September 2004 Safety Thoughts

Shorter Days Means New Hazards 

By Dave Hansen, Safety Officer 

Have you noticed the days are getting shorter? 

As I write this, we’re currently experiencing some of our best riding weather of the year, but shorter days usually means cooler weather, changing colors & a new set of road hazards to watch for. 

Maybe (and most probably) you've heard this before, but fallen leaves on the roadway are a particularly dangerous road hazard for motorcyclists. Even when they appear to be dry on the surface, there can be moisture trapped on the underside that can cause a leaning motorcycle to slide out from under (low side) you in a corner, or (worse yet) slide enough to get some side-slip momentum, then suddenly slip from beneath the tire allowing it to regain traction & throw you into a high-side crash. Better to be cautious & stay on two wheels; avoid riding on leaves in a corner if at all possible. When it's not possible to avoid them, slow down before entering a corner covered with leaves. Even when they look dry. 

Another road hazard that comes with the cooler weather is the frosty road condition referred to frequently as black ice.  Heavy dew can accumulate on roadways overnight & when temperatures & humidity levels are right, this sneaky hazard can put a motorcyclist down in an instant. It is a particularly nasty hazard because it can be invisible at first glance. 

As the seasons change here in Michigan, we'll be able to enjoy the multi-colored hues our state has to offer us, but remember, it brings with it challenges as well. Be alert to these challenges & changing sets of road hazards and you'll still be able to experience some excellent riding before it's time to winterize you machine. 

Ride Safe!

Words of Safety