When Is It Too Windy To Ride Your Motorcycle in Chicago?

Motorcyclist in Chicago

Even for skilled riders, windy motorcycle riding can be a challenge in Chicago. What is so challenging about motorcycle rides in windy weather? How can you keep safe during your windy bike ride? When is it better to put off riding? 

Why Windy Motorcycle Riding Is So Tricky

Motorcycle riding requires skill and caution in any conditions, whether riding in hot weather or braving the roads on a freezing winter’s day. However, windy riding can be extra tricky because sudden changes in airflow may throw you off balance and interfere with the control of your bike.

How much wind affects your ability to ride will depend on the following:

  • Your motorcycle model and size
  • Your weight
  • The direction of the wind (headwind, tailwind, or crosswind)
  • Other road conditions
  • Your experience with windy motorcycle riding

How Winds Influence You and Your Bike

Most bikers experience windy riding differently depending on the direction the wind is coming from:

  • A tailwind will propel you from behind, increase your speed, and may make it more difficult to stop. You may want to ride more slowly in a tailwind.
  • A headwind will come from the front. To counteract its effect, ride low and keep your arms and legs as close as possible to your body.
  • Crosswinds will come from the sides. You can keep your balance if you shift your weight slightly in the crosswind’s direction.

Precautions To Take When Riding on Chicagoland Windy Roads 

To make windy motorcycle riding safer and more enjoyable, take the following steps:

  • Ride with minimum baggage. Backpacks and saddlebags may catch strong winds and make it even more difficult to keep your balance, while loose items may blow away and endanger other motorists.
  • Wear proper gear, including functional windproof biker wear and protective goggles to keep windblown debris out of your eyes.
  • Keep to the middle of the lane. Wind gusts may blow you to the right or left, so try your best to stay in the middle of the lane. Maintain a constant speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles.
  • Consider a different route. Hilly areas and open roads will always be windier than valleys and hedged roads. If your direct route is too windy for safety, consider taking an alternative, more sheltered road.

When Windy Motorcycle Riding Is a Bad Idea

So, when does windy riding in Chicago cross the line from challenging to dangerous? It’s better to wait out high winds in a safe location if:

  • You’re riding a lightweight motorcycle, and the wind speed is more than 20 to 30 mph
  • You’re riding a heavier bike model, and the wind speed is over 50 mph
  • Your route crosses a region with high wind, hurricane, or tornado warnings
  • You feel you can’t maintain adequate control of your bike while riding in windy weather

To ensure severe weather conditions don’t catch you off guard, check the weather forecast before embarking on an extended ride.

Law Tigers: Protecting the Rights of Bikers in Chicago and Across the U.S.

Inclement weather, dangerous roads, and careless drivers may endanger motorcycle riders in Chicago. Even if you take every safety precaution for windy motorcycle riding, your ride may end in an accident. If this happens, you and your family will need assertive legal representation from a seasoned motorcycle accident lawyer. At Law Tigers, we have handled countless motorcycle accident cases in 30-plus years. Call us 24/7 at 1-888-863-7216 for a free case evaluation. No fee unless the case is won.