With winter and cold weather either here for some of us, or almost here for the rest of us, there are things about riding your motorcycle in the cold that you need to know.
Riding your motorcycle in cold weather can be deadly because of something called hypothermia.
Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature.
Normal body temperature is around 98.6 Fahrenheit. Hypothermia occurs as your body temperature passes below 95 Fahrenheit.
When your body temperature drops, your heart, nervous system, and other organs can’t work property. Left untreated, hypothermia can eventually lead to complete failure of your heart and respiratory system, and to death.
As the temperature falls, the body shunts blood away from the skin and exposure to the elements. Blood flow is increased to the vital organs of the body including the heart, lungs, kidney, and brain.
Hypothermia most often occurs because of prolonged exposure to cold weather. Inadequate clothing for conditions may not provide enough insulation for the body to prevent heat loss.
Many of you may know that riding your motorcycle in cold weather can cause hypothermia.
I must admit, when I was younger, and did not know so much, I rode around in cold weather all of the time. Many times I was so cold; that my hands were numb, my feet were numb, and my crotch felt like it was frozen. No one ever told me about hypothermia, I just thought I was butt cold.
Luckily I live in an area that has yearlong riding, however, because of this I sometimes take it for granted, and ride in cold weather that I should not ride in, or I get stuck on the road, and am forced to ride home in very cold weather.
Coming from Southern California, I sometimes ride to other areas or States where it is much colder than it is here.
The trouble is that when you ride in cold weather and you’re not dressed properly, your body senses as well as core temperature start to drop, your decision making abilities start to slow down, and just like an intoxicated person, you start to have problems with simple tasks such as clutching and braking because your hands and feet start to go numb.
Many of you may be saying to yourself “why is he writing this, I already know about hypothermia.” Well I had heard about hypothermia as well.
However, in the past when I was freezing my ass off while riding my motorcycle, I never even had any idea that I could be suffering from hypothermia and that my life was at risk.
There is another risk when riding in cold weather as well, frostbite, however, let’s just stick to hypothermia.
Take a look, if you are riding at 60 miles per hour in 40 degree temperatures, the wind-chill factor is 25 degrees. You could get hypothermia in a matter of minutes without the proper riding attire on.
The point of this article is to make you aware of the danger.
There are many solutions out there for cold weather riding, from electric vests, gloves, pants, and insulated riding attire, to standard riding gear.
What is best for you or what is out there for cold weather riding, I will let you research on your own. There are many websites out there dedicated to this one subject.
The next time you are freezing your ass off on a motorcycle ride and you feel your hands and feet becoming numb, you will now think about this article and hypothermia, and maybe stop in a warm restaurant of motel somewhere to get your body heat back and to recover.
Yes it may be a hassle, but it is better to live to ride another day.
By California Motorcycle Accident Attorney, and Biker Lawyer, Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © October 10, 2011