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Focus on visibility for safely biking in the colder months

Photo of Christopher Seleski

Maybe you’re a cycling enthusiast who enjoys participating in races. That can lead you to want to train for cycling in every season to maintain your peak fitness level and performance ability. Perhaps you work as a bike messenger or delivery person. You will still need to generate income regardless of how bad the weather becomes.

No matter what your reason is for biking during the colder months, there is no question that there are more safety concerns to address. Winter roads are often slick and slippery, which can lead to an increased risk for collisions. Beyond that, the lower levels of sunlight and shorter days during the winter months can also contribute to visibility issues and increased collision risk.

If you have to be out on your bike in New York after winter sets in, you should do everything in your power to keep yourself safe. One of the best decisions you can make is to prioritize your visibility to other people on the road.

Even in the best conditions, drivers fail to notice bikes

People in motor vehicles consistently fail to properly monitor their surroundings. All too often, after someone in the motor vehicle causes a crash, they blame the fact that they didn’t notice the other vehicle, pedestrian or cyclist.

Although that claim may simply be a way to mitigate their own responsibility for the collision, it is worth bearing in mind as you plan for winter rides. Anything you can do to make yourself more visible, especially in situations where snow is coming down or visibility is low, can reduce your risk of getting hurt or even killed because of your passion for your job.

Some of the best visibility options may include bright neon clothing, the use of reflectors, and installing lights on your helmet and your bicycle. You should also adhere to the rules of the road so that your actions are predictable. Visibility tools are useful year-round, but they are especially important in the winter months, when drivers are less likely to even check for cyclists due to weather conditions.

Injured cyclists have rights after drivers cause crashes

Even if you don’t have visibility-related accessories on your clothing or your bike, that does not absolve someone in a motor vehicle of the responsibility they incur by crashing into you. Simply claiming that they did not see you will not reduce their legal responsibility to you either.

When someone’s negligence — which not noticing a cyclist arguably is — hurts someone else, the injured party has the legal right to take action. In the wake of a crash caused by a driver, the injured cyclist has the right to pursue damages, including lost wages, medical bills and property damage.

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