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Rainy ride: Keeping your ass off the tar

2014-10-17 12:56

RIDERS BEWARE: The Cape's winter rain and the Highveld summer showers means motorcyclists have to be extra cautious on the road. Image: Shutterstock

Motor-cyclists in South Africa have a daunting task just driving on local roads what with taxis and potholes but then comes the rain - summer storms up north, winter rainfall down south.

Here are some tips for "riding the storms" from the UK's Institute of Advanced Motorists, and they should know because it rains there most of the time.

There may be rubble ahead

 • When you’re riding in the rain look well ahead; make sure you have enough following distance to avoid large puddles or drain covers.
 • Watch out for potholes that fill up with rainwater because you never know how deep they are - and they'r not always easy to spot.
 • Changes in road surfaces can be very slippery and dangerous, so make sure you’re riding at a steady pace – giving yourself enough time to slow down if you need to.

Sprays of water

 • Large vehicles and trucks will throw up a wall of spray. To avoid the worst of it, avoid overtaking or rushing passed big trucks, especially when you’re on the highway.
 • Spray can also affect your ability to see clearly, misting up your helmet. Use a good anti-mist spray on the visor or have a visor insert fitted to the inside of your helmet to keep out any water.

Pools of water

Heavy rain forces pools of water to form across carriageways – forcing bikers to either brake sharply into the water or accelerate through it. While pools of water are unavoidable you should avoid braking or accelerating and simply ease off the throttle for a bit. Hold to the handlebars firmly and steer straight to pass through the pool as smoothly as possible. This applies to all drivers, evenin cars.

Fallen trees and branches

Be wary of narrow roads where large trees and branches fall, which will seriously unsettle your bike. If you can, avoid travelling on such roads if the wind is strong even if it means you’re on the road for a little longer.

Gaps in buildings

Watch out for gaps between buildings and trees where large vehicles can force motorcycles to shudder. Remember, a strong wind will affect other vehicles too – large and flat-sided vehicles usually more so. See that you give them more room and, if you plan to overtake, make sure it is safe to do so when wind is less blustery.

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