6 Worst Ways to Ride a Motorcycle in the Rain

You’re on your motorcycle, and it starts to rain. Do you know the six things you should not do if you want to continue riding your bike safely? We look at some of the most significant hazards when riding your motorcycle in the rain

1. Failing to pay attention while riding a motorcycle

People riding a motorcycle down a straight highway.
Riding a motorcycle | Getty Images

We all should know by now that it’s dangerous to drive while distracted. It’s one of the biggest causes of motor vehicle accidents of all kinds—including motorcycle crashes. Paying attention to what’s going on around you and driving defensively is essential whenever you’re on a motorcycle in traffic. It’s especially important when rain is reducing everyone’s visibility, tire traction, and braking distance. 

Reduce your speed, keep more distance between your bike and the vehicles ahead, and allow plenty of stopping distance. Always watch what’s happening around you and plan ahead for turns and stops, giving yourself plenty of time and distance to do things safely. 

2. Not being prepared

No one can consistently predict rain and be outfitted for it before hitting the road. But you can carry minimum rain gear with you at all times. Experts suggest a lightweight reflective vest to increase your visibility on the road, waterproof gloves with excellent grip, and a pair of good-quality goggles. If you polish your goggles with the same wax you use on your bike, water droplets will roll right off.

A pair of Gore-Tex or Merino wool socks will keep your feet warm and dry even in the rain—essential when you need to feel your feet for riding safely. Add a few zip bags to keep things like your phone and wallet dry in case you aren’t wearing waterproof gear.

3. Driving through puddles on your motorcycle

According to Twisted Throttle, you never know what’s hiding beneath that innocent-looking puddle. It could be a solid roadway under an inviting pool of water or a nasty pothole waiting to send you and your bike on a different kind of ride. If you can’t avoid the puddle, they recommend keeping your bike upright, holding the throttle steady, and not touching the brakes.

4. Not avoiding colorful rainbows or shiny surfaces

Oil slicks cause those colorful rainbows, and those slicks can prove to be slippery and dangerous. Rainbows are usually worse at intersections where vehicles leak oil while sitting for a while, and the oil accumulates. Avoiding hazardous conditions is always a better option than dealing with the consequences of them afterward.

Similarly, shiny surfaces like bridge decks, utility hole covers, metal plates, painted lines, railroad crossings, reflectors, and tar snakes are slippery even when dry. Add rainwater, and they become dangerously slick. Avoid sudden actions if you’re confronted by a rainbow or shiny object that you can’t avoid.

5. Accelerating and braking too quickly

Sudden acceleration or braking is a horrible idea in the rain. Even with great tread, your tires won’t have their normal traction on wet roads. Instead of decelerating, shifting, and turning all at once, separate each action and do them individually whenever possible. Brake progressively by slowly squeezing the brake lever and then gradually increasing the force. 

Avoid sudden or abrupt moves that require better traction than you probably have. Instead, focus on smooth, steady movements. This reduces the demand for traction on your tires and lets them work safely with the limited traction available.

6. Driving your motorcycle too fast for conditions

Remember, rain affects visibility, reaction times, traction, and stopping distance. Driving too fast for conditions compounds all these problems and can result in a disaster. Slowing down and paying attention will let you choose a path that avoids many of the abovementioned hazards. It also gives you a cushion of time to react appropriately and safely when something unexpected happens while riding your motorcycle in the rain.

RELATED: What Are the Main Causes of Motorcycle Accidents?