is important that when traveling over these areas, you should:

In the rain, or when dealing with slippery surfaces, there are even more considerations to take into account. Since motorcycles rely on good traction to operate correctly, and since rain significantly reduces that traction, it is important to be extra careful in such situations. As with other dangerous surfaces, you should be sure to reduce your speed, avoid sudden movement and sudden speed shifts, and use both brakes. Riding in the tracks and leaving the car ahead of you when it is raining or snowing is a smart move - depending on traffic conditions.

The safest way to drive on wet, snowy, icy, or slippery surfaces is not to drive at all - if you can avoid it at any cost, do so. Driving a motorcycle already comes with a host of risks - don't add more safety issues to that list by choosing to drive in the rain or snow when it is avoidable.

James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller