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Unique safety concerns for motorcycle riders during cooler months

The climate in Louisiana makes year-round motorcycle riding more accessible than it is in many other states. Riders don’t have to battle ice and snow the way they might in the Midwest, which means that they can potentially ride throughout the year if they make safety their top priority.

Of course, riding during the winter months is different than riding during the summer, and there are some safety considerations that motorcyclists need to take under advisement if they intend to keep their bikes out of storage and on the road all four seasons each year.

Practical risks

Lower ambient air temperatures can cause mild changes in how a motorcycle performs. For example, colder pavement, particularly first thing in the morning, can affect tire pressure and therefore someone’s control of their motorcycle. Motorcycle riders will need to be a bit more proactive about monitoring the condition of their tires during the colder months and may also want to maintain slightly lower speeds and longer following distances to improve their safety in traffic. Any precipitation could also affect traction and safety, as well as visibility to other drivers.

Subtler risks

Statistically, the number of motorcycle collisions that occur during the winter months is lower than the total number of summer crashes. However, when considering the fewer miles traveled on motorcycles during the winter, the risk based on driving habits might actually be higher than people realize. Some of that enhanced risk comes from how people mentally associate motorcycle travel with the summer. Drivers in larger vehicles will be less likely to watch for motorcycles during the fall, winter and early spring. They are therefore more likely to cause a preventable collision. Failing to actively watch for motorcycles is one of the leading reasons that those in larger vehicles cause crashes with motorcycles.

When motorcycle riders acknowledge and account for seasonal risks, they may have an easier time minimizing their chances of being involved in a collision. Ultimately, accounting for seasonal safety hazards and knowing one’s rights are both important for the overall well-being of Louisiana motorcycle riders.