What Dangers Do Motorcyclists Have to Look Out For in Fall?
Fall is a season that inspires Illinoisans to get outside and enjoy the weather outside before they cannot do so anymore. Motorcyclists are no exception. While it is tempting to get out on a motorcycle and go for a long drive to take in the scenery and beautiful fall foliage in Illinois, there can be some unanticipated dangers to doing so. Read on to learn about what dangers may befall an Illinois motorcyclist this fall.
Leaves Can Leave You in a Wreck
Fall means falling leaves. These leaves are dazzling, but they can lead to tragedy for motorcyclists. Wet leaves, in particular, are dangerous for a motorcyclist. When wet leaves pile up in the street, they can be as slippery as oil. When a motorcyclist is accelerating, braking, or rounding a corner, this can cause serious issues. This is because wet leaves can take away traction, causing a motorcyclist to lose control of his bike. Even with anti-lock brakes, motorcyclists can skid. It is best to only ride when there is visibility so that you can see if there are leaves present and, if possible, ride around them. Try to avoid riding after a storm, as it is more likely that there are wet leaves on the road.
However, wet leaves are not the only menace to motorcyclists. Dry leaves can pose a hazard, too. They can obscure the line markings on the road, confuse drivers about the size of the lane, and disguise where the turn signs are.
Leaves are perhaps the most dangerous when they are present at an intersection. It can cover things up such as debris from previous fender benders, oil spills, or low-profile concrete dividers. If a motorcycle goes over these, it can cause the motorcyclist to lose control of the bike and get into a motorcycle accident.
Often, homeowners will pile leaves on the side of the road. This can also be dangerous to motorcyclists, as the piles can cover up things like debris, curbs, and open sewer grates. If a motorcyclist drives over the pile of leaves, thinking that it does not pose a hazard because the leaves are not wet, they can still end up in a wreck.
Those piles of leaves can cause problems for motorcyclists even when the bike is not being driven. Leaves burn incredibly easily. Hot exhaust pipes can lead to a fire. If your motorcycle has a catalytic converter, this is even more likely because of the higher temperatures.
Branches Can Be a Factor Too
As leaves are falling, the branches that hold the leaves can fall, too. Depending on the size of the branch, this can be very hard for a motorcyclist to see. Even small branches can cause a motorcyclist to lose control of her bike. Broken branches can cause punctures in tires. You need to also be wary about branches falling on you, too; being on a bike and not having the coverage that a car offers, you are more exposed to the danger. You may want to avoid getting out on a bike following a storm until the road crew can clean up branches.
Watch the Clock
Gone are the days when you could go out for a ride at 8 p.m. It is getting darker much sooner. Once Daylight Savings Time hits, things are even worse. Not only does the changing weather mean that you might be limited in your hours riding your bike, but it also means that you need to take caution when you head out on your bike and it is still light outside. Many motorcycle accidents happen due to visibility. Motorcycles are much smaller and their typical darker color makes them hard to see in the night.
Check the Forecast
Summer can leave in a hurry. The fall season in Illinois can leave just as fast. This means that flurries, snow, or ice can be on the road even if there are still leaves on the trees. All of these are a bad combination with motorcyclists. Take a car if the weather forecast includes wintry conditions.
Make Sure Your Bike Is Fit
Many motorcyclists ride their bikes well into the end of the year in Illinois. That is fine to do as long as you are being safe. If you want to still ride well into October and November, make sure that your motorcycle is tuned up for the season. Make sure that there is gas in the tank and be especially careful about the tire pressure. A bike in good condition is far less likely to be involved in any accidents.
Watch Out For Wildlife
The combination of motorcycles and animals–whether a bunny or a deer–can be catastrophic. Fall makes this combination all the more likely. Mating season begins in the fall. Additionally, hunters are out. Thus, more animals will be out and about and likely closer to the road. Motorcyclists will encounter animals at some point in Illinois. It is important to be especially careful this time of year and anticipate that the animals will be more likely to be in the road. Take great care when you are in rural areas, as those animals will have greater populations. Keep in mind that animals are most active during dawn and dusk, so take extra precautions if you choose to ride at those times.
Were You Injured in a Fall Motorcycle Accident in Illinois?
If you choose to ride a motorcycle during fall in Illinois, we hope that you remain safe. However, if you are injured in an accident, please reach out to us. A motorcycle accident attorney can help. At our firm, we truly understand motorcyclists and their unique needs. We have represented motorcyclists in personal injury cases and gotten our clients the compensation they need. We will do whatever we can to ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve.