3 Reasons To Be Cautious When Riding Over Bridges

Tip #197 from the pages of The Total Motorcycling Manual

Total Motorcycling Manual

There are three reasons motorcyclists need to be extra aware when riding over bridges: Wind, ice, and steel decking. Bridges pose a double wind hazard: they’re usually spanning some gap (river, canyon, valley) that’s probably a wind conduit. But worse, since the wind blows both under and over a bridge, it will likely be much worse than the normal roadbed where the wind is only blowing above. Adjust your speed and position yourself in the lane accordingly.

In cool weather a bridge (and some tunnels) will ice over much faster than a blacktop road. And ice will put a bike down sooner than just about anything else. Go slow, and keep your eyes open. If you do hit ice, just try to relax and don’t make any sudden control inputs. If it’s a small patch, you may be over it before the bike slides too much. But if the bike hooks up suddenly, get ready for a tankslapper.

Steel decking plates can be tremendously slippery, especially if they’re wet and/or oily. Try to ride in the clean area where car tires have cleaned off most of the surface—riding in the center of the lane where all the oil drips are is a huge mistake.