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How to Ride a Motorcycle in Crosswinds

Motorcycle Riding

Riding in a crosswind can be daunting at times.

At some point in time, you will wonder how to deal with severe crosswinds, regrettably, this would most likely happen while you are in the process of fighting them!

The surprise is that most of the time you really do not have to do anything ‘special’ and the motorcycle should not have a problem handling the majority of crosswinds with just the usual responses from you. However, it is true that it can sometimes be very difficult to ride your motorcycle in a crosswind. In these cases, knowing the proper technique is imperative to ensure your safety, as well as the safety of any other individuals in your vicinity. Below, you will find some tips that will help you stay safe in the crosswinds.– Drive in the center of the lane, unless there is a great deal of oncoming traffic then in that case, think about riding in the tire-track on the right.

  • Lean your body forward and lower your shoulders, this will lessen your profile. However, never put your head down always keep it up.
  • Relax your grasp on the handlebars and ‘droop’ your elbows. It is okay to allow your motorcycle to be a bit ‘unsteady.’
  • Allow the motorcycle to correct itself. It is not necessary for you to “white-knuckle”. When you grip the handlebars tightly, you will most likely “stiff arm” the controls. This allows instability from the front-end of the motorcycle to spread into the rest of your motorcycle.
  • Do not anticipate gusts of wind, keep in mind that as long as your bike is allowed to do its thing, it is not going to travel in a straight line and that is ok.

Other Considerations

  • Winds that are rather steady, such as those encountered in open areas, only require determination to continue moving forward.
  • The Sudden gusts of wind are the most difficult to contend with; just remember to keep a relaxed grip on the handlebars.
  • Find a comfortable speed for you; do not worry what anyone else is doing. You need to think about your own safety, that is what is most important.
  • When the wind is blowing from the side, you do not lose or gain any significant amount of traction unless you happen to be in a curve. While you are ‘leaning into the wind,’ all the weight of your bike will remain on the tires and there is hardly any lateral force taking that traction away.
  • Your motorcycle will be blown moderately off course with each gust of wind. This action is identical to any other slight course change. You will find it necessary to modestly counter-steer to correct it. The CG of the bike is at that point on the side that the wind came from, which makes it lean toward the wind.

Most Important Tip

If the crosswinds include enormous short gusts, you need to go park your bike. If the winds are steady, pull it together and keep riding!

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About the Author

Michael Padway is a motorcycle accident attorney with over 40 years of experience in motorcycle cases. He’s been a lifelong motorcycle rider, and fanatic for its culture, advocacy, and safety. If you need assistance with a motorcycle accident, contact him at (800) 928-1511 or visit michaelpadway.com for a free consultation.