Rider survives head-on crash

A recent report on an accident at the foot of the Weld Pass in Marlborough makes sobering reading. The rider survived a head-on crash with a car, but sustained serious back and pelvic injuries. The investigating officer put his survival down to his full-face helmet, as he head-butted the windscreen. If you need any convincing about the superiority of a full-face, have a read here.

A strong wind gust apparently pushed the rider across the road. It may have been a complete freak of nature but we do live a country with very changeable weather conditions. It has been especially changeable this summer, with a lot of wind, a fair amount of rain and a number of cool days. Being attuned to these changing weather patterns, and riding appropriately, is always a good idea.

Wind can affect a motorcycle’s stability dramatically and the hilly terrain NZ has so much of can funnel it, increasing its force. So if you’re riding in the hills on a windy day, be alert to the possibility of unexpected gusts and keep the pace down.

Other weather conditions to watch out for at this time of year include sunstrike and excessive heat. Polarised sunnies under a clear visor can reduce glare, and if you do get blinded by sunstrike reduce speed, try to duck your helmet down and use the top edge of the aperture like a car’s sun visor. Keep an eye in the mirrors for dazzled drivers behind who may not see you.

Hot weather can make it tempting to shed clothing. Just don’t make it the layer providing impact and abrasion protection!

Riding to the conditions and wearing the best protective gear will go a long way to increasing your chances of a long, happy riding career. The other big factor is training. The Ride Forever training programme has been going great guns, with a lot of very positive feedback, and courses start from just $20.