We have the best summers here in the Pacific Northwest, I’m biased of course, which most of us anxiously await all year. There is no better way to shake off the rainy winter months, take in the breathtaking scenery and gorgeous weather than cruising on a motorcycle. The Summer Vibes and the Open Road—You Cannot Beat It. Before you get on that motorcycle though be sure to do the following:
5 Top Tips for Motorcycle Rides in the Summer
- Always Wear Full Coverage Protective Gear. You should never take the bike out without full gear. It doesn’t matter if it’s 105° or humid. Wear your full gear. If the weather is unbearable, we recommend having a winter and a summer set of gear. You want boots that cover your ankles, an abrasion resistant jacket with armor, long pants or jeans, gloves, and the full-face helmet. If you want more protection, wear motorcycle pants with armor and moto boots.Just because you’ve never been in a collision or dropped a bike doesn’t mean you won’t do it one day. Wear your full gear. Most accidents occur at slow speeds, and even at slow speeds, not wearing a helmet is a huge risk. The gear may save you if you hit a patch of gravel or an oil slick. Wear your full gear.
- Don’t Drink or Smoke…and Ride. Riding safely requires full concentration. We use all four limbs, our eyes, ears, and even your nose to ride. We should always be aware. Of course, as you probably know even if you’re under the legal blood-alcohol content limit, having even one drink will impair your judgment and delay your response time. This is especially important in Washington State, where per the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, motorcycles comprise of only 3% of the road users. Other drivers are not used to sharing the road with motorcycles, so it is best to be alert and protect yourself so don’t drink or smoke and ride.
- Check Your Motorcycle. As with cars, heat and cold will have varying impact on different types of bikes, so as the seasons change, you should be properly tuning and adjusting your motorcycle. To begin with, you should always make sure that your fluids are topped off and the radiator is clean. Your tires need to have a good amount of tread and be properly inflated, as the heat can make them perform worse or even pop if these aren’t properly calibrated. Finally, make sure to ask a mechanic or someone with significant expertise if your make or model of bike has been known to have heat-related issues and how to mitigate them.
- Plan your Rides at the Right Time. There may be some days or parts of long trips where you can’t avoid the sun at its highest point. However, for most day trips or the majority of motorcycle rides, you can check the weather forecast and plot your day accordingly. We recommend getting up early, hydrating, and starting your trip while planning breaks between noon and 5 p.m., if possible.
- Get Motorcycle Insurance. Just two years ago, July 28, 2019, a Washington state law passed requiring all motorcycle drivers to carry liability coverage and proof they have insurance. They are no longer exempt from our state’s mandatory auto insurance law (leg.wa.gov). Note liability coverage minimum in our state is $25,000. Liability insurance only kicks if you’re at fault. At which point, it will cover the other person’s bodily injury and property damage. It does not cover your injuries or property damage. We recommend getting more coverage and UM/UIM.
Kode Law Firm is dedicated to keeping the riding community safe. We want you to ride stress-free knowing that should you ever need legal representation for motorcycle accident injury, our experienced team is ready to help.