How To Cycle Safely In Bad Weather
Cycling through the winter, whether it be a commute to work, a stress relieving blast after work or a leisurely club run inevitably calls for a greater deal of concentration and preparation than in the sunnier months. Don’t let that put you off though; keeping the pedals moving in the winter months can provide the best platform for the warmer seasons ahead.
A study by the YMCA has revealed what every cyclist knows already: that exercise makes you happier, people with a physically active lifestyle having a wellbeing score that is 32 per cent higher than those with inactive lifestyles.
Conditions on our roads and cycle-ways are very different in the winter months, so it is worthwhile pointing out the obvious:
Assume that other road users (including other cyclists) are idiots
The person behind you will almost certainly assume you are travelling in a straight line. Keep a look out for potholes that may catch the bike wheel and force you further into the road. Take extra precautions at junctions and turnings etc where people pull out, might cut you up or turn in front of you. Look out for people stepping off kerbs.
Always be aware that other road users and pedestrians may not be able to see you in bad weather or darkness.
Reflective clothing used to be green, shapeless and unaerodynamic. You don’t have to indulge your inner shopaholic to purge the shelves of Rapha and Castelli when supermarkets like Lidl and Aldi sell quality cycling gear that is reflective, waterproof, fitted and reasonably priced.
By law, bikes must have lights attached when visibility is poor, not just in darkness. A white light should be fixed to the front of the bike and a red one to the rear. Many companies now produce super bright lights that give other road users no excuse to say “Sorry, I didn’t see you!”.
Prepare for your ride
Making sure your bike is in good condition is always important before any ride, but more so if you are setting out in bad weather. Always check your tyres and brakes before setting out and carry a puncture repair kit as bad weather can mean more debris on the roads. Having your bike professionally serviced at a cycle shop is a good idea, especially if you are out in bad weather on a regular basis. If you do want to service your bike yourself, ROSPA have a fantastic check-list to make sure your bike is well maintained and as safe as possible.
Respect the weather
In the winter months, you are more likely to encounter wet and icy conditions. Having wider tyres with more tread will give more grip and make riding in bad weather safer. Monitor and reduce your speed as stopping distances will increase substantially.
Warm and appropriate clothing is essential, layers are best with an outer jacket with taped seams that make them truly weatherproof. Cycling gloves and over shoes keep the extremities toasty
By doing something as simple as wearing a well-fitting, correctly worn cycle helmet, the chances of suffering a serious head injury are reduced. As the *Headway awareness campaign says “Cycle Helmets – Don’t Hit The Road Without One! Use your head, wear a helmet”.
If you, or someone you love is in the unfortunate position of having been affected by a cycling accident, you’ll want to choose a solicitor that has a commitment to obtaining the best financial settlement but also to the best support, treatment and rehabilitation to get you back in the saddle again as soon as possible
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*Tollers Solicitors are listed in the Headway 2017 guide as trusted Personal Injury Solicitors