Nothing is better than hopping on your motorcycle and going for a ride on a nice summer day. But before you turn on the engine, it’s important to be sure that you understand how to stay safe. Here are 5 tips for safely riding your motorcycle this summer.
Summer is hot, but with average high temperatures exceeding 102 degrees, summer in Arizona is even hotter. When you are out on your motorcycle you may not even realize how hot it is. That’s why it is critical to keep yourself hydrated. While it may be tempting to enjoy an ice-cold beer, alcohol, like coffee, is a diuretic, which causes you to urinate and lose even more fluids. If you will be riding for a while, it’s a good idea to bring an extra bottle of water or to wear a Camelbak so that you can drink water without having to pull over.
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Wear the Appropriate Gear for Hot Weather
You may already understand the importance of wearing proper gear when riding your motorcycle. But what you may not know is that proper gear changes, depending upon the season. Your helmet, gloves, boots, and eyewear all change for summer. Try wearing wind-breaking material, which will help to reduce the heat on your body. Not only will swapping out your gear keep you cooler, but you’ll also stay safe.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Since summer in Arizona can be so hot, you’ll want to know the temperature before you hop on your motorcycle. Also, check to see how windy it’s going to be. We know that Arizona doesn’t rain a whole lot, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t rain when you go for a ride. By checking ahead you can best plan for extreme heat, winds, and rain. Don’t depend on what it looks like outside when you leave; always check the forecast.
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Approach Tar Snakes with Caution
Arizona often uses a tar-like material to fill in cracks that have formed on the roads. These “tar snakes” can be extremely slippery when the weather is hot, posing a hazard for motorcyclists. While you should avoid them whenever possible, it’s not always possible. The best way to approach them is at a 90-degree angle. If you feel that your rear tire is sliding out, simply stay calm and slow down; do not attempt to over-correct. The tire will grip again. If there are a lot of tar snakes in one spot, you may want to try pulling in the clutch and coasting over them.
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Be Aware of Signs Indicating Heat Stroke or Heat Exhaustion
Exposure to heat can actually be quite dangerous. Our bodies are designed to handle only so much. Therefore if you are out riding and it’s hot out, it’s extremely important to keep an eye on any symptoms that may be early warning signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
Early signs of heat-related illness include:
- Muscle cramps
- Heavy sweating
- Pale/flushed skin
- Fast, weak pulse
Remember that as you sweat your body is losing fluids. Therefore, do not wait until you feel parched to drink water. Drinking a lot of water can actually help to prevent heat-related illnesses. Despite hydrating beforehand, should you feel that you’re experiencing signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, pull over, rehydrate, and wait until you feel better.