Unless you are fortunate enough to live someplace where the weather never changes, the end of summer means a change in road and riding conditions. Some of them are obvious, like rain and wind; some are less so, like the effect of riding in chilly weather. At Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, we know that motorcycle riders love to ride in all weathers, and we want to keep you safe from avoidable accidents.
Here are some tips to keep you and your fellow bikers and passengers safe as fall approaches.
- Watch the Weather. Autumn brings rain, wind, and even sleet and early snow. All of these are hazardous to the motorcycle rider. Check the weather report before heading out and know your bike’s limits before you ride. Also remember that in wet or icy conditions you will have trouble stopping quickly, and so will other vehicles on the road.
- Dress for Warmth. What was a nice breeze off the lake in the summer turns into a chilly blast in the fall. As the temperature drops, pull out the leathers, fleece, and gloves to stay warm and dry. Both wind and rain will suck the warmth out of your body, causing low-level hypothermia, which dulls your reaction time on the brakes.
- Wear a Helmet. Unlike some states, Illinois does not have a mandatory helmet law. However, in cold, wet, or windy weather, wearing a full-face helmet keeps your head dry and warm, and keeps road grit and dust out of your eyes. Also, keep in mind that even though the law does not require a helmet, if the conditions seemed to warrant wearing one, a judge could find that you were careless for failing to do so. In hazardous conditions, err on the side of caution.
- Don’t Forget to Turn Back the Clock. As the days get shorter, the roads get darker, and that is not a good thing for motorcycles. If you ride in the city, it’s easy to forget that motorcycles are hard to see at night because of their lower profile and single headlight. It gets dark much sooner in September than it did in July, so keep an eye on the time.
- Be Alert for the Unusual. There are things on the road in the fall that weren’t there during the summer. Deer are mating in autumn and where there is one, there may be others. They dart into the road without warning. Children are heading back to school or back from school and are not paying attention to much of anything. Traffic is always heavier in autumn, especially near schools, colleges, and business districts. Keep your eyes open for these unusual hazards.
- Bikes and Snow Don’t Mix. As much as you love your motorcycle and the open road, ice, snow, and two wheels are a bad combination. If the weather report reads snow, whether cloud or lake-effect, you should really take the car.
One hazard that is present year-round is the sightseer. In the summer, these slow-driving wool-gatherers are looking at the lake and the sky, and the buildings. In the fall, they’ll be looking at the lake and the sky and the pretty leaves and the deer. They won’t be looking for motorcycles. Pay close attention to slow-moving drivers, and always be prepared to stop suddenly.
If you and your passenger are the slow-driving sightseers, pull over and sightsee from the safety of a marked turnout or parking lot. This will protect you from traffic and other distracted drivers while you look at the spectacular scenery.
If You Have an Accident
If you have done all these things and still get into an accident through no fault of your own, the attorneys at Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC are here to help. We know the unique issues facing a motorcycle rider in an accident, and we’re ready to work through your case with you and help you get fair compensation for your injuries.
In motorcycle accident cases, we look for issues beyond the other driver’s liability for the accident. Road conditions, inclement weather, poor lighting, wildlife in the roadway, all of these can contribute to a serious accident and can be factors beyond your control in a collision. We know how to gather the information and the witnesses that will help make your case and negotiate with the insurance companies on your behalf.
Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC offers free consultations at 312-346-8620 or our website live chat. If you’ve been involved in a motorcycle accident and need someone to help you out, contact us today.