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Motorcycle Safety Tips for Autumn

By Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie on December 12, 2019

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Autumn is the perfect time of year for riding. The air is crisp and refreshing, the skies are bluer, and some leaves are changing colors in Southern California. But riding in the fall comes with its own set of hazards. The following motorcycle safety tips can help you have a safe and pleasant ride.

Check Your Tires and Fluids

Make sure your tire tread depth is at least 2/32 of an inch. If it is not, you need new tires. You get less traction with colder concrete in cooler autumn weather, and you will need the tread depth to channel water away from your tire surfaces in case of autumn rains. Check your fluids and make sure your brake fluid is clean. If you have a liquid-cooled engine, check to be sure the coolant is fresh.

Dress in Layers

Temperature can change drastically during the day in autumn. While early mornings and late evenings are often chilly, temperatures can climb into the mid-70s or higher during the day. The best solution to extreme temperature fluctuations is to dress in layers. Start with a good, insulating base layer, with comfort and breathability, and wear comfortable riding clothes on top. Pack an extra fleece or a similar garment for additional warmth.

Beware of Autumn Leaves

Falling leaves create visual hazards on the road and the trails. Wet, falling leaves can stick to your visor or obscure branches in your path. Fallen leaves on the ground are an equal hazard. They can camouflage holes, rocks, or protruding objects on trails, or cover up drains and waterways on the roads. Wet, slippery leaves on the ground can cause traction issues and lead to a crash.

Watch Out for Wildlife

Wild animals are more actively searching for food in the fall. Deer feed close to roads, usually at dusk or dawn. Try to maximize your peripheral vision and stay alert for riding hazards to give yourself more reaction time. Slow down, be ready to brake, and keep your eyes moving if you are riding in areas where wildlife is likely to be present.

Pay Attention to Roads That Are Frosty or Cooler

When the concrete is colder, your bike gets less traction. Tires will come up to temperature with continuous riding, but slowly, and they cool down much faster when you stop. Mornings can be chilly in the fall, and a thin layer of frost can cause loss of traction. Ride in the middle of the road, if possible, as more frost collects around the edges, and ride in car tire tracks when you can.

Check the Weather Often and Bring Your Rain Gear

Fall is famous for unpredictable weather. When fronts move in, temperatures can drop quickly, and chilling rain can lead to hypothermia. Keep a close eye on the weather in planning your route, and always pack rain gear as a precaution.

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