As many cities in North America head out of winter and into the spring season, it’s an exciting time as motorcyclists gear up for the riding months ahead.
If you’re getting ready to de-winterize your motorcycle and take advantage of the warmer weather, there are a few springtime safety tips and steps that you should consider to make sure you have a fun and safe riding season!
Check Your Bike
Your bike has been in storage (on a trickle charger, hopefully!) for a while so you’ll want to go through your regular maintenance checklist and do the following:
- Change the engine oil if you didn’t do so before winter storage. It’s best practice to do this before storing your bike away as the used oil from the riding season has collected a variety of contaminants. If you neglected to do this, definitely change it before you go for the first ride of the season.
- Check your tires as they may have lost pressure over the winter months. Underinflated tires will kill your mileage and any damage or cracking in the compounds may lead to failure. Don’t take the bike on the road if you find any defects and get them replaced.
- Your brakes are an integral part of safety, obviously. During winter, brake lines can take on air so be sure to check your brakes (and pads!) to see if they need to be rebled.
- Do a light check to ensure that your turn signals, high beam, and brake indicators are in functioning condition.
- Inspect other moving parts such as your chain, kickstand, and throttle shifter as these parts may have gotten a tad rusty over winter storage. Lubricate them as needed to keep your bike in tip-top shape.
Common Spring Hazards
Credit: Black Ridge Research
Spring can be a dangerous time for riders and without the proper precautions it can lead to a higher risk of motorcycle injuries. Here are some common hazards that riders should be aware of:
- Potholes can be more prevalent during spring as the cold weather will have wreaked havoc on the asphalt over the winter months.
- City road maintenance over winter means that there is plenty of leftover gravel on the roads. This debris can pose a risk to riders at every turn so be sure to slow down and take a clear path where available.
- Spring is also a time when roads are wetter due to melting snow or rain leading to slippery road conditions. Remember to dress for the ride.
- Construction tends to ramp up in spring as crews are out on the road repairing damage from the winter months. Construction sites tend to have more debris in the area so slow down and stay safe.
Ride Defensively / Make Yourself Visible
Motorists drive year-round and will have to get used to sharing the road with motorcyclists again. It may have been a few months since they’ve seen a motorcycle and drivers may not be on the lookout for bikes on the road.
Therefore, it’s important to rider safety that we make our presence known either through hi-viz motorcycle gear and remain vigilant when riding, especially in the early days of spring.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or just starting out, ride defensively and give yourself plenty of space when coming up on intersections and other vehicles. Some states allow lane splitting which is yet another consideration when you’re out and about.
As the adage goes, “look twice, save a life.”
Got Your Insurance?
Credit: Pexels / Mikhail Nilov
With long winter months, it is common to cancel insurance to save on premiums.
One of the more common items that riders forget is to review and ensure that insurance documentation is up-to-date and current.
Listen, we get it. It’s warming up and you’ve been thinking about ripping down the roads on your CBR1000R, but it’s prudent on your part to make sure that you’re properly covered in the event of an accident, or at least if you get pulled over by law enforcement.
If you’ve replaced your bike over the winter or even made some modifications to it, it’s an opportune time to update your insurance.
Replace Old Gear As Needed
Motorcycle gear goes through the same wear and tear as the bikes do. When your equipment gets long in the tooth, spring can be the perfect time to pick up a new motorcycle helmet or jacket.
Gear manufacturers can announce new gear during the fall and winter months, or you might simply want to pick up a pair of waterproof pants in anticipation of the wetter riding season.
If through unfortunate circumstances you found yourself in a crash, don’t reuse the helmet. Read our guide to learn more about when and if you need to replace your motorcycle lid. If you’re not sure about what kind of helmet to purchase, a full face helmet is always a safe bet.