Schweigert, Klemin & McBride, P.C.

Considerations for safe motorcycle riding this winter

While most motorcyclists only ride in the summer months, a few dedicated people continue to ride throughout the year. On Nov. 23, a motorcycle driver and passenger were injured in a crash with a minivan, according to The Bismarck Tribune. The article did not report a cause for the crash, but noted that neither person on the bike was wearing a helmet.

Helmets are not legally required in North Dakota for drivers or passengers over 18 years old. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that helmets reduce the risk of death by 37 percent and reduce the risk of head injury by 69 percent for motorcyclists who are in an accident.

In addition to wearing a helmet, there are several actions motorcyclists can take to prepare for safe winter riding, including:

  • Riding slower. Ice can pose a bigger threat to motorcyclists than it does for other motorists, and cold temperatures can result in your tires having less traction on the road. The best way to stay in control of your bike is to do everything slower, including accelerating, braking and cornering.
  • Dressing for the weather. If you plan to ride in the winter, you may consider investing in high quality gear that will keep you warm when you are riding. One option is heated gear, which typically charges before you ride or can be plugged into your motorcycle.
  • Determining your preferred towing service. You will want to preselect a towing service you feel comfortable using, in case you end up in an accident or unable to ride due to weather. It may also be a good idea to program the number for the towing service in your phone and store a company business card in your wallet, so the contact information is accessible regardless of your situation.
  • Knowing when not to ride. While you can probably still ride with cold weather or even ice, it will be incredibly risky to ride in a snowstorm. It is important to recognize when you cannot safely ride and, instead, should wait out the storm or call for a motorist or tow truck to pick you up.

If you plan to ride your motorcycle this winter, be sure you are prepared for the road and weather conditions. By being prepared, you can reduce your chance of being in a motorcycle crash and experiencing the serious injuries a crash can cause.

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Bismarck, ND 58501

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