As the weather gets colder, road users can encounter difficult and dangerous driving conditions, including rain, floods, crosswinds, sleet, snow and ice. Motorcyclists are particularly exposed and need to take extra care.

Is it safe to ride a motorcycle in winter?

Motorcyclists are vulnerable road users regardless of the weather and whilst riding a motorbike in extreme weather conditions should be avoided, many motorcyclists need to use their bikes during the colder months.

What are the risks of riding a motorbike in the winter?

  • Poor visibility: When it gets darker earlier, visibility on the roads becomes a problem. Riders need to ensure they are easily seen by other road users and they also need to be sure their own lights are working properly and visors are kept clean. Additional DRL or spotlights can be beneficial for increasing visibility on the road.
  • Poor motorcycle performance: Cold weather has an impact on motorbikes and can affect battery life, tyres and engine performance. Many all-weather riders undertake a pre-winter service and ensure that all areas are heavily covered in WD40 or ACF-50. It is advised to wash the bike more regularly as it is necessary to reduce the corrosive effects of road salt, which can bring about other unforeseen consequences that could affect safety or bike performance.
  • Poor road surfaces: Freezing temperatures and excess surface water can be particularly problematic during the winter. Other things on the road to avoid are fuel spills and other debris, such as shingle or mud, which can affect traction.
frosted motorbike wing mirror in winter

Staying safe while riding a motorcycle in winter

Winter weather can prove challenging for even the most experienced rider; if you need to ride your bike during the winter months, there are steps you can take to help keep yourself, and other road users, safe:

  • Wear high visibility clothing and correct riding gear: This will allow you to remain seen by other road users; wearing the correct riding gear will also help to mitigate injury if you do come off.
  • Regularly check your motorcycle: Clean and Lubricate the chain every week to increase the life of the chain, and check if adjustments are necessary. Ensure that headlights, indicators and brake lights are in full working order.
  • Keep your tyres in good condition: The tread on your tyres should legally be 1mm, but this is a bare minimum; in the winter, tyre tread should be at least 2mm
  • Wear warm clothing: Riding in cold conditions without the correct gear is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also dangerous. It’s imperative that you stay warm, dry and safe by wearing appropriate winter motorcycle gear. Hands are the hardest part of the body to keep warm when riding in cold or freezing weather and are vital for throttle, front brake, and clutch control, as well as other controls such as lights, horn and indicators. Many all-weather riders consider the use of one or a combination of the following: Handguards on the handlebars, heated grips or heated gloves.

What should I do if I have been injured?

If you have been injured in a motorbike accident in the past three years, our expert solicitors can support you through the process of making a motorbike accident compensation claim.

For more information, click below.