Tips for riding your motorcycle on a hot day

Last updated: January 1

Riding your motorcycle in the open air may sound like a good way to beat the summer heat, but it's important to take safety precautions before you hit the road any time of the year. Here are some things to consider before you take a motorcycle ride on a hot day.

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Summer motorcycle gear

Although you may be inclined to let your skin breathe on a hot day, Motorcycle Cruiser says you'll likely feel cooler if you keep on at least one layer. That's because the material helps you retain moisture, making you less likely to dehydrate. And, says Rider Magazine, wearing full-length pants and a jacket, along with gloves, may offer some protection in the event of an accident, as well as help protect your skin from sunburn. Choosing protective apparel that has large mesh panels may help air flow through the material, Rider Magazine says.

It's also a good idea to consider protection for your face, the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) says. In addition to a traditional helmet, a face shield may help keep road debris, insects and wind out of your eyes, helping you have a safer ride, according to the foundation.

Hot weather safety tips

Try to avoid riding during the hottest hours of the day. Instead, consider riding during the morning, when it's typically cooler outside, then take the afternoon off to enjoy lunch and other activities before getting back on the road around 5 p.m., Rider Magazine suggests. And, if riding for extended periods, it's a good idea to take frequent water breaks. While on the road, a wet bandana tied around your neck or an evaporative cooling neck wrap may help keep you cooler while also blocking the sun from your neck.

If you still find yourself too hot, let common sense prevail, Rider Magazine says. Park your bike, remove your helmet and cool down by seeking air conditioning, drinking cold water or going for a swim.

Heat may not be the only danger on a summer day, though. It's possible to experience hypothermia on what seems like a pleasant day for a ride, Motorcycle Cruiser says. That's because the wind can have a significant chilling effect. A rider driving between 45 and 55 mph on a 65-degree day can feel as though it's only 33 degrees outside, according to Motorcycle Cruiser. Hypothermia can cause slower reactions and loss of concentration, which is why it's important to dress appropriately for your ride, says the MSF.

Even the most experienced rider should take safety precautions when riding on a hot (or even mildly warm) day. With the help of some preparation and a backup plan, you can take your bike on the road with the knowledge that you are better prepared to handle the summer weather.