How many times have you left the house for a motorcycle ride in full sunshine, only to have the heaven’s open? Ever been stuck, when out of nowhere, wind, hail or even fog appears?
Before heading out for a day of riding, you usually check your bike to make sure it has oil, petrol, air in the tyres and it is basically road safe. But do you check your motorcycle weather safety? Where and when you are going, including what the weather will be like?
It’s not fun and can be downright dangerous if you are not prepared. Not only do we need to ensure our motorcycle weather safety for upcoming conditions but as riders we also need to consider the safety of others on the road.
The excitement of a long motorcycle ride can make it easy to be complacent but a few things to do before you head out on your ride can make all the difference.
So why not have some info at hand and gear ready for on the go…before you go.
There’s a motorcycle weather safety app for that!
With new technology, weather apps can be mostly accurate and reliable. Choose the one most applicable for you and do some weather checks. You can better prepare for the conditions by packing the right gear for the ride, or you may need to change your route.
1. BOM –Bureau of Meteorology (Australian Government)
BOM Weather is the Bureau of Meteorology’s weather app, giving you the most accurate weather information on your mobile. It includes, weather details such as the chance of rain, wind speed, sunrise and sunset times as well as the UV index.
You can select suburbs along your ride, or if you are not going far, use your current location. You can also set to receive weather warnings on your mobile in your area.
Not only does the BOM app give you information about the weather but it can also forecast for –
– 1-hourly forecasts for the next 72 hours for temperature, rain, wind direction and speed in km/h and knots
– A 7-day forecast including temperature, chance of and quantity of rainfall, fire danger rating, sunrise/sunset times, UV Index and sun protection in the 4 days ahead.
Cost: Free and ad-free
2. Weatherzone – The Weather Company Pty Ltd
The Weatherzone app has a stylish interface and uses a combination of the information from the Bureau of Metereorology plus its own meteorologists and high-resolution Opticast modelling to provide local weather.
The app provides ten-day forecasts, including temperature, wind and rain predictions. As well as UV ratings, fire danger ratings, pollen forecasts and snow forecasts.
You can elect to receive weather warning alerts on your mobile.
Cost: Three versions are available. The free version includes advertising, an ad-free version for $1.99 per year with auto-renewing subscription and Pro for $5.99 per month with auto-renewing subscription.
3. SunSmart: UV Index and Sun Safety – Cancer Council Victoria
The SunSmart app uses the forecast information from the Bureau of Meterology and live UV data from Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency to provide sun protection times each day.
This information can also be viewed on the BOM app, so there may not be any need to download this one as well.
5. Australia Snow Map & Webcams – William Magrath
A great app for those heading to the snow. You can see all the snow in one glance, as well as by resort, with 24-hour, 3 day forecasts for snow.
See the snow for yourself from the app webcams for each resort.
Cost: Free (with advertising)
Remember: It is illegal and dangerous to use your mobile while riding.
Preparation for motorcycle weather safety
If the weather does turn nasty during your road trip, here are a few things to keep in mind –
Change your riding style
It’s wise to change your riding style to match the weather conditions. These little riding modifications can make a huge difference to your safety on the road.
If you feel you are not in control of the motorcycle or you do not feel safe, always pull off and find a safe place to shelter until conditions improve.
Different riding gear
What you wear in different weather conditions can not only keep you safe on the back of a bike but it can also help to keep you alert and comfortable during the ride. Always make sure the gear is suitable and can be seen in the weather conditions you are riding in.
Read more about road safety and motorcycle gear at our road safety website.
When group riding, it can be dangerous and hinder the trip when motorcyclists turn up ill prepared for the weather. Assign someone to ensure everyone is aware of the weather conditions ahead and the correct motorcycle gear is packed for the trip.
The DOC NSW ‘riders briefing’ is a good reference for group riding
Here are some other motorcycle safety apps, we think are handy too!
1. Emergency + (Plus) or Emergency AUS
This emergency app has been developed by Australia’s emergency services, the government and industry partners. If you do get into trouble, and especially for those who head out where there is no fixed address, this app may save your life.
In the case of an emergency, open the app from your mobile phone. The GPS coordinates of your whereabouts will be displayed on your screen. Relay your critical location details to Triple Zero so they can mobilise emergency services directly to you.
It also holds your emergency contact numbers and allows you to quickly access important phone numbers such as Crimestoppers or the Poisons Hotline.
2. Fires Near Me (NSW) – NSW RFS
Fires Near Me app provides information on incidents across NSW, attended by the NSW RFS and other agencies. You can set your fire watch zones or search for your address.
The alert notifications for warnings are handy when on the move.
3. National Public Toilet Map App – (Australian Government)
Did you know we have over 19,000 publicly available toilets across Australia?
This Australian Government Department of Health app shows where they are including accessibility, opening hours and facilities such as showers, baby change rooms and sharps disposal. You can also set your preference of toilets that meet your requirements.
4. NSW FuelCheck – NSW Government
Not only does the FuelCheck app show where the 2000 service stations are located across NSW, it uploads fuel prices in real time.
Its easy to personalise for your favourite service stations or set up alerts when your favourite service station price drops under a certain threshold.
So, before you head off on a trip, select ‘my trip feature’ to locate the cheapest fuel along your route.
Cost: Free and ad-free
5. Pit Stop Planner by Budget Direct
This link lets you plan all your trip pit-stops – cafes and rest areas along the route. Access via your internet browser on your smartphone.
- Simply enter your start and end suburb and it will recommend the number of stops you will need for the trip. A map will appear for you to drag the path of your desired route.
- Click on the ‘plan your stops’ button and suggestions of where to stop will be displayed.
- Click on your chosen stops to add to your pit stop plan.
- Export your pit-stop plan to Google Maps for all directions.
Every time you head out for a road trip on your motorcycle in all-weather situations consider these four elements to minimise your danger and increase your safety –
• Be seen
• Be protected
• Be comfortable
• Be alert
Do you have any other apps you use to plan your long motorcycle trips? We would love to hear them. Send your tip to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Want more motorcycle safety tips? Read our blog, safe motorcycling when you haven’t ridden for a while.