Virginians enjoy three seasons of “outdoor” weather: spring, summer, and fall. And while spring and fall can have frosty mornings and evenings, the daytime hours are typically pleasant. Winter, on the other hand, can range from chilly to downright freezing. Because of the cold temperatures, many motorcyclists prefer to leave their bikes in storage, but others brave the cold weather.
Riding a motorcycle at any time of year can be an economical choice due to their excellent MPG, but is riding one during the winter safe? Here are a few things to consider:
- It’s easier to tolerate full gear during the winter—When you ride, you should wear all the gear, all the time. But for many riders, suiting up can be unbearably hot in the summer. Wearing a thick riding jacket and pants during the winter can be a bonus, however, as they can keep you warm.
- There are more road hazards—Unfortunately, the tradeoff for being more comfortable in your gear is facing more dangers on the road. Ice is extremely hazardous for riders. All it takes is driving over a small patch of ice to lose control of your bike. In addition, potholes are more likely to form in the winter, and even small ones can be life-threatening hazards.
- You get fewer daylight hours—Staying safe as a motorcyclist is all about being seen, and that typically means riding during the day. When you ride at night, drivers can’t see you as easily. And unfortunately, winter has much fewer daylight hours than summer, limiting your riding time.
What’s the verdict? Winter riding can be as safe as you make it, but one thing is for sure: avoid riding when temperatures are near or below freezing, as ice is among the biggest risks you’ll face.