We spoke to the Institute of Advanced Motorists Chief Examiner, Peter Rodger, who gave us his top tips for riding in high winds…
As if rain, sleet and snow weren’t enough to deal with, often they are coupled with high winds which can make for even more of a challenging ride. Whether it’s raining or not, high winds can sap your concentration and make you feel unsteady on two wheels. We asked the Institute of Advanced Motorists Chief Examiner, Peter Rodger for his top tips for riding in high winds…
Wrap up warm
Make sure you don’t under-estimate the effects of wind chill. It might look and feel warm outside but once you’re going, wind chill can make for a cold ride.
Remove unnecessary luggage
If you have luggage attached, but aren’t using it, then it would be wise to leave it in the garage. Removing side mass will make your bike easier to ride in high winds as there’s less surface area that can be affected.
Naturally, your bike will move around in high winds – the severity will depend on the type of machine you are riding, the amount of wind that you’re riding in, and to the degree you’re being sheltered by trees or buildings. The trick is to try and stay as relaxed as possible – use the throttle and counter steer to balance out the effects.
Think ahead as to 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. 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.
You should 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. Keep your eyes peeled for anything flying about on the roads. If it is windy make sure you give anything laying on the ground a wide berth to try and help you avoid it flying up in front of you.
Slow down – or speed up
When you are buffeting and moving around take some speed off to aid stability and safety. Although while some riders find that slowing down helps, other riders prefer to keep their machine under slight acceleration – be prepared to try both and see which one suits you and the conditions best.
Lower your body
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.
Leave plenty of room
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. 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.