Posted on Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 at 10:48 am
Fall brings a chill to the air, Halloween decorations to our surroundings, and the aroma of hot apple cider to our homes. But for the motorcycle rider who is not mindful of the other changes that come with the autumn equinox, the month of October could scare up some very frightening situations.
Consider the following tips for keeping you and your motorcycle safe during this change of seasons.
Watch out for kids. Back-to-school season means there are more big buses on the roadways obscuring your view and stopping traffic on both sides of the street. When the stop sign pops out from the side of the bus to protect young passengers as they get off and on before and after school, motorcyclists must be hypervigilant. Autumn also means more carpools lining up around school entrances and blocking traffic all throughout the neighborhood. Not only that, but kids are likely to be dashing into the street from between cars without checking for traffic. Be extra vigilant and expect the unexpected anytime children are present.
Use weather-appropriate gear. Cooler temperatures and more precipitation may require you to install a windscreen on the front of your bike and a full or half-visor on your helmet to block cold wind and rain. Although the end result should be increased visibility, these devices can reduce visibility and pose other distractions until you get used to riding with them.
Be alert when Daylight Saving Time ends. Every year when we “fall back” one hour, the roads are complete chaos for a few days. According to a 2020 University of Colorado Boulder study analyzing 22 years of data, in the first week after the clocks change in the spring, there were 627 deaths nationwide associated with the time shift and a six percent spike in fatal accidents the workweek following. Make sure you’re safe on the road after the autumnal time change. Get some extra rest and grab another cup of coffee before you ride – there’s no telling how many zombies there are behind the wheel.
Be careful, deer. October is mating season for deer, and the entire herd will be much more active during autumn, especially during dawn and dusk. There are close to one million deer in New York State, and an average of 65,000 collisions between deer and vehicles occur in the state each year. More of those collisions happen between October and December, and deer-motorcycle collisions are substantially more likely to result in death for the biker than for the driver in deer-car accidents.
Make sure you’re visible. You’ll be wearing more layers to account for the big swing in temperature from day to day or, sometimes, from morning to afternoon back to evening. Make sure that part of your plan for additional clothing includes wearing bright colors. Don’t wear black in the evening or at night, as that will make you blend into your surroundings. If you’re riding at night, be sure there’s reflective tape or some other reflective device both on your bike and on your clothing.
Watch for weather-related road conditions. Speaking of fall colors, the leaves that turn from green to yellow to blazing orange and red even get blown off the branches and collect on the street, blocking the sewer drains and keeping extra water on the road surface. Add to that the fact that the leaves left on the road make the street as slick as a skating rink, and you have a recipe for disaster on a bike. As if that’s not hazard enough, at this time of the year, freezing rain and sleet are also possibilities, and with them comes the prospect of black ice. Watch your speed, drive defensively, leave additional space for stopping and maneuvering, and be prepared for the inevitable loss of traction.
Maintain your bike. If you were riding all summer (and you know you were), now is a good time to take care of those maintenance and repair tasks you put off so you wouldn’t lose a gorgeous weekend to having your bike in the shop. Among other items, you likely need an oil change, tune-up, and air pressure checks on your tires.
Contact Hach & Rose, LLP Today
Hopefully, this fall won’t be ruined by a collision with another vehicle that was someone else’s fault. But if something does go wrong, call us at (212) 779-0057. You’ll get a free initial consultation so we can discuss the details of your case. Call us now and let us get to work helping you obtain the compensation you deserve and getting you back in the saddle as soon as possible.