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10/16/2009
Max J. Meyers
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Normally by the time you flip the calendar to October the foul weather has arrived in Washington state.  However, does that mean you have to put the bike in the garage until spring, of course not.  Some hardy souls say "There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear."  It's that kind of attitude that allows you to keep riding even when the conditions are not ideal.

However, riding a motorcycle in bad weather requires the right equipment, good judgment, and safe riding skills.  Without these three things you could find yourself in a Washington motorcycle accident with serious injuries.

Here are a few tips for riding your motorcycle in Washington this Fall and Winter.

Never ride on snow or ice.  Snow and ice are especially dangerous for two wheeled motorcycles and should be avoid at all costs.  If the weather forecast calls for freezing temperatures or snow, take the car.

Sit out the first 30 minutes of a rain shower.  Excess dirt and debris can be on the road if it hasn't rained in a few days.  This can make the road extra slippery in the first 30 minutes of a rain shower.  If you're riding and it starts to rain, find a safe place to pull over and wait 30 minutes.  Give the dirt, oil and other debris a chance to wash away.

Avoid wet leaves on the road.  When the trees lose their leaves they can quickly become smashed flat on the road.  Add a little water and those leaves become very slippery.  Pay attention to changes in color of the pavement ahead.  This can be an indication of leaves on the roadway.  Wet leaves on a road are very dangerous and should be avoid if at all possible.

Get some heated riding gear.  Cold is dangerous for riders not properly geared up.  Windchill can be freezing in the Fall/Winter and if you're not careful you could be flirting with hypothermia before you know it.  Heated riding gear is a must for cold weather riding.  Heated hand grips and seats are also available on many motorcycles.  If you're thinking about how cold you are, it can be difficult to focus on riding safely. 

Dress to be seen. Visibility is key.  Cars have a hard time seeing you on a clear day, imagine if it's cloudy, grey and raining.  Recipe for invisibility is not wearing bright colors.  Reflective materials on jackets or vests is even better.  The more visible you are to other vehicles the better your chance of not being hit.

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