Tips for riding your motorbike in windy weather

Snowy road

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has urged riders to be careful when out in high winds.

Despite the mornings getting brighter and the days getting longer, we’re still in the icy grips of winter with more cold weather forecast for in coming weeks.

And IAM, one of the UK’s leading road safety charities, has issued a list of tips to help riders when out in windy weather, courtesy of Peter Rodger’s, IAM’s chief examiner.

12 tips for riding in high winds

1. Make sure you wrap up warm. And don’t underestimate the effects of wind chill.

2. If you have luggage attached and are not using it then it would be wise to leave it in the garage. Removing side mass will make your bike easier to ride.

3. Naturally, your bike will move around in high winds – the severity will depend on the type of machine you are riding. The trick is to try and stay as relaxed as possible – use the throttle and counter steer to balance out the effects.

4. Anticipate where you think gusts of wind will be worse; for example, gaps in buildings, gateways and bridges. Predicting where it will be allows you to better prepare for it.

5. You should also keep an eye on how trees, bushes and other vehicles on the road are moving to gain a better understanding of how gusty strong winds really are.

6. When you are buffeting and moving around take some speed off to aid stability and safety.

7. While some riders find that slowing down helps, other riders prefer to keep their machine under slight acceleration – be prepared to try both.

8. Depending on the machine, try minimising airflow by lowering your body towards the tank. If a screen is fitted and is adjustable then consider lowering it to reduce the sail effect.

9. Keep an eye out for where you will suddenly go from a windy section of the road to a sheltered one. Sudden loss of a strong side wind can be just as unbalancing, so be prepared.

10. Sometimes you can get shelter from wind when you are being masked behind a larger vehicle. However, make sure this does not make you vulnerable to another vehicle that is being blown towards you.

11. Ensure that you give other road users more room when passing them – especially those vulnerable to side winds, like cyclists and other motorcyclists, large flat-sided vans and buses.

12. Keep your eyes peeled for any debris flying about on the roads. If it is windy make sure you give debris on the ground a wide berth to try and help you avoid it flying up in front of you.

And finally, here’s a tip from The Bike Insurer: if the wind is very strong, it might be a good idea to leave your motorcycle at home, put the heating on and get comfortable.

Next page: How to prepare your motorbike for the riding season