The Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS) Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) cautions motorcyclists of the dangers of overheating and heat exhaustion with riding tips for the hot summer months.

A normal body temperature ranges around 98.6°F, but when you are experiencing heat exhaustion, your body temperature can increase between 101°F to 104°F. That is important for motorcyclists who love to ride in the summer or live in a hot climate.

“Please enjoy our State’s highways and byways this summer, and remember as the temperature rises, so do the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore. 

Contrary to what one may think, warmer weather is not a pass to wear less protective gear. Motorcyclists should stay in their gear even when the weather temperature rises above 95°F. It is not safe to wear discomforting gear that affects your ability to safely operate a motorcycle. A safer practice is to wear gear that acclimates to the seasons—especially if you are a year-round rider. In a 2019 study published by the Department of Transportation on gear conspicuity, “weather resistance” was the 4th gear purchasing factor among study participants, followed by comfort, durability, and crash resistance. A factor that many riders attributed to keeping them cool in hot weather was gear with ventilation. 

Holly Hegyesi, GMSP Manager, reminds motorcyclists how sweat helps lower body heat. “Remember that sweating is important to help regulate body temperature.  As sweat evaporates, heat is removed from your body. Wearing your protective clothing will help the sweating and heat dissipation process work better.”

Although summer is a very popular riding season among motorcyclists, hot and humid weather brings challenges that can take you from looking cool on your bike to needing to cool down. In addition to GMSP sharing the message for motorists to watch out for motorcycles and its “Share The Road” campaign, GMSP also wants motorcyclists to do their part in keeping them safe by wearing appropriate riding gear. Less riding gear may seem like a suitable fix to hot weather, but it can severely compromise your safety.

Wear gear designed for hot climates.

When you are riding your motorcycle in the summer, look for breathable and lightweight gear that will help you cool down and has full-coverage protection. As sweat evaporates, it lowers our body temperature and evaporation cooling gear can help keep you cool.

Stay hydrated with water and electrolytes.

Never ride impaired by consuming alcoholic beverages before you ride. It’s also safe to avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks when you are exposed to hot weather. Make sure to pack cold water in your storage or backpack to avoid dehydration.

Take breaks on your ride.

Although you may be in a rush to get to your destination, consider taking a few breaks for a long trip. Plan out your route and map rest stops to get shade and have a water break. Also, make sure you eat. Food is fuel and it helps your body react to heat, so you stay alert and focused.

Avoid the hottest part of the day.

The hottest part of the day is typically between noon and 3 p.m. and depending on your area, this can coincide with traffic. Plan out your ride to see how you can avoid riding at the highest temperature. This may mean leaving earlier in the morning or around sunset.

Not only is the summer a popular riding season, but motorcycle fatalities peak from June to August. In 2019, for June, July, and August, each month accounted for 13% of motorcyclists’ fatalities. Improving your chances of staying safe and learning riding strategies that you can use year-round are skills offered in rider education courses.

Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program

The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) is a part of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. In addition to regulating rider education programs, the GMSP also promotes motorist awareness programs, share the road campaigns, and is focused on highway safety issues affecting Georgia motorcyclists.