Hurricanes and Your Motorcycle

key west irma, hurricane irma
The famous 90 miles to Cuba sign in Key West, Florida

Hurricane Irma is gone, leaving behind catastrophic damages throughout Florida and untold billions of dollars in damages to homes, businesses, cars, and motorcycles. But sooner or later, another hurricane may travel down its path, like Hurricane Maria, so what can you do to be prepared for the next one?

Well, after riding out more tropical storms and hurricanes than I care to admit, here are a few tips I learned along the way.

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  • If you have motorcycle insurance, you are good. Make sure to take photos of your motorcycle before the storm and after to show the motorcycle insurance company in case of damages. If you don’t have insurance, consider getting it. Cheap motorcycle insurance is readily available and motorcycle insurance quotes can be obtained quickly online.
  • Take photos of the title and insurance cards, too. Photos could be uploaded to the cloud in case your phone gets lost or damaged during the storm.
  • I was able to garage my motorcycles, although the inside of your home works just as well. We have all seen pictures on social media of a motorcycle parked next to the dining table. If possible, use a motorcycle lift to get your motorcycle off the ground in case of flooding.
  • If your motorcycle is inside your home, confirm through your homeowner’s insurance policy if damages are covered, especially if you are filing a claim for damages to your home. If unsure, consult with an insurance claims attorney.

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Parking Garages

  • I don’t like parking garages even though they are popular when it comes to hurricanes, but parking garages are prone to flooding. Even if you get to the second floor, then you have to worry about motorcycle theft, so personally, I tend to skip parking garages all together. I’d rather have my car or motorcycle damaged in front of my house than in a parking garage.

Storage

  • With summers in Florida being brutally hot, most of us call it a day and put our bikes away just like our neighbors to the north do when winter rolls around. But a storage facility is a cheap and easy solution and many offer short-term leases that are month-to-month.

Power

  • I just spent six miserable days without power thanks to Hurricane Irma, but if you have no power and use a battery tender, start up your motorcycle a few times to avoid having to spend money on a new battery. It is also a great way to kill some time and charge your cell phone.

Keys

  • If you have two sets of keys, make sure to put the spare somewhere safe in case you lose the first set.

Misc.

  • If your motorcycle needs to be outside during the storm, try to park on the side protected by a wall or your house.
  • I kept my motorcycle helmet, googles, and construction boots near me in case of an emergency. I’m glad I did, because I witnessed a tornado less than 300 feet from my home. Plenty of people have had to leave their home in the middle of the storm and flying debris could seriously injure you if not kill you. That is a good time to wear your helmet and googles.
  • I also used my motorcycle rain gear to go outside a few times before the storm hit. My pool kept filling up fast because of the heavy rains and so the rain gear kept my dry enough.

Finally, don’t be afraid to leave. Yes, we all have emotional attachments to our personal property and nothing is stronger than the connection between a biker and his motorcycle, but, don’t be afraid to leave it behind. Your motorcycle is never worth more than your life.

Be safe.

MC Atty