Nobody particularly enjoys riding in the rain, but most of us end up spending some time on wet roads. Here’s some advice from Mark Lewis , director of standards at the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) on how to make your riding experience in wet weather a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Always begin with pre-ride checks of tyres, lights and lubricant. Too little tread, sidewall damage and low pressure could each contribute to sudden loss of grip or tyre failure which could bring a bike down.
- While all bikes imported into the UK from 2003 do not have a manual light switch, if yours is older don’t forget to switch your lights on if you have doubts at all if you feel you might not be seen, especially in poor conditions or at dusk.
- Make all your inputs; whether steering, braking or acceleration as smooth as you can. There is only a set amount of grip available for the tyres, so make all changes in acceleration, steering and braking smooth, progressive ones.
- You should keep your visor clean and if you don’t have a pin lock system, ensure it is treated with a fog-resistant product.
- Be aware that visibility will be seriously reduced when travelling on busy roads due to spray. Anticipate that you may not have been seen by other road users and plan accordingly. Reduced visibility may increase blind spot areas for other motorists – consider your positioning to be seen.
- It might sound obvious, but make sure you stay as dry as possible. Old leaky clothing will sap your heat, strength and concentration.
- Be extra careful at roundabouts, near petrol station forecourts and on newly laid tarmac for oil on the road. Oil will sit above the water and is not always visible.
- Finally, take extreme care when riding over standing water. You have no idea how deep it may be or what may be below the surface. Grip the bars firmly and try to keep the machine as upright as possible. Remember to try your brakes after exiting deep water and periodically in wet conditions.
Mark is a former advanced police motorcyclist with 37 years of biking know-how. He also rode police bikes operationally in London and one year clocked up 18,000 miles on ‘blue lights’ and siren duty. He has also been an examiner for police motorcycle students.
Mark said: “Riders must make their actions on a bike as smooth and as predictable as possible. They must not assume that anyone driving a vehicle has seen them or can work out what they will do next.
“By following these guidelines, you will have a safe and stress-free ride to your destination – whatever the weather!”