Riding in the Rain Now that the rainy season is upon us I am again passing along some safety tips that can help to make the ride more enjoyable (if that is possible) and a safer one.
Wear proper rain gear, preferably Gore-Tex or equivalent. It needs to be able to breath but still not allow water to creep in. Make sure your helmet covers your face, since rain above 30 mph is going to hurt you.
Make sure your tires are correct for riding in the rain, in other words, do not go out riding in the rain with slick tires.
Watch the road. What used to be kind-of slippery is now very slippery. White lines on the roads will have become ice rinks, metal plates/manholes are super dangerous, avoid them like the plague.
Watch out for puddles. Yes, it can be fun riding through one, but since the water hides the surface you just don’t know what you are riding into. Can the puddle in fact be a 3 feet deep hole? Do you want to find out the hard way?
When riding and you see a colored rainbow on the ground watch it, chances are its oil.
When rain first starts after many days of dry weather, it’s when it’s the most dangerous since there’s a lot of oil and dirt on the road. Wait an hour or two for the rain to wash away the oil/dirt before riding since the road surfaces are at their slipperiest. If it’s just drizzle, then the road will remain slippery.
Railway crossings are to be taken as straight as possible. Remember the railway tracks are metal, and wet metal is slippery. Straighten your bike.
When you need to brake, apply more rear brake than normal. If your front wheel starts sliding, you’re done for, if your rear wheel slides you can easily correct.
Do not brake strongly if possible, brake gently. If you need to urgently apply your brakes, pump them so that you do not start aquaplaning.
Give yourself more space between you and the vehicle in front of you. Braking distances are much longer in the rain.
Relax when riding. Getting all cramped and bunched up is not good. First of all, you will get tired really quickly and it is dangerous. Relaxed riding is much better.
Be visible. Rain makes it difficult for cars to see you. If you have high visibility clothing, now it is the time to put them on.
An obvious advice, but here it is anyway: reduce your speed! In many countries legally you need to reduce speed by some 10-20% when it rains, and there are good reasons for it.
Since we don’t have wipers on our helmets (well, maybe some do) you can easily spray something like Rain-X on the visor to help you with your visibility. Rain-X keeps the rain from the visor.
15. When lightning starts up, stop riding. Head for cover (don’t stop below a tree).