Tips for bikers during rain (riding in water-logged streets)

Heavy rain lashed Mumbai yesterday and it is expected that heavy to very heavy rain is likely to continue in the region. A considerable population commutes to their workplace and to drop their family members at schools or colleges on their motorcycles. As of now, several parts of Mumbai are affected by water-logging. Monsoon is every mechanics’ favourite season as there are loads of – break downs, punctures, skidding, brake fails, tyre changes, oil change, etc etc. I drove to my office through the water logged streets and that’s when I decided to write an article on tips and precautions for bikers during heavy rainfall.

  1. Avoid riding on water-logged street with water levels above your exhaust. For small distances, it may be fine but its better to keep your bike out of water. As long as the engine is revving, the pressure of gases from the exhaust pipe prevents water from entering the engine but in case your bike splurts and the engine goes off, immediately get off the bike and start pushing it out of water.
  2. Do not try to crank the engine while the exhaust is submerged in water. Park the motorcycle on inclination and let the gravity work. Once some amount of water comes out, you may attempt to start the bike. In most cases, the bike should start immediately.
  3. However, if the bike has stayed in water for considerable duration, there are chances that the water has mixed with bike oil. In order to confirm, check the oil dip-stick. If its feel is whitish, shampoo-like, there is an immediate need to change the oil. Use of dirty oil can mess with the clutch system.
  4. In some motorcycles, the loose fuel tank cap/clogged drain pipes/cut gaskets allow room for rain water to seep into the fuel tank. Consequently, the fuel is mixed with water which will definitely upset you. So, it is better to ensure that the fuel tank cap is in good shape.
  5. Some bike enthusiasts install mushroom type open air filter for better acceleration. It is better to go for covered (fully cased) air filters during rainy season. Along with the air, it tends to suck in water too which is totally undesired. I had done this mistake and with short time durations, some water was accumulated in the engine. So make sure, your air filter is well-protected and clean for smooth air intake.
  6. Another thing that may bother you is – misfiring of spark plug due to moisture around the spark plug and wearing of electrode supporter. This can be easily fixed by cleaning the spark plug with petrol and putting it back in place.
  7. Rainy season is definitely not the right time to show off your bike’s speed. Ride slowly even if your bike is equipped with ABS. The ABS will prevent the seizing of wheels but oil spills, wet muddy roads and manholes/potholes are beyond the scope of ABS’s function.
  8. As per BS4 norms, the bikes manufactured aft January 2017 are equipped with AHO feature but for those owning bikes older than a year, always switch on the lights on your bike. Heavy rain can drastically reduce the visibility and hence we need to ensure that our vehicle is visible to other motorists.

One request to all the riders- Do not compromise on safety gear, especially during rains. A helmet with visor is a must for a clear vision. Poor vision can prove to be extremely fatal. I would suggest to put on a riding jacket (with armor) always for safety all times.

Better Safe, than Sorry……………

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