The rainy season is upon us, and with the weather comes bad habits that riders have practiced for years. Among them is the dangerous habit of seeking refuge under an overpass or bridge in the rain.
You’ll see them during rainstorms; huddled masses of riders waiting out the rain. Oftentimes, they would stop as they please, hogging a lane, sometimes two, depending on the number of riders and the volume of water falling from the heavens.
Riders do this to avoid getting wet, or to take the time to put on their rain gear, which is normally in their backpacks or storage boxes. This practice tends to be extremely dangerous, not just to the riders, but also to other road users.
Not only does stopping on the highway block the flow of traffic, but given how rain can reduce visibility already, the last thing you want to see is a car barreling toward you at full speed just because he did not expect to see someone parked in the middle of the road.
Here are some tips for rain-riding that can reduce the need of parking in the middle of EDSA just to put on your rain gear.
1) Live like a Boy Scout.
Preparation is the better part of valor. As you leave your house, if you notice that the heavens might be ready to unleash hell, it may be a good idea to wear your riding gear already. Sure, it might be a bit hotter than just your regular riding jacket (assuming you have regular gear), but wearing your gear and sweating it out a bit is a small price to pay to prevent panic from setting in once you start feeling the first drops pitter-pattering on your helmet visor. Speaking of your visor…
2) Use anti-fog solutions.
Make sure that your helmet visor has a good anti-fog coating. This may be done either by getting a pin-lock visor insert (that some helmets have as a standard feature), or by spraying a cheap anti-fog coating on your lens. Nothing is worse than driving through the rain and having to deal with a visor fogging up, making it even harder to see fellow riders on the road who have yet to read this article.
3) Ride with your headlights on.
Not only does this mean that you can better see the road, but when the rain starts pouring harder, it also means that other road users can see you better, too. There’s a reason they are called foglights.
4) Remember that you don’t own the road.
Discretion is better than valor. Sometimes the rain can just be so bad that the conditions exceed your riding skill. The best solution is just to swallow your pride and stop riding for a bit to let the rain subside.
Moral lesson: The key here is that when you stop, whatever you do, don’t do it in the middle of the highway. Instead, find a cozy burger joint, gas station or driveway of some sort—anything but stopping in the middle of EDSA or C5. This would not just keep you safer, but also make it so that car drivers would hate us riders less.
Guys, don’t let the situation dictate your actions. Use your common sense when there’s a downpour.
Remember the golden rule: Don't panic!