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5 ways to survive in winter on the road in the city

The ban on winter driving is constantly whispered here and there, but still there is no official restriction, there is only “strongly not recommended”. It is foolish to remind you that winter motorcycle riding is a risky adventure, especially in an urban setting. Another thing is off-road racing or on specialized tracks.

We will consider winter equipment in a separate article, for a start, you can read the main thing here: “Are you ready for the off-season and winter travel?” and “If your hands are cold on the bike.” Also in the next article, expect a description of the motorcycle modifications necessary for the winter. Pilots do not always adapt their motorcycles for the winter, but in vain. It happens that the weather only resembles winter, but not enough to run after studded tires or to go for a ride conditionally to the next entrance. Everyone has their own reasons for going to the city in winter. But here’s how to drive in the city to stay safe and sound?


  • Features of the behavior and handling of the motorcycle
  • Optical illusions and poor visibility
  • Your position on the road
  • The presence of ruts, snow embankments and ice
  • Road treatment / materials sprinkled on roads

Features of the behavior and handling of the motorcycle

The behavior of a motorcycle in winter is logically predictable, but as it always happens: theory and practice are very different things. You understand that sharp turns increase the risk of falling, but still, at the moment of maneuvering, you get a wheel breakdown, seemingly out of the blue! The road surface plays an important role. On loose snow, the behavior of a motorcycle resembles riding on sand, and in wet snow or ice, riding in the rain. Let us remind you of the article “How to ride a motorcycle in the rain?” And in fact, and in another case, the handling is disgusting! Any sudden maneuvering leads to wheel breakdown or burying.

Braking on winter roads should be gentle and gradual. The gas supply must also be flat. For this reason, high-speed motorcycles are the most dangerous to ride in winter. Light and small-cubic models are in an advantageous position, scooters have fun in the city in winter.

If you are brave enough to drive in the city in winter, then by all means increase the lateral spacing from the edge of the carriageway and the distance between the traffic ahead and behind. I will explain about the lateral spacing below, but with the distance, everything is simple – the braking distance in winter increases, sometimes many times! Therefore, if you manage to brake in time, there is no guarantee that the driver will not exceed the stopping distance behind you! There is a risk of becoming a bike buffer between cars. We discussed this in the article “Distance in traffic and the concept of” bike-buffer “.

Optical illusions and poor visibility

If in summer your presence on the road is at least implied, even if they do not see, then in winter they simply don’t think about you! Seriously, motorists will be less surprised by a reindeer team with Santa Claus – after all, the holidays! Only the traffic police will be glad to you, who will definitely stop you in order to read the moral. You and that guy on a combat classic who decided to drift in the snow.

In winter, there is a short daylight hours, so you are very difficult to see. The first thing you need to do is become visible. Reflective vest tips are more relevant than ever! Of course, there is regular lighting on the road in the city, but there is snow all around. Reflection of light, glare, all this plays in the eyes of drivers so that the motorcyclist is not perceived in a timely manner! It will not be superfluous to remember “Night riding a motorcycle, what do you need to know about it?”. Don’t discount the snowfall. Visibility at this time is comparable to fog or heavy rain. And you, in addition to a reflective vest and warm clothing, need to think about a color visor that dampens glare, for example, yellow or red for contrast in the snow.

Speaking of illusions. The reflection of light from the snow distorts the roadside, acting out for the future. Irregularities of the road in winter visually do not correspond to reality at all. The basic laws of optical illusion are multiplied by the distortion of light when reflected from snow and ice. Read more about illusions in the article “Feeling Speed ​​While Riding a Motorcycle.”

Position on the road

When driving in city traffic in summer, the overwhelming majority of drivers choose the left position within the lane in order to see both their own and oncoming traffic. The current rule of driving is not to the left of the left – not to the right of the right, so as not to get into stupid accidents in situations where no one expected to see you. In winter, due to the accumulation of snow on the sides, you are forced to drive in the middle of your lane. Driving along the edge of the lane will make you more visible, but will reduce your options for maneuvering. And in winter, as we remember from the first paragraph, unnecessary abrupt body movements are fraught with.

The center position allows for smooth pivoting, using more free space around the edge.

Forget the row spacing! In winter and in the off-season, the aisle is the worst place for a motorcyclist, since all the dirt from both lanes accumulates there! You will ride on a dune of snow and a porridge of sand with garbage, do you need it?

Ruts, snow embankments and ice

In winter, even with snow removal, ruts are formed on the roads. While this is unlikely to be a big problem for a car, it can turn into trouble for a motorcyclist. “Dangerous rut: what makes motorcyclists so dislike rut?” The ruts will fray your nerves at intersections when the direction of your maneuver does not coincide with the car driving before you.

Pits and other unpleasant gifts can be hidden under the snow, and the ice is just a master to send pilots to rest on the sidelines. And yes, there are also rails! They are already slippery, and in the event of snow or icing, they pose a serious hazard. With regard to ice: try to follow the cars. Where the car has already broken through the ice edge, it is safer to drive – it is not so slippery and there is no risk of falling sharply due to the cracked coating.

Road treatment and materials sprinkled on public roads

Question: do you sprinkle roads in winter and what?

After a winter trip to the city, be sure to wash your motorcycle! If the road surface is sprinkled with salt, it will harm the motorcycle. When the road is covered with sand, it is not so deplorable, but you still have to wash your motorcycle after every exit on the winter roads of the city!

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