It’s that time of the year again, fellow moto-Canucks! Our machines are out on the street—see our Spring Prep guide here, if you still haven’t gotten the bike out of the shed yet.
And the arrival of May means, it’s time for Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month.
This month, as you take to the streets on two wheels again, remember that 1) Other motorists aren’t really looking for you—a winter with no bikes on the street has made them even less likely than usual to see motorcyclists. And, 2), Your own riding skills are almost certainly rusty from a winter off.
As well, remember that with temperatures often barely above the freezing mark, weather can change quickly. Rain can turn into ice or snow, and an extended ride means lowered core temperatures or even hypothermia, which can sap your concentration and reduce reaction times. Traction can also be reduced under these conditions, and in some areas, sand left-over from winter road clearing might still be waiting in some corners, sending an unwary rider into the ditch.
With these in mind, you should ride with more caution than usual, especially in situations where your safety depends on other motorists noticing you (beware the dreaded left-hand turner!). While All The Gear, All The Time is a good policy any time of the year, it’s especially valuable now—consider high-visibility gear to help other drivers to see you. Maybe even consider a heated vest, to help you resist cold temperatures.
Looking for more safety information? The Motorcycle & Moped Industry Council (MMIC) has some tips at its website here.