As if rain, sleet and snow weren’t enough to deal with, often they are coupled with high winds which can make for even more of a challenging ride. Whether it’s raining or not, high winds can sap your concentration and make you feel unsteady on two wheels. We spoke to the Institute of Advanced Motorists Chief Examiner, Peter Rodger, who gave us his top tips for riding in high winds…

  • Make sure you wrap up warmly – don’t underestimate the effects of wind chill.
  • If you have luggage attached, but aren’t using it then it would be wise to leave it in the garage. Removing side mass will make your bike easier to ride.
  • Naturally, your bike will move around in high winds – the severity will depend on the type of machine you are riding. The trick is to try and stay as relaxed as possible – use the throttle and counter steer to balance out the effects.
  • Anticipate where you think gusts of wind will be worse; for example, gaps in buildings, gateways and bridges. Predicting where it will be allows you to better prepare for it.
  • You should also keep an eye on how trees, bushes and other vehicles on the road are moving to gain a better understanding of how gusty strong winds really are.
  • When you are buffeting and moving around take some speed off to aid stability and safety.
  • While some riders find that slowing down helps, other riders prefer to keep their machine under slight acceleration – be prepared to try both.
  • Depending on the machine, try minimising airflow by lowering your body towards the tank. If a screen is fitted and is adjustable then consider lowering it to reduce the sail effect.
  • Keep an eye out for where you will suddenly go from a windy section of the road to a sheltered one. Sudden loss of a strong side wind can be just as unbalancing, so be prepared.
  • Sometimes you can get shelter from wind when you are being masked behind a larger vehicle. However, make sure this does not make you vulnerable to another vehicle that is being blown towards you.
  • Ensure that you give other road users more room when passing them – especially those vulnerable to side winds, like cyclists and other motorcyclists, large flat-sided vans and buses.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for anything flying about on the roads. If it is windy make sure you give anything laying on the ground a wide berth to try and help you avoid it flying up in front of you.

How do you deal with riding in high winds – or do you leave your bike in the garage? Tell us by commenting below!

Tony Carter

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