Using a bicycle to get around or to commute to work has become more and more popular in recent years. With people moving back into urban environments, there has been a surge in public and alternative forms of transportation.
The winter months, however, make it much more difficult to get around on two wheels. The cold temperatures can make it difficult to ride a bike anywhere, at anytime. During the commuting time in the early morning and late afternoon, however, the crisp temperatures can be absolutely miserable. Even worse, the ice, snow, and the state of the roads can make biking in the winter dangerous.
If you are going to stick with biking through the winter, here are some important tips to make sure you stay safe until it gets warmer.
- Be Visible. Many drivers do not expect bikers to be on the roads when the weather is not good. During the winter, it become extra important to remain as visible as possible. Wear bright clothing, reflective tape, and both front and rear lights to make sure drivers know you are there.
- Lean Back. When the roads underneath your wheels are slick with snow and ice, stability is crucial. The best way to maximize your biking stability is by putting your weight over your back wheel, which is less likely to slide out from underneath you. Even if your back wheel starts to slide, it results in a fish tail which, while still dangerous, is more manageable than a front wheel that suddenly goes sideways.
- Be Alert. It goes without saying that you should be alert while biking. But in wintry conditions it becomes even more important. Note the new road conditions, like how well the roads are plowed and whether puddles might be sheets of black ice, as well as the usual ones, like potholes. In addition, you need to pay even more attention to cars, understanding that drivers might not be in control of where they are going for short periods of time.
- Know Your Other Options. If the weather is bad, you should familiarize yourself with other routes to your destination before heading out on your bike. The main road that you usually take might be a disaster, with unplowed bike lanes, icy pavement, and cars flying by at 40 mph. An unplowed but empty side street might be a safer option. If road conditions are especially dangerous, there is no loss of pride in stopping and taking the bus, instead. Knowing which bus routes will get you to your destination, and when and where you can pick them up, are good things to know before setting out on your bike.
If you or a loved one gets into an accident while biking the roads in the winter, call the experienced injury attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian for a free consultation to determine who was at fault and how you can get compensated for your injuries.