“Please enjoy our State’s highways and byways this summer, and remember as the temperature rises, so do the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke,” said DDS Commissioner Spencer R. Moore.
Summer is a very popular riding season among motorcyclists, hot and humid weather brings challenges that can take you from looking cool on your bike to needing to cool down. In addition to GMSP sharing the message for motorists to watch out for motorcycles and its “Share the Road” campaign, GMSP also wants motorcyclists to do their part in keeping them safe by wearing appropriate riding gear. Holly Hegyesi, GMSP Manager cautions: “Less riding gear may seem suitable for hot weather, but it can severely compromise your safety.”
Contrary to what one may think, warmer weather is not a pass to wear less protective gear. Motorcyclists should stay in their gear even when the weather temperature rises above 95°F. It is not safe to wear discomforting gear that affects your ability to safely operate a motorcycle. A safer practice is to wear gear that acclimates to the seasons—especially if you are a year-round rider. In a 2019 study published by the Department of Transportation on gear conspicuity, “weather resistance” was the fourth gear purchasing factor among study participants, followed by comfort, durability, and crash resistance. A factor that many riders attributed to keeping them cool in hot weather was gear with ventilation. Here are four tips for hot weather riding:
1. Wear gear designed for hot climates.
When riding your motorcycle in the summer, look for breathable and lightweight gear that will help you cool down and has full-coverage protection. As sweat evaporates, it lowers our body temperature, and evaporation cooling gear can help keep you cool.
2. Stay hydrated with water and electrolytes.
Never ride impaired by consuming alcoholic beverages before you ride. It’s also safe to avoid sugary and caffeinated drinks when you are exposed to hot weather. Make sure to pack cold water in your storage or backpack to avoid dehydration.
3. Take breaks on your ride.
Although you may be in a rush to get to your destination, consider taking a few breaks for a long trip. Plan out your route and map rest stops to get shade and have a water break. Also, make sure you eat. Food is fuel and it helps your body react to heat, so you stay alert and focused.
4. Avoid the hottest part of the day.
The hottest part of the day is typically between noon and 3 p.m., depending on your area, this can coincide with traffic. Plan out your ride to see how you can avoid riding at the highest temperature. This may mean leaving earlier in the morning or around sunset.
Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program
The Georgia Motorcycle Safety Program (GMSP) is a part of the Georgia Department of Driver Services. In addition to regulating rider education programs, the GMSP promotes motorist awareness programs, share the road campaigns, and focuses on highway safety issues affecting Georgia motorcyclists.