While often used to illustrate the determination of the U.S. Postal Service, the phrase that begins with, “[n]either snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night,” also aptly describes the resolve of many Connecticut bike riders who must routinely face adverse weather conditions. In fact, for some bicyclists, riding is a year-round endeavor, no matter the amount of snow or slush on the ground.
Therefore, with winter almost upon us, it is a good time for bikers to review various safety tips as they prepare for the unavoidable accumulation of snow and ice. After all, the streets can be especially treacherous since bicyclists not only have to deal with slippery roadways, but often out-of-control motorists as well.
Here are five tips that may be able to help you this winter as you ride the bike trails or commute to work:
- Look out for cars: In winter, motorists are less likely to expect bicyclists on the road, so make sure to always ride defensively and make eye contact with drivers.
- Bike lighting: Winter days are shorter, plain and simple. Therefore, you need to use reflective clothing and bike lights in order to ensure motorists see you when it gets dark or is simply cloudy.
- Layers are key: As any outdoor enthusiast will tell you, layering of clothing is the best way to stay warm and dry. Also, mittens often work better than gloves as they keep your fingers together and warm. Lastly, if you are commuting, you may even need to pack a change of work clothes.
- Headwear: Tight-fitting skull caps and winter hats often work best under your helmet. Hoodies are usually a bad idea as they simply inflate and act as a sail.
- Right tires are essential: While road crews work hard to keep roadways clear, icy conditions are still quite common in winter. In many cases, you may want to consider using a bike with different tires, such as fat bikes or bikes with studded tires.
However, it is important to remember that these are merely a few of the many tips you should follow as you attempt to avoid bike accidents this winter. You can never be too safe, especially when dealing with distracted or reckless drivers.