WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- As the weather heats up, more and more people will be getting back on their motorcycles and hitting the open road.
If you are one of these riders, here are some seasonal and local hazards you should be aware of. A good sense of situational awareness will go a long ways to keeping you out of a bad situation.
Spring and summer are busy times for road-repair crews. Many roads in the area are under construction or repair, and the surfaces may be different than the last time you were on your bike.
Make sure you know what the road conditions are for the area you’re going to be riding in. Also, be sure to slow down and be mindful of work crews. Be observant of construction signs and posted speed limits.
Just as automobile drivers have a responsibility to look out for motorcycle operators, motorcycle operators have a responsibility to look out for others, too.
Keep an eye on the weather
Summer in Ohio is a time for unpredictable weather. Be sure to check the forecast before you go for an extended ride. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for bad weather.
Bring some dry clothes or make sure you have your rain gear if it looks as though it may rain. It’s also important riders be aware of how to handle their motorcycle properly in high winds that often accompany summer storms.
If you are riding and gusts start pushing your bike, keep a firm grip on the handlebars, lean into the wind by counter-steering, maintain an upright posture and keep plenty of distance between you and other vehicles. And remember: If a tornado is in the area, don’t try to outrun it. Take shelter!
Stay sober and alert
Summer is a great time of year for cookouts, camping, relaxing and having fun. If you do have a few drinks, STAY OFF YOUR BIKE.
Alcohol is a major contributor to motorcycle accidents, particularly fatal collisions. Studies show that up to 50% of all riders killed in motorcycle crashes had been drinking. Only a third had a blood alcohol content above legal limits. The rest had only a few drinks in their systems, enough to impair their riding skills.
Motorcyclist abilities are impaired well before reaching the .08 blood-alcohol level. Riding “under the influence” poses physical and legal hazards for every rider. Be smart, be safe — don’t drink and ride.
And even if you are sober, remain alert for those riders or automobile drivers who may be intoxicated. Knowing what’s going on around you may be the thing that saves your life.