Safety Tips for Winter Bicyclists
December 27, 2018
There is no reason to retire your bicycle until springtime just because the weather turns cold. If you love riding your bicycle in warmer temperatures, winter cycling can be equally enjoyable, as long as you follow these simple bike safety tips.
Dress for the Weather
The right clothing is essential for safe and comfortable winter riding. Layering is key. While you may gravitate toward thick fleece clothing in cold temperatures, these items can make you sweat during your ride, causing you to feel cold and clammy. Instead, choose clothing that is lightweight as well as windproof, thermal and waterproof.
Wear high quality winter/windproof gloves and water-resistant shoes with thermal socks.
Glasses or goggles will help keep spray and grit out of your eyes when riding on wet or slushy roads.
A waterproof jacket and thermal tights are good choices for winter riding.
Wear a hat, headband or scarf under your helmet for additional warmth.
Eat Right and Stay Hydrated
Winter riding takes energy. Remember to eat before you ride and bring plenty of snacks in case of unexpected stops.
While you may not feel thirsty, cycling in any weather causes fluid loss, so it’s important to stay hydrated. Bring plenty of water or drinks with electrolytes, such as Gatorade.
See and Be Seen
With shorter days and overcast daytime skies, visibility can be a challenge. Equipping your bike with front, side and rear lighting will allow you to see the road and ensure that motorists will see you coming and going.
Place one or more high-output, rechargeable lights on your front handlebars.
Side and rear safety lights will make you more visible at night and during the day.
Make sure your lights are charged before every ride, or bring extra batteries for non-rechargeable lights.
Maintain your Bike
While good bike maintenance is always important, there are certain things that require special attention during winter.
Inspect all moving parts, such as chain, gears, cables, hubs and bottom bracket. Keep the chain well-oiled. Check for wear on rims and brake blocks.
Wash your bike regularly to remove salt and grime that can damage parts or cause rust.
Lowering the saddle lowers your center of gravity and increases stability, which reduces the risk of skidding and makes it easier to manage icy patches.
Letting some air out of your tires provides a better grip on slippery roads.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Tires are more likely to puncture in winter weather. Make sure you have at least two tubes and a working pump. Check the pump before heading out if you haven’t used it recently.
Check the weather forecast and plan your route accordingly.
Make sure your phone is charged and take a charger with you if possible.
Bring money and/or a credit card in case of emergency.
If there is snow on the ground, keep a safe distance from the curb since snow can hide grates, road debris or other hazards.
“While following these bike safety tips will make winter bicycling more enjoyable and less hazardous, accidents can happen to the most careful cyclists,” said Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm.
Injury accident law is complicated, but finding the right attorney is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free, no-obligation consultation.