Is Riding in the rain Really that dangerous?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by c3eh, Feb 10, 2013.

  1. c3eh

    c3eh Adventurer

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    Maybe this isn't the right place for this question but its a rainy day in st louis and it came across my mind.

    I am probably a noob I'll admit that and I have never ridden in rain (drizzle, downpour whatever) so I was curious how dangerous is it really to ride in rain?
    All that came to mind was losing traction in a corner
    So just in general or if you have a personal story either one really I was just curious.
    #1
  2. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    How rainy?

    Drizzle?
    Rain?
    Downpour?
    Deluge?
    That Ark that just went by, I wonder if he knows something I don't?


    Your biggest threat is from poor visibility - other road users are somewhat impaired by the rain on their windshields and spray, you'll face similar issues with the possible addition of a fogged helmet. The standard warnings apply - increase following distance, plan ahead for brake and turn maneuvers, try not to ride on painted/taped lines (they're somewhat slicker when wet).
    #2
  3. Grinnin

    Grinnin Forever N00b

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    Not all that dangerous.

    Gentle on all controls is all it takes.

    I SHOULD have pulled over that one time about 7 years ago when the road was running deep with water and every car coming from ahead threw up a wall of dirty spray. I continued on and survived, but that's the most dangerous rain that I've been in.
    #3
  4. c3eh

    c3eh Adventurer

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    Just in general normal rain, not sprinkle but not a hurricane. Or whatever experience you have had.
    #4
  5. JensEskildsen

    JensEskildsen Long timer

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    Doesnt feel dangerous to me, just wet =)
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  6. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Nope. No threat.

    The worst rain I was ever in happened in Oklahoma. It was raining so hard and fast, the noise kept the VOX mic in my helmet keyed until I found shelter in the carport of a house with a for sale sign in the front yard.
    #6
  7. ParaMud

    ParaMud Been here awhile

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    Motorcyles are dangerous. You can curb some risk factors. Rain just adds a couple factors of increased risks. Poor visibility, decreased traction. These arent just to you, the cars get the same thing. So another factor for us is idiotic drivers.

    I try to never ride in the rain because I deem it to risky.
    #7
  8. Escaped

    Escaped Been here awhile

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    I have ridden in the rain a lot. Increased danger in my opinion comes from the cages. Outside of being extra causes of other vehicles, yon need to be extra careful of momentum changes - starting, stopping and turning.

    #8
  9. It'sNotTheBike

    It'sNotTheBike Banned

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    Like most other activities which involve risk, danger is dependent on
    many factors, some but not all of which can be controlled by you. I think
    it is important to make sure you have done everything in your power to
    be as sharp as possible so you are better able to deal with the factors
    which are not under your control.


    Often the cars and trucks you will share the road with won't allow for increased
    stopping distances which may ( will ! ) be required in the wet. This can make for
    hairy situations if you are unable to maintain a safe buffer space between you
    and all the other vehicles. If someone in a car or truck is on your tail and you
    crash they are probably going to run over you. So it's worth doing whatever it
    takes to make sure you have a safe buffer zone of empty road around you.
    This would in my opinion include getting of the road and waiting for less traffic or less
    rain; judgement is important here. You need to be able to make a quick decision
    to wait it out under a bridge or in a cafe and not feel bad because you "wimped out".


    Lots of aircraft have crashed because pilots were intent on getting to their destination -
    this is so common there's a name for it. It is called "get-home-itis". Better to arrive late
    and alive than die hurrying to arrive. This is of course obvious, yet intelligent people
    still die in airplanes and vehicles because they are impatient and want to "get home".


    Manhole covers are slippery. It is known to most riders that the oil-soaked center
    portion of the lane which is often found at intersections makes that part of the road
    best avoided, especially in the wet.


    If it has not rained in a while the road can be a LOT more slippery when the
    rain first begins than it will be if it has rained for days on end.


    It is worth practicing braking in the rain so you have an idea of how your bike
    reacts if you need to stop quickly. This is best done in a deserted parking lot or
    other area where you won't need to be concerned about other vehicles. If your
    bike has ABS it will behave differently from a bike without ABS, but in any case
    it's worth taking the time to familiarize yourself with how your bike behaves in a
    wet stopping situation. Some track instruction if there is a wet "skid pad" available
    could be time and money well spent.


    .
    #9
  10. dan0

    dan0 just going with it.

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    No big threat, just take it easy. I encountered rain my first time within a month of starting to ride. I was a little freaked out but just took things slow and never had any sort of problem.

    [​IMG]
    #10
  11. Hurricane Bob

    Hurricane Bob formerly: Bomber1965

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Yf9ufRWS-YQ" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #11
  12. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

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    Slow down.

    All good advice above.

    Don't be afraid to pull over. If it's really bad, be prepared to be blinded by assholes driving too fast in both directions and sending up walls of water.

    I drove through a downpour a few weeks back and the drainage for miles was overwhelmed. Apart from the other vehicles, my biggest concern was what might be hiding under the 18" of water on the road. An unexpected rock or pothole can really ruin your day.
    #12
  13. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Manhole covers are sometimes forced up and out of position by water, the front wheel finding that hole would not be a good time.
    #13
  14. Treedguy

    Treedguy Long timer

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    Getting caught out like in the video above, is when it is the most slippery. It's just water. Don't try to rush out of it.

    Good tires. Watch the paint. Watch the sewer covers. Toll booths are like ice sometimes.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AwFTvRVZY8

    NBD.
    #14
  15. FJracer

    FJracer Adventurer

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    43 yrs. of street riding here. There are a lot of variables to your question including tire tread and compound, speed and road conditions. But IN GENERAL, I've found most tires to be more adhesive than the average Rider is willing to test.But it only takes a little oil, soap or grit in one spot to have that little surprise.
    Your ability to see the road, and particularly on Interstate, other Drivers ability to see you, is diminished. And braking adhesion is diminished at speed.
    Examples of things done in the past; up to 100 mph(but mostly 80-90) on I-40W in pouring rain on a loaded FJR, weaving in and out of left-laners. Never spun once, but visibility was a big issue. Heavy Rain!
    75 mph on a curvy wet 2-lane posted for 50 mph. It was not raining. And I was on a Valkyrie Tourer. My Wing has done similar speeds on wet roads. And several instances with various SportBikes in steady rain where I could roll 70 mph in straight-aways and back down to 60-65 in curves. AND I've slipped and slid at every little turn or braking with near bald tires. Will I push those limits ever again? Doubtful!
    But if you do enough riding(of any distance) sooner than later you'll roll thru some rain. OR you can be one those guys that tell me "I never ride in rain!" Bike-owners! NOT Riders!
    #15
  16. duck

    duck Banned

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    If it hasn't rained in a while then the first 15-30 minutes can be extremely slippery as the film of oil that's collected on the road since the last rain comes to the surface before it runs off. If it hasn't rained in a while then it's a good idea not to ride for the next 30 minutes.

    Aside from that, and depending upon your tires, you have a lot of traction available in the rain. Not as much as on dry but more than you think.

    At least on my bikes, hydroplaning won't occur until I get up into higher speeds (like 65+) because bikes have relatively skinny rounded tires as opposed to car tires that have a flat wide surface.

    If it's raining relatively hard and/or there's lots of water on the road then you can lose all visibility passing semis on Interstates in the adjacent lane, especially at night. I refer to it as "spray and pray.":lol3

    I agree that it's best to take it easy when riding in the wet.
    #16
  17. Fishenough

    Fishenough Team Lurker

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    Love comment in the video clip 'maybe I should put my liner on', on boats and bikes everybody I think does that. (if your thinking about, you should be doing it.........but we don't)

    Tend to avoid highways and major routes if I can, and the less traveled a paved road is, the more likely it will offer less traction in the rain. Learn to read a road and what type of debris with be washing across, or have washed acrossed, or accumulated; where one road can be like ice wet due to clay, moss, dead leaves, etc, another road can be rinsed clean by the rain and offer fantastic traction.

    Also scan the condition of 4 wheelers windows around you, humid conditions can cause some very poor visibility. Assume any cage with fogged windows can not see you at all.

    Or just have a nap well the worst of the rain passes,

    [​IMG]
    #17
  18. Craneguy

    Craneguy British Hooligan

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    I rode over an open manhole here a while back. I was following too close and it magically appeared from under the car in front. 65mph and I braced for the end of the world. I barely felt it and just skipped over! I think it would have been very different on a moped!

    I think my stars were aligned. It could have had a very different outcome.
    #18
  19. c3eh

    c3eh Adventurer

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    No I will definitely not hesitate to ride in the rain one problem I don't have proper gear yet. I also don't like the idea of my bike just sitting in rain without a cover. But thats coming from a picky person well picky about my stuff I own. Guess I will get over it

    I'm trying to plan a cross country trip for the summer so obviously I'll meet rain eventually

    This was an informal what do experienced people think. and I appreciate all the responses they are all good so far :clap

    The commentary that guy was doing in the video that was posted was pretty funny
    #19
  20. gmk999

    gmk999 ____ as a Rotax

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    Go Easy watch for hazards that the rain can amplify.. Good examples in the previous posts I would add steel bridges get wicked slick as do those black RR Xings.
    #20