How to Drive a Scooter in the Winterby Dan Cano
Like operating any other vehicle, riding a motor scooter can be dangerous regardless of the time of year. Despite their lack of protection, it is common, however, for people to ride motor scooters in the winter. By taking the proper precautions and using the proper safety gear and clothing, scooter riding can actually be practical in the winter. Use common sense and follow the rules of the road, and you should be just fine.
Before riding any time of the year, it is essential that your scooter is in the proper mechanical condition. Tires should have plenty of tread and the correct amount of air, mirrors need to be properly adjusted, the horn needs to be in working condition and all of the lighting needs to be working. A windshield is also a wise choice to offer protection from the elements. It is a good idea to have a basic set of tools on-board with you if small adjustments need to be made while you are on the road.
Make sure that your clothing choices are warm and that you wear several layers. Layers of clothing are helpful; if you get too hot and need to shed something, you will still be protected from the elements. Jackets, pants and gloves made with waterproof fabric such as can help keep you dry in wet conditions. Also consider wearing a Neoprene face mask (available at most motorcycle shops) to keep your face warm by keeping wind out. They are often available printed with a variety of fun and interesting designs. Some scooter riders also wear a riding apron that offers additional coverage and protection for the legs. Close-toed shoes or boots should always be worn.
Choose the proper safety gear. Numerous helmet styles are available, and a helmet should always be warm regardless of the law in your area. For winter riding, a full-faced helmet with a face shield is recommended. This type of helmet will protect your head and face and provide extra warmth. It is a good idea to use an anti-fog spray (available at motorcycle shops and auto parts stores) to help prevent the face shield from fogging up. If you wear a helmet without a face shield, make sure that you wear safety goggles to keep the wind and rain out of your eyes.
Follow the laws of your state in regard to the rules of the road. In the winter it is essential to make sure to also be aware of your surroundings and the weather. Keep a safe difference behind vehicles to allow for them to have space to safely turn in front of you and operate their brakes. If riding with other motorcycles or scooters, ride in a staggered pattern to allow each rider proper visibility. Always ride with your headlight on to increase visibility.
- Taking a motorcycle safety course is recommended before operating a scooter or motorcycle. If possible, have a cell phone with you while riding to call for help in case of emergency.