Winter safety tips from the cycling charity CTC

Icy roads are a problem for cyclists for obvious reasons.  Common sense would be to not go out on your bike if there is ice on the roads and find an alternative form of transport until the weather and road conditions improve.  For those who have no choice but to cycle to work the CTC has come up with some guidelines to help keep you safe on the roads.

The 6 winter guidelines are for drivers as well as cyclists which have been backed by the motoring organisation, the AA:

  • Get your tyres ready – apart from checking they are in good condition, let some air out so that the amount of rubber on the road is greater and therefore the grip is improved.
  • Cut your speed – common sense here!  By slowing down you are less likely to spin off on a bend and be able to spot debris and ice in the road and take evasive action.  Also if you are unfortunate enough to be dismounted then you are more likely to break your fall safely if going at a slower speed.
  • Cycle away from the curb  – be prominent on the road and position yourself so that traffic has to go around you carefully.  If you hug the gutter you are more likely to hit potholes, icy patches and debris.
  • Don’t panic – if you feel yourself hitting ice and starting to slide then react the same as you would with a car.  No sharp turns or sudden braking.  Try to go with the slide and cycle out of the ice when you get more grip on your tyres.  If the road surface looks really bad then walk it!
  • Be seen, be safe!  You may feel like a belisha beacon but at least you won’t become one of the many statistics on accident forms where drivers say that a cyclist came out of nowhere.  A few reflective strips on your bike, hat and lycra is not enough in the day or night.  Your lights should be clean, bright and always on.
  • Keep warm!  Again it’s an obvious one but consider the wind chill factor before going out, the potential for sudden showers, snow etc.  If you allow yourself to get cold head, hands, fingers or feet then you will not be in full control of your bike and then not as responsive to dangers.  Remember to have a mobile, water and another warm layer with you just in case you get a flat, are dismounted or get stranded somewhere and need to wait for assistance.  

 AA President Edmund King said: 

“All road users need to ensure they get into a winter mindset during that first hour of the day. People need to appreciate that potentially they will not stop in the same sort of distances they normally would.

“This cold snap comes fast on the heels of heavy rain. Puddles have now frozen over and cyclists face a minefield of icy patches, especially at the side of the road where so much water has accumulated because drains have been unable to cope. Drivers need to bear that in mind and give cyclists a wider berth when overtaking.

Clear winter days are a glorious time to cycle but some precautions can be needed, not just for cyclists but for all road users.”

Paul Tuohy, CTC CEO

“The low winter sun can also be a particular problem at this time of year, especially as it is at its most dazzling at the end of the morning commute and the beginning of the evening rush hour from 4-5pm, when the roads are at their busiest.

“We would advise drivers to get up at least 10 minutes early to give time to prepare the car. Don’t drive off like a tank-commander, with a tiny hole cleared in the windscreen. Clear all windows using a scraper and de-icer to ensure good all-round vision.”

If you have been involved in a cycle accident, in the last three years, that wasn’t your fault then our team of cycle accident compensation solicitors can give you free and expert advice to establish whether you have a viable cycle accident claim.  Call Cycleassist now on 01625 506 672 or complete our simple enquiry form.