Riding your moped in winter conditions
For some riders, winter riding is simply not an option, but it doesn't have to be that way. With the right kit, a little common sense, and some minor changes in your riding style, you can carry on riding safely through all but the worst of the winter weather. Riding anytime of the year demands caution, however winter in particular can be treacherous. As a charity, Kickstart Norfolk's number one priority is rider safety, therefore, below are useful tips we ask you to read and follow when riding your moped or scooter throughout the winter months.
1. Check the weather
If it is snowing outside or if you know it’s going to snow do not venture out on your bike. Tempting as it is to think you have the experience and response times to keep safe, accidents do happen. Even if the weather looks mild, ice patches could have formed overnight or black ice formed in the morning, which can radically reduce your tyres grip on the road. Even though your tyres may heat up over time, cold tyres on a cold surface provides less traction than hot tyres and a hot surface.
2. Check your braking distances
Winter conditions the braking distances and the chance of being involved in an accident increases. There are a number of factors that can affect braking distances, be it vehicle weight, speed, braking force or thinking time and all of these factors are exacerbated during winter. For a typical rider travelling at 30mph the average braking distance is 14 metres with a stopping distance of 23 metres. When riding in Winter conditions these braking distances can increase up to ten times. To combat this, always increase the distance between you and the vehicle in front.
3. Wear the right winter gear
Your motorcycle helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment and generally a typical helmet is good for five years, three if used regularly. Riding in cold conditions will affect your ability if you don’t wear the appropriate clothing. A balaclava, neck warmer and long underwear should be worn along with your armoured jacket and gloves. These clothes will provide you with the layers you need to keep warm when riding in cold, windy conditions. With shorter days in winter, riders should also wear a high-visibility jacket.
4. What to check before you travel
During the winter months it is essential that you check your Tyres, Controls, Lights, Oil, Brakes and Stands, and all should be inspected before you ride. When you do start your bike, if you haven’t run it in a while, let the engine warm up for a couple of minutes before revving it up. Best practice would be to get the bike to normal operating temperature before starting your journey. After that take your bike out for a short ride as one final check. The simple advice is to take it easy when riding. Always remember not only will there be much less grip on wet and icy roads, you will also be challenged by the wind and the rain as you ride along. So use your lane, give yourself space to adapt, adjust, and slow down. And if you have a long ride ahead, plan to stop and warm up along the way.
Kickstart Check List -
This has been provided to you and is under the seat of your moped. Please take the time to read and understand the checks that you must carry out to ensure your bike is safe to ride. In the event of any moped failures or damage, please contact the Kickstart team immediately on 01362 699923.