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Tips for safe bicycling in the winter

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2021 | Bicycle Accidents

Even under ideal weather circumstances, cycling through a heavily populated area can be a dangerous proposition. From distracted or impaired drivers to congested road conditions, bicycle riders face serious collisions at nearly every turn. Since they have little to protect them from harm, cyclists typically suffer catastrophic injuries no matter the type of crash.

New Yorkers know that winter weather conditions can turn on a dime. People might start their day in clear, sunny conditions and then fight their way home in a snowstorm. Unfortunately, those who rely on bicycles as their means of transportation are dramatically impacted by the suddenly changing weather.

Here are some tips that could keep cyclists safe as they enter the teeth of the winter months:

  • Be visible: Not only must riders deal with dramatically shortened daylight hours, but weather conditions can reduce visibility. From falling snow to heavy wind blowing rain, sleet or hail many safety experts encourage riders to wear bright, reflective clothing to stay visible to the drivers around them.
  • Avoid distractions: While it might be commonplace to listen to music, follow a podcast or maintain a wireless conversation while riding, these activities can prevent a cyclist from identifying danger and avoiding serious harm.
  • Try new tires: Many cyclists find that bigger tires perform better in winter weather conditions. From studded tires to “fat” tires, these can better overcome slick spots, ice, slush or thick snow along the path.
  • Dress warm: While it might not always seem the most fashionable choice, cyclists must choose warmth over style. From boots and gloves to heavy clothing and headgear, riders can prevent numbness and stave off the freezing conditions by dressing in layers. This can help reaction times and help riders stay focused on the road. Worrying about the temperature as numbness begins to set in can represent a serious cognitive distraction.

Bicyclists can suffer devastating injuries in a crash. From broken bones and head trauma to spinal cord damage and torn ligaments, these injuries can have a lifelong impact. While riding during the winter months might be a necessity, it is crucial that people take steps to stay safe and avoid collisions when the weather turns bad.

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