Special Hazardous Situations Demand Motorcyclists Attention

motorcycle riding conditionsMotorcyclists – and everyone else on the road – should be thinking about safety above all else. An active mental strategy, as well as physical skills, is essential for staying safe when hazards present themselves.

This blog discusses tactics for handling certain hazards presented by:

• Rain
• Wind
• Animals
• Roadway Conditions (Slippery and/or Dangerous Surfaces)


Almost every motorcyclist encounters rain at some point. One should be cautious when it first starts to rain because water collects in small depressions in the road, and oil residue floats to the top. The road will be especially slippery at this time because of the mixture of oil, dirt, and water. After a while, the oil will be washed to the side of the road, but the road will still be slippery. Be aware, and take measures to stay upright. Reduce your speed (especially before curves), minimize your leans through turns, and ride in the tire tracks left by other vehicles. Proper tire pressure will improve your traction as well.

Make sure your rain gear – gloves, boots, jacket, and pants – fit well. If it does not, you could encounter problems braking and shifting. If you see lightning or hear thunder, find a place to stop and get off the road. A person on a motorcycle is a moving lightning rod, and your tires do not ground you.


Strong winds or an unexpected gust can also create problems. Be prepared with proper technique:

• You may have to lean your bike into the wind a bit, applying forward pressure on the handgrip to maintain your position.

• Anticipate that a gust of wind could alter your trajectory. When facing windy conditions, you may want to move your motorcycle into the portion of the lane from which the wind is coming. That will give you extra room in the event that the wind blows you in that direction.

• Be aware that large vehicles, such as trucks and motor homes, move a lot of air. They can create gusts that will affect your trajectory as well. Put space between yourself and the sides of large vehicles to avoid the draft effect that may pull your motorcycle toward them. Avoid the windblast from these vehicles by moving away from them as they approach.


Animals also pose a serious hazard to motorcyclists. Here are some strategies for dealing with them.

Small Animals

Animals like squirrels and rabbits may dart into your path. Don’t increase your risk of a collision by attempting to avoid one if it’s unsafe to swerve or brake. Prepare to “surmount the obstacle” (discussed below).

Animals That Chase

Dogs may chase you on the road. If the dog is ahead, slow down well before you reach it. Accelerate past the dog as you approach. Your change in speed may throw off the dog’s timing if it continues to chase you. Use your horn if necessary, and do not to kick at the dog.

Animals Are Unpredictable

Anticipate that an animal, small or large, may dart into your path at any moment. Be especially aware while riding along country roads and wooded areas. Keep your head and eyes up. Be prepared.

Roadway Conditions

Roadway conditions sometimes create hazards as well. Watch for uneven surfaces such as bumps, broken pavement, potholes, or debris on the roadway. Gravel, railroad tracks, grooves, and manhole covers can reduce your traction or steer you in an unintended direction.

If you happen upon an obstacle such as a pothole and cannot avoid it, slow down before making contact. Ride over (or “surmount”) the obstacle at a 90 degree angle while your motorcycle is upright (as opposed to leaning). Raise your body off the seat with your weight on the footrests. This will allow you to absorb the impact with your knees and elbows. Give the motorcycle a quick “blip” of acceleration as you ride over the obstacle by slightly rolling on the throttle. This will reduce the weight of the front end of your bike. As soon as the front tire makes contact, immediately roll off the throttle. This will prevent the rear tire from spinning on the obstacle.

Other Conditions

Special hazards on the roads are part of the challenge of motorcycling. Motorcyclists must be prepared for anything. The key is to keep your mind alert and your body ready to react to stay safe.

If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident, please contact us for a free and private consultation with one of our experienced Ohio motorcycle accident attorneys. We can be reached at all times by calling 1-888-534-4850, chatting with one of our 24 hour live chat representatives or sending us a website message.


Special Hazardous Situations Demand Motorcyclists Attention
Article Name
Special Hazardous Situations Demand Motorcyclists Attention
Certain types of hazardous conditions require the special attention and skills of motorcyclists including rain, animals, wind, and the roadway.
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Slater & Zurz
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