We’re in summer’s height at the moment, when many individuals stay indoors. The sun may be out, but with many parts of the country feeling the scorching temperatures, remaining housebound with fans and central air seems like a viable option.
We’re not too far away from autumn, though. In this pandemic year, it’s probably going to be a fall season unlike any we’ve seen before. Is college football coming back, for instance, or the NFL?
For motorcycle riders, the fall season brings road condition changes. If you’re working from home, then you don’t need to worry about it, but if you ride your motorcycle to the office every day, you should be aware of the cooler temperatures and what they bring with them.
Let’s look at some fall weather and road conditions of which you should be aware as the summer wanes.
In some parts of the country, cooler temperatures bring fog along with them, especially in low-lying areas close to water. Fog adds another unsafe condition, according to Houston’s Attorney Brian White.
You need to watch out for fog because:
- It decreases visibility
- It makes it difficult to tell how far away you are from other vehicles and inanimate objects
If you’re an experienced motorcycle rider, you probably know to slow down and be cautious if you ride into a foggy area. Even if you are in a hurry to get somewhere, it’s far better to arrive late than to get in an accident with another vehicle or pedestrian.
You might also need to watch out for animals in specific geographic regions. For instance, in some areas, you might encounter:
White-tailed deer are a positive nuisance in some wooded areas where they have no natural predators. Some states encourage hunting to try and control the exploding population. The deer eat out of people’s gardens and spread ticks that carry Lyme disease.
Whenever you’re on a back road or the highway on your motorcycle, don’t let the pretty fall colors distract you, or you could hit an animal. You want to spare the creature’s life, but hitting something large, like a deer, can also be deadly.
3. Fallen Leaves
As we get a little later into autumn, you will also see fallen leaves in many parts of the country. The red, yellow, and orange carpet can be beautiful, and it’s ideal for walks in the woods.
As a motorcycle rider, you should watch out for thick fallen leaf areas. Where the wind swirls the leaves, they can pile up naturally, and hitting that with your motorcycle is dangerous.
The thing to do is slow down in these areas, and not take the turns too sharply. Fallen leaves are pretty, but you should watch out for them and proceed cautiously in areas where they’re thickest.
4. The Sun’s Glare
Fall brings with it some genuinely gorgeous sunsets and sunrises. As a motorcycle rider, you’re in a unique position to enjoy them, since you’re right out there and not peering through a car’s windshield.
The only issue is that the glare can blind you if you’re not careful. That is why you should always bring a pair of sunglasses with you.
They’re not just about looking cool. They can save your life if you put them on when the sun’s in your eyes and heavy traffic surrounds you.
Heavy autumn rains also happen in some areas. They can be quite refreshing, especially if you’re watching them from safely inside your home.
If you’re riding your motorcycle and there’s a sudden cloudburst, you might find yourself in trouble. The lightning is dangerous in big storms, and the rain can make the road slick.
Again, you’ll want to slow down as you try to avoid wiping out on the slippery surface. When possible, pull over to the side of the road or get under cover until the worst of the downpour ends.
Riding at your normal speed in the heavy rain can be disastrous. If you know that it’s going to rain heavily, you might choose to take public transportation to get where you need to be if your motorcycle is your only vehicle.
You don’t usually need to worry about ice early in the autumn. It’s more likely you’ll encounter it later, in October or November. Still, it’s not impossible to get some sooner, especially if you live in certain states or up in the mountains.
You should slow down if you see ice on the road ahead of you. Try to keep a safe distance from cars or other vehicles in front of you. If you’re going over a bridge or navigating a narrow lane, make sure to distribute your weight for the best possible balance.
7. Gravel Roads
In the fall, you might choose to go further afield during your motorcycle rides than you usually would. When you put on your boots and jacket, the chill in the air feels exhilarating as the wind whips past you.
If you go out in the country or explore some previously unknown terrain, you might end up on a gravel road. It’s satisfying hearing the crunch as you ride over the gravel. It’s also dangerous, though.
Like with ice or rainy conditions, you need to slow down and distribute your weight evenly. If someone is riding behind you, tell them to hold tight till you’re on more solid ground again.
Autumn is one of the times when it’s the most fun to get out there on your motorcycle. The air’s chill and the days getting shorter can send shivers down your spine.
That’s what makes it all the better when you’re done with your ride, and you can go inside your brightly-lit home and shut out the invading darkness.
Watch out for any dangerous conditions this fall, and always remember to wear your helmet when you go out riding. That’s something that every rider should do regardless of the season.