Seattle Rain: How to Ride a Motorcycle Safely

When you live somewhere that averages around 40 inches of rain annually, you have to be ready for some slick conditions. This is particularly important for our motorcycle enthusiasts in and around Seattle.

Safely operating a motorcycle in wet conditions is a skill any motorcyclist in the Pacific Northwest should have under their belt. Here, we want to review some of the main safety tips for riding safely in the (wet) Emerald City. If you have been involved in a motorcycle accident and have any questions about recovering compensation, contact a Seattle motorcycle accident lawyer as promptly as possible.

Understanding the Risks for Seattle Motorcyclists

Rainy weather poses unique challenges to motorcycle riders. The slick roads reduce tire traction, which can lead to longer braking distances and a higher risk of skidding. Additionally, visibility is reduced, not just for the rider but also for other drivers, increasing the likelihood of accidents.

Data provided by the Washington Department of Transportation shows that there were nearly 2,000 total motorcycle crashes across the state in 2023. Out of these incidents, there were 131 fatal crashes and nearly 1,500 incidents that caused injuries. While no breakdown of how many of these incidents occurred in rainy weather or slick conditions, the reality is that motorcyclists are part of a vulnerable group of riders that face more risks in these types of conditions than those inside traditional passenger vehicles.

Safety Tips for Wet Weather Riding

Okay, if you are gearing up to head out for a Seattle motorcycle ride, you can be ready for predictably wet weather by following these tips:

  1. Consider not riding. If you know the weather is going to be a problem for a bit of time, we suggest postponing your motorcycle ride if you can do so. There is no better way to stay safe than not to go riding in the rain at all.
  2. Gear up properly. Investing in waterproof riding gear and a helmet with an anti-fog visor is essential. Proper gear not only keeps you dry but also ensures visibility is maintained.
  3. Tire check. Ensure your motorcycle’s tires are in good condition, with adequate tread depth for wet roads. Consider investing in tires specifically designed for wet conditions.
  4. Reduce speed. Slowing down in rainy conditions is critical. It increases your reaction time and decreases the risk of hydroplaning. You have fewer wheels when operating a motorcycle, so you need to ensure both of them keep traction.
  5. Increase the following distance. Keeping a greater distance from the vehicle in front of you gives you more time to react to sudden stops or hazards.
  6. Use your lights. Always keep your headlights on to improve your visibility to other drivers. Most motorcycles automatically light up the headlight when the bike gets started.
  7. Brake and accelerate gently. Sudden speed changes can lead to skids. Apply brakes and accelerator gently to maintain traction.
  8. Avoid puddles and slippery surfaces. Puddles can hide potholes, and surfaces, like painted road markings or metal plates, become extremely slippery when wet.
  9. Ride in tracks. Follow the tire tracks of the vehicle in front of you. These are often the driest parts of the lane.
  10. Stay alert. Be extra cautious at intersections and look out for rainbow-colored patches on the road, which indicate oil spills.
  11. Educate yourself. Consider taking a course on wet weather riding. Knowledge and preparation can significantly reduce risks.

Your safety is the number one priority. Riding a motorcycle on a clear sunny day presents significant risks as it is, so extra precautions are required when the weather is less than ideal.

Contact a Motorcycle Accident Lawyer

If you or somebody you love has sustained a was injury in a motorcycle accident, reach out to an attorney immediately. A Seattle personal injury attorney can investigate the incident, examine your medical records, and enlist assistance from trusted medical professionals.