Minimizing the Dangers of Winter Motorcycle Riding in New Jersey
Despite a recent drop in nationwide motorcycle accident fatalities, New Jersey's rate has increased. For New Jersey motorists, 2017 was the deadliest year in a decade, and that included an increase in motorcycle crash fatalities. Unfortunately, the upcoming winter season can be particularly hazardous for motorcyclists; however, there are ways to mitigate the risks of riding through ice and snow.
Choose the Right Motorcycle for Winter Riding
If you are new to motorcycle riding, you may discover that taking an expensive or prized bike out a lot during the winter is not a good idea. MotoSport recommends using a motorcycle that you do not mind getting dirty or scratched. You do not want to distract yourself on the road by worrying about salt in slush puddles or other issues, and you probably would not like to have to detail your bike after every ride. This is especially true if you use it to ride to work.
Have a Tow and Repair Company on Call
Find a local mechanic and towing company that you trust. If you use the previous tip, you will probably be using an older motorcycle during the colder months, and this means that you are more likely to need repair or towing services. It is harder to search for and compare service providers when you are stuck on the side of the road with cold wind, snow or sleet to contend with. Make sure that the company you pick is available to respond during the hours that you normally ride.
Check Your Tires
When you ride your motorcycle or motorbike regularly during the winter, you should have tires that are optimized for cold, wet and dirty roads. Tires do not just keep your bike connected to the road. They also affect comfort, longevity, braking distance and more. If your motorcycle is powerful, it can wear out some rear tires within about 800 miles of use. This is true with normal use and even with multi-compound rear fitting.
Choosing winter tires involves identifying your riding habits, your needs and your motorcycle's requirements. If you are not sure which tires are better for your bike, talk to a reputable motorcycle tire provider. While tires with more tread blocks should stand up to water and debris better, the type of motorcycle that you have also has an impact on which tires will work better for you. The way that you ride in the winter, what you wear and your other preparatory steps are just as important as good tires.
Buy Winter Riding Gear
With colder temperatures, your reactions are naturally slower. This can create multiple accident hazards whether you are on an open road or a crowded street. You can find high-quality riding gear that is designed to repel wind and moisture and to retain heat. Look for jackets, pants, boots and gloves that will keep you warm and dry. Choose breathable base layers under your outerwear to let yourself sweat naturally. Since moisture that rubs against your feet can irritate the skin, look for socks with moisture-wicking material. This material keeps skin dry and prevents moisture-related blisters. Also, choose a good helmet that is designed for riding in cold weather.
Practice Winter Driving Techniques
Before the winter moisture arrives, try to develop safer driving habits. For example, practice watching for manhole covers. They can be slick and dangerous during the winter when you drive over them. Practice turning and slowing down as if the roads were wet or slick. Ice, mud, water and diesel fuel on the road can quickly send you to the hospital if you are not prepared to navigate properly.
Carry Some Winter Necessities
To ensure that you have enough room to carry some extra things for winter, upgrade your carrying capacity. If you normally do not carry a bag, buy a backpack or a messenger bag that is resistant to moisture. You can add a carrying rack to strap a larger bag or item on your motorcycle. Be sure that the rack is installed properly, and change the bungee cables for the rack twice a year. The cold weather can cause them to wear out faster. Keep a list of emergency numbers, your insurance and your registration in a waterproof pouch. Here are some other essentials to bring with you in the winter:
- Helmet anti-fog spray
- Rain gear for sudden storms
- An extra pair of gloves
- An extra pair of socks
- A nutritious snack and some water
- A heavy-duty garbage bag
Know When to Stop
Winter weather can move in quickly and with little warning. Inclement weather may develop while you are at work or while you are away on a longer ride. If this happens, know when weather changes may threaten your life. These are some times when it is important to park and find a place to wait:
- When the roads are wet and the temperature drops near freezing
- When it starts to snow
- When the wind is strong
Wind can cause other vehicles on the road to sway and create dangers for you. Also, wind can cause tipping risks for your motorcycle itself. If the road is slick, the dangers are even greater with the addition of wind. Wet roads that freeze can cause you, motorists and even big trucks to slide and collide. Even if the temperature is not below freezing, you should pull over when it snows because of the poor visibility risk.
Understand New Jersey Motorcycle Accidents and Insurance
Even with your best preparation attempts and great vigilance on the road, the actions of other motorists who drive carelessly can create unavoidable risks. The fact is that accidents can and do happen. If you are injured, it is important to call the police if you are able. Report the accident, take photos if possible and contact your insurer after you get medical attention. New Jersey motorcycle owners are required to carry at least $15,000 per person in liability with $30,000 per accident. While this meets the minimum legal requirements, most safety advocates recommend at least $250,000 in coverage.
Some motorcyclists who own cars do not know that their automobile PIP insurance does not extend to any motorcycle-related injuries. Since motorcyclists are usually the ones who suffer the most injuries in collisions with trucks or cars, their medical bills tend to be higher. However, there are ways to seek compensation for motorcycle accident injuries that were partially or completely caused by another party.
Know When to Call a Motorcycle Injury Attorney
A motorcycle injury lawyer can help you throughout the often-complicated process of filing a personal injury claim. If you have a case, an attorney will analyze the police report, collect witness statements and reconstruct the accident to attempt to show the other party's partial or full liability. Law 4 Hogs deals specifically with motorcycle crash cases and is an advocate for New Jersey motorcyclists. For a free consultation with a motorcycle injury attorney, please contact us today. When we seek compensation, we'll consider your injuries from the time of the accident, expenses since then, your long-term medical needs and any projected long-term income loss from the crash. To speak to a motorcycle injury lawyer, call us at 1-800-529-4464. Our firm has offices throughout New Jersey.