- Be an upright citizen – ride smart in the rain
- Check these hazards – they’re lurking out there
- Mostly commonsense – but we can all learn
JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Parts of South Africa have had lots of rain recently and that makes commuting uncomfortable – especially for motor-cycle and bicycle riders
MasterDrive SA’s training director Derek Kirkby has assembled some tips for riding in the rain in South Africa for the next time riders head out in a downpour:
Make sure you have a quality rain suit (in yellow). This will not only keep you dry but also enhance your visibility. Remember, if you are warm and dry you can operate the controls more efficiently.
Wear quality waterproof gloves.
Be aware while lane-splitting that you have less grip and you are riding on white road markings – take it even slower.
Side windows on cars tend to mist during cold, wet, weather. Bear in mind that their drivers’ rearward view will be less clear. The same applies to their outside mirrors.
Treat your helmet visor with anti-fog – quality products are VERY effective.
Try stay in the tyre tracks of vehicles ahead of you – they will have removed some of the surface water. Also be aware that oil will have mixed with the surface water.
RIDE SMOOTH, AVOID SMOOTH
Avoid puddles – they could hide a pothole.
Avoid shiny-smooth surfaces. Surfaces that are slightly slippery on dry days become perilously slippery in rain. Stay off painted lines, manhole covers, metal plates, and even tar snakes. If you do find yourself caught on one of these, avoid hard braking or acceleration — just roll over it without any sudden inputs.
Loosen up. Clinging to the bars with a death grip will do three bad things:
Tire you faster
Exaggerate the effects of any movements you make
Keep your suspension from working as it should.
Remember that your bike is designed to handle small bumps and wiggles, so let it do its job.
TAKE YOUR TIME – MAKE SPACE
Give yourself time and space. Take it easy. Reduce speed, and leave extra space between you and vehicles ahead. Braking distances are much longer in the rain and you can’t count on having traction when you need it.
Plus, you need time to scan the road and choose your lines.