October 11th, 2016
Whatever type of cyclist you are, a road runner, commuter, weekend wanderer etc, the change in the weather is going to have an impact on how and when you ride your bike. The colder weather brings risks such as deteriorating road surfaces with fallen leaves, ice and grit making them slippery and unpredictable. The reduced daylight hours means that for, commuters and after work cyclists, the visibility is poor which also carries risk not just in terms of ability to see potholes and obstructions up ahead but also for drivers and other road users to see them.
The cooler temperatures can be a safety issue as response times are slowed when extremities get cold and strong rain and winds can challenge the balance of even the most experienced rider. But despite all this the experience of cycling on a crisp Autumnal day can be exhilarating which is why many choose to continue to cycle, whatever the weather. We have put together some safety tips to help reduce the risk of accident:
Clean and pristine
Your bicycle should be looked after and have its brakes and gears checked to ensure they are working properly. A quick MOT at your local bike shop is money well spent to make sure your bike is in tip top shape for the winter.
Check your tyres
As well as your brakes which can save your life, your tyres can also make the difference if you have to suddenly manoeuvre. Some cyclists change tyres in the winter to ones with better road grip and more puncture resistant. The extra debris on the roads does increase the chance of getting a puncture.
Clean and seen
We have said this loads of times before but I don’t think it hurts to say it again. Clean your bikes reflectors, front and back lights and also look at investing in some of the latest gadgets out there that make it almost impossible for drivers to say they didn’t see you. Put fresh batteries in your lights and flash like a belisha beacon if you have to but stand out at dawn, dusk and at night so that drivers see you in plenty of time before they pull out or turn into a junction.
Check your safety gear
If you choose to wear a helmet, then check it is still in decent condition and replace if it’s been damaged. Clothing should be warm, waterproof and ideally high visibility, there are loads of affordable cycling accessories out there including gloves, hats to go inside helmets, socks and wind resistant outer clothing.
You can do all of these things above but one of the most important things you can do is to modify your cycling to the weather and road conditions and in some extreme situations, consider whether the ride is worth the risk. There are those cyclists that believe it should be up to the 4 wheel drivers to modify their driving habits towards cyclists but this will take time and, until there is a better understanding between road users, it is prudent to be more cautious when roads are wet or icy, visibility is poor and weather is cold or windy. The risk of accident increases in these situations so choose your route wisely, choose when the safest time is to cycle and slow down.
If you have been involved in a road traffic accident or know someone who has then call us now on 01625 506 672 for an informal chat with one of our specialist cycle accident solicitors.
We are experts in accidents involving cyclists and can talk you through your potential compensation claim.