West Virginia Riding Tips
Donning a leather motorcycling jacket does not, in fact, make you indestructible. Common sense driving rules still apply when motorcycling, there are extra measures you should be taking in West Virginia, especially along scenic, winding mountain roads.
5 Often Overlooked Ways to Stay Safe Motorcycling in WV:
1. Know West Virginia’s Motorcycle Laws
When driving in West Virginia, make sure you have all of the necessary and required safety gear: eye protection, a helmet, and a working headlight (even in the daytime). You can’t carry a passenger unless your motorcycle is designed to carry another person, with a seat meant for two or an additional passenger car, and a footrest for the second rider.
2. Be on the Lookout for Wildlife
When riding through mountain areas, keep an eye out for animals. Deer often dash into the road, and stop in fear when headlights shine on them. They tend to travel in groups, so if you see one, be on guard and start braking; there are probably more nearby.
If a deer or other animal does dash into the road ahead of you, brake aggressively. DO NOT swerve at high speeds. That will make your bike more unstable, and you could lose control, or swerve right into oncoming traffic or another obstacle. Swerving might not even prevent the impact: deer are known to make a mad dash once you near them, and you can’t predict which way they’ll go.
3. Watch the Winds Our mountain roads are curvy. Seriously curvy. Think you get that? No. Curvier. Much curvier than you’re thinking.
If the road twists ahead of you and you can’t see around the corner, ease on the brakes. Sometimes what looks like a simple curve is actually a sharp turn that keeps on looping and looping around the mountain terrain. Be ready and don’t accelerate until you can see the road stretching back out ahead of you.
4. Look out for Coal Trucks
Mountain roads tend to be small to reduce the impact on the natural surroundings, which sometimes leaves barely enough room for two cars to pass. It might even get tight enough for only one vehicle.
On one-lane roads, remain extra cautious, because large coal trucks might be heading toward you, taking up most of the road. They’re bulkier than you, so stay out of their way, and anticipate that they might be coming around any of those curves we told you about.
5. Be Cautious of Gravel
Those large coal trucks can cause you trouble even if they’re not around. They leave gravel and debris on the road that make for a bumpy ride, so keep your eyes on what’s ahead of you.
Got it? You’re ready for a scenic and “Thrilling” ride in the “Hills” of southern West Virginia!