Top 10 tips for riding in snow and ice

It’s definitely a cold one out there - and it’s likely to stay that way for the rest of the week, all the way across the country. That will present a real set of challenges to bike riders, from the most experienced to novices.

It’s coldest up in the far north of the UK, though, so Traffic Scotland has called on its experience in dealing with the worst of the winter roads to come up with its Top 10 list of tips for riding a motorbike in the snow and ice.

It won’t come as a big surprise to know that giving yourself more time to brake and handle ice and snow are high on the list, but there’s also useful advice on dressing appropriately for your ride, keeping yourself visible in gloomy conditions, making sure your bike is in the right condition for the journey and the perils of thick fog.

Want to see the whole list? We’ve got it here…

Top tips for riding this week  

  • Dress appropriately. Your clothes are all that protect you from the elements so make sure you've got the right gear on. Layering is always the best way to stay warm when riding your motorbike, so wear an extra base layer underneath.
  • Check the tread depth of your tyres. There may be snow, ice and slush on the roads and it is important that your tyres are able to handle the conditions.
  • In thick fog, it is important to consider if you really need to make the journey. Driving a car in fog is tricky and doubly so for those on two wheels. If you need to make the journey, ensure you have a full tank, are wearing high visibility clothes, and have called ahead so someone knows when you are expected to arrive at your destination. Consider a defogging agent for your visor to ensure clear visibility.
  • If you are riding your motorcycle in snow and ice, consider putting snow chains over regular tyres to help prevent them from getting stuck in the snow.
  • Take your time. Winter roads are not the place to push your bike's limits. Opt for a slower pace.
  • Have the right breakdown cover. If you have a crash, you do not want to be stuck out in freezing conditions without appropriate cover.
  • Watch your distance. Braking distances are doubled on wet roads and ten times more on icy roads.
  • On dark winter days, it is even more crucial that you are visible. Make sure you have reflective layers on when you go out.
  • Check your battery. Batteries can be temperamental in the cold weather, so make sure your battery has been charged before you head out.
  • Finally, use your common sense. If it feels like the roads are too dodgy to ride on, or the weather is too intense, park the bike for the day.
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