Motorcyclists warned over winter weather
The UK government is urging motorcycle riders across the country to take precautions if they are venturing out on two wheels.
Winter is without doubt the most dangerous time for motorcyclists on UK roads with snow, ice and rain making the roads slippery while strong winds can be a challenge for even experienced riders.
Motorcyclists are particularly being warned about road markings, manhole covers and grids, which can become particularly slippery when rain and ice hits.
Riders are also being warned potholes are a particular menace because they can fill with water and hide the depth of the hole. This can unseat riders and cause accidents during the winter months, when visibility is reduced.
However, the main danger is being caught out while on a ride if it starts to snow or ice is forming on the road. The government's advice reads: "If you are out on a ride and find that there is ice on the road, or it starts to snow, the most important advice to remember is to remain calm."
Drivers are reminded to keep plenty of distance away from the vehicle in front and pull over to allow cars to pass if you feel they are getting too close.
As with car drivers, motorcyclists are being advised to avoid sharp braking and acceleration because this could cause the bike to skid.
To help prevent skidding, motorcycles need to be looked after in winter. Tyres should be checked to ensure the tread is deep enough, they are at their optimum pressure and there is no visible damage or wear and tear.
Meanwhile, the government also has advice for riders: "Keeping warm while on your bike will not only make you more comfortable, it will keep you safer too. Cold hands and feet don't respond as fast as warm ones and you won't be able to control the bike so well. To keep warm, layer your clothes, wear a full face helmet, biker buff or scarf, and invest in some good warm gloves."
For those riders who are only taking their bikes out occasionally it is best to store it in a garage over winter or to cover it up to avoid corrosion.
Before setting out, drivers should check headlights, brake lights and indicators as well as brakes and any other nuts and bolts on the bike.
Oil levels and brake fluid levels should be topped up if necessary, ensuring the motorcycle is in perfect condition for the road.
Finally riders are being warned one of the most important things to do in winter is to ensure you have motorcycle breakdown cover in the event of an accident, as well as valid motorcycle insurance, according to MoneySupermarket.com.