When we head out on the road there are a lot of things we need to worry about. Cagers and road conditions are probably the first two things that come to mind. If I asked you to make a list of the things we need to worry about that list would get long pretty quick, but I would be suprised to find wind on your list. I know it wouldn’t have been on mine until recently.
A recent motorcycle accident in Kansas that killed one Air Force airman and left two others critically injured is a stark reminder to all riders of the dangers posed by wind.
The sheriff’s department in Cowley County said the three airmen were riding on April 3, 2011, on a rural road near Dexter, Kan., when an apparent high wind gust blew the three motorcycles off a narrow S-curve into a deep ditch, according to The Associated Press.
The National Weather Service told the AP that winds were gusting to 45 mph in Cowley County at about the time of the accident.
A 30-year-old airman was pronounced dead at the scene. Two others, 22 and 38, were hospitalized in critical condition.
Residents in the Dexter area know it is a dangerous spot because of the wind and road conditions, but the three motorcyclists were from McConnell Air Force Base, which is near Wichita, the sheriff’s office told NBC affiliate KSN-TV.
Motorcyclists know that a strong gust of wind from the wrong angle at the wrong time can be enough to push us into oncoming traffic or off the road. It’s one of the many challenges we face every time we ride. That’s why its important to always leave a little room for the unexpected when riding in extremely windy conditions, especially if you are riding near your limits or the bike’s limits.
Here are some tips that may help you when you’re riding in high wind, from a motorcycle writer on Life123.com:
- Paying attention to your surroundings. Look for trees and flags that are being blown by a strong wind and you’ll know that a gust is headed your way.
- Avoid the sides of the road. Try to remain in the center of your lane.
- Keep your body relaxed. Your arms should be bent and not stiff. If your arms are straight and tense and you’re gripping your bike, any movement of your upper body will cause your motorcycle to move as well.
- Your lower body should be doing the work of holding you to your bike. Your legs should be squeezing the bike to hold you securely on. It’s tempting to stop giving your motorcycle gas but this isn’t a good idea because you lose the power you need to battle through the winds.
- Try to stay low to give the wind less to hit. Keeping your center of gravity low will also allow you to keep better control of your bike.
- If at any time you feel like you can’t control your motorcycle, pull over and either call somebody to come and get you or wait the conditions out. It’s always better to be safe than it is to risk yourself or your motorcycle.
My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the three motorcyclists.
Thanks for reading, and ride safe!
ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901