As the holiday season approaches and temperatures begin to drop, many Georgia motorcyclists will continue to enjoy riding through the winter months and holidays. During the year’s most hectic and challenging riding season, the Department of Driver Services (DDS) GA Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) offers some helpful strategies to both motorcyclists and drivers to safely enjoy holiday celebrations and cold weather riding.

Don’t forget the basics: Choose the right gear.

This is the perfect time of year to make sure that all of your motorcycle gear is compliant with the Georgia Department of Transportation. In the winter, a full-face helmet gives you the most protection from frigid weather and wind. Water-resistant gear that is adaptable to weather changes provides comfort and warmth on cold rides.

Keep warm: a simple three-step layering method.

Take the three-layer approach to dress for winter motorcycle riding. A thermal that retains warmth and hugs the body can serve as your base layer. The middle layer of clothing should be snug and have enough room for ventilation and flexibility. Your riding coat is the third and outer layer that seals in the warmth and gives you protection.

Plan your trip with safety and traffic in mind.

Have your trip planned to account for road delays and check weather forecasts. Find a news source or app that you trust to give you reliable and accurate weather information. Avoid travelling during peak traffic times to avoid the holiday rush. Traffic apps provide real-time data to help you avoid travel times with the most congestion. 

Inspect your motorcycle.

Before you get on the road, your motorcycle needs to be in great shape if you plan on continuing to ride in the winter. Check your motorcycle’s battery charge and indicator lights. Tires lose pressure in cold weather; check tires to ensure each one has the appropriate amount of pressure.

Watch out for road hazards.

The winter season brings an additional road hazard that other seasons do not: ice. Riding your motorcycle in winter is extremely risky when the roads are icy, especially with black ice. Although it is recommended to not ride your motorcycle in the snow, sometimes it starts to fall as you are riding.  If the weather becomes too difficult to drive in, find a safe place to pull over and wait it out. 

Be on alert for distracted and impaired drivers.

Holiday celebrations and winter weather conditions tend to bring about a multitude of distractions for drivers and motorcyclists alike. Be aware of drivers around you who may be experiencing reduced visibility or who are distracted by weather conditions; keep your distance and avoid their blind spots. Be aware of any vehicle driving improperly and steer clear.

Winter and holiday motorcycle riding can be challenging but you can do your part to ensure your comfort and safety, as well as the safety of others on the road. To brush up on your skills and learn the most up-to-date maneuvers for a safe and enjoyable winter ride, register in a Rider Course at one of many DDS locations or Certified Private Partners.  Visit GMSP for Riders to register. 

About the Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program

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