Are you seeing double? Sweating profusely? Losing your balance? Feeling dizzy? Stop your motorbike and rush to a comfy place that will shield you from the scorching heat. These symptoms might be the early signs of a heat stroke.
Summer is officially here.
Being exposed to different elements, motorcycle riders need to adjust with the weather condition in order to prevent health problems that may lead to road accidents.
There are road mishaps that cannot be blamed solely on lack of rider discipline, poorly maintained bikes or road ruts. Accidents can also be traced to simple negligence to his or her state of health.
We have witnessed riders succumb to nausea triggered by extreme heat conditions, and this caused them go to the opposite lane and ram oncoming vehicles. There are other incidents involving riders who blacked out due to dehydration while crossing an intersection, and ended up being T-boned by an SUV. Heavy traffic makes the hot temperature an added burden for riders.
These unfortunate incidents can be avoided if riders accept the fact that the weather also matters in riding safety.
Riders, stay cool this summer. Consider these 10 helpful tips to beat the heat during your travels:
1) Hydrate yourself. As the temperature rises, the more our body needs water to cool down. Don’t deprive yourself of water when you’re riding. Severe dehydration can affect your vision, breathing and even reflexes. Some bike accessory shops offer water bottle holders so you can gulp down liquids while in transit.
2) Wear comfy clothing. Riding safety advocates would always promote the use of riding jackets when on the road even if it’s extremely hot outside. Dude, don’t worry because there’s a wide array of riding jackets available in the market—including mesh-type jackets that allow air to flow into the rider’s body. For short distance runs, just wear sleeves to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
3) Bring extra shirts. Yes, the word ‘shirt’ is in plural form. Riders sweat a lot when caught by the noon and afternoon heat. Aside from the possibility of catching pneumonia, riders who refuse to change wet shirts face the risk of developing skin allergies. Shirts made of 'dry fit' clothing material are highly recommended.
4) Protect your eyes. If your visors are not tinted and your helmet is not blessed with a second, retractable tinted visor, try wearing sunglasses with your helmet. But instead of using sunglasses with metal frame, we suggest those with plastic frames. The latter has lesser chance of injury to the rider’s face in the event of a crash.
5) Schedule your trips. Avoid going out when the sun’s heat is at its worst. That’s usually starting from 10am to 3pm. Try to finish your errands in the early hours of the morning and resume in the cooler times in the afternoon.
6) Limit your load. Avoid using backpacks because it may only cause heat to build up at the back of your body and your underarms.
7) Enjoy the wind. If you think your ride will be confined within city roads and you have no plans of entering expressways or main roads for high-speed runs, just wear an open face helmet.
8) Escape the heat. If the bike's exhaust system is mounted in the middle section, there's no escape from the heat it's producing. When at a standstill, pull over and turn off the engine to cool down. For big bikes, not pulling over may also lead to the engine overheating.
9) Freshen up. This is not about vanity. It's about survival out there in the open. So don’t hesitate to use facial mist spray.
10) Go for a handy fan. Have you seen riders being (figuratively) blown away by a small rechargeable fan placed securely around their necks? I've tried using this China-made product on city rides and it's proven safe and handy. It gave me a soothing feeling when fresh air started to blow into my helmet.
Don't be scared of the sun. You just have to ride with it.