Bicycling in Winter? Follow These Safety Tips
Inclement weather creates dangerous conditions for winter bicycling, so riders must exercise caution and follow safety tips to prevent serious accidents and injuries.
Bicycle Safety Tips for Winter Weather
Bicyclists face an increased risk of injuries when cycling during cold weather. Icy roads and sidewalks, slush, road salts, and poor visibility contribute to many Chicago bicycle accidents during the winter season. Since bicycling in winter can be very dangerous, it should be avoided if possible. For cyclists who ride for transportation, exercise, or pure pleasure, following important bicycle winter safety tips is essential to prevent serious injuries.
With Chicago’s freezing winter temperatures, staying warm and visible is essential for winter cyclists.
- Proper clothing should include items made specifically for cycling with wicking materials that prevent moisture in cold weather. Heavy wool and fleece clothing can cause sweating and make a cyclist feel cold and wet. Wind-proof gloves will keep hands warm and agile.
- Visibility is very important during inclement weather with snow, sleet, and rain. Clothing should be made from brightly colored or reflective materials, so motorists can clearly see the cyclist in traffic.
- Eye protection during winter cycling can prevent eye injuries and collisions. Winter cyclists should wear clear or lightly tinted glasses to block glare, road spray, and debris. If cycling after dark, a headlamp and front, and rear reflectors are required by law.
Worn and slick tires are dangerous in any weather conditions, but they can be deadly on hazardous roads. Heavy tread and studded tires create better traction on sleet and ice, while larger tires reduce the risk of getting stuck in pavement cracks covered by snow. Tire punctures are common problems for winter cyclists. Carrying sealant tubes, cartridges, or a tire pump allows quick repairs to a tire, so a cyclist doesn’t get stranded in freezing temperatures.
Winter cyclists run increased risks of collisions. Riding at a slower speed will decrease falls in icy conditions and packed snow. When possible, it’s best to take roads that have been plowed or conditioned with rock salts and avoid routes with heavy snow. Winter cycling requires close attention to moving and parked cars, pedestrians, and outdoor surroundings.
Chicago bicycle accident lawyers see many cyclists who suffer facial lacerations, fractured hands and wrists, broken bones, and head trauma during winter weather. To prevent severe injuries, even death, winter cycling requires dedication to riding safety.