Cycling always carries risks, but during the winter months the dangers become even greater. The roads are wet and slippery, visibility is poor and other road users may not be able to see you. That is why you need to take extra care when cycling at this time of year.
If you are taking to the roads on your bike this winter, here are some top tips to help you stay safe:
1. Stay visible
During winter the hours of daylight are considerably shorter. As such, it is likely that you will be cycling during the dark, especially if you cycle to work. Therefore the best thing you can do is to stay visible. Fit your bike with lights, put reflective strips on your pedals and wheels and wear brightly coloured clothing.
Understandably you will want to pedal as fast as possible to get out the cold and the wet. But remember, your brakes are less effective in the wet, meaning it will take you longer to slow down or come to a halt. Hard breaking also increases the risk of skidding. So, control your speed and brake gently.
3.Avoid slippery sections
Following on from this, you should be aware that the rain reduces your grip on the roads. This makes slippery sections of the road all the more perilous. Where possible, take care to avoid things such as puddles and potholes. Also, approach corners with caution. If you want more grip, drop your tire pressure or change to wider tires.
Both drivers and pedestrians will have reduced visibility when it is dark outside. Pedestrians in particular may have their hoods or umbrellas up, meaning they are less aware of their surroundings. Because you cannot rely on their ability to see you, do not be afraid to speak up instead. Shout, use your bell – do whatever it takes so that they can hear you coming.
5.Remain extra vigilant
You always need to be vigilant as a cyclist, particularly so in winter. You cannot take any chances that a vehicle will see you, yield or brake in time. It is always best to stick to bike lanes where possible, but if you are on the roads, do not risk anything. Stop at intersections and make certain that a vehicle has seen you. Signal well in advance and look over your shoulder before turning. Also, slow down if you see a vehicle emerging from a parking lot, driveway or side road into your path.
Cycling accidents Vancouver
If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a cycling accident, you need to know what options are available to you. Cycling accidents are rarely the fault of the cyclist. In fact, police data shows that the majority of cyclist injuries and fatalities in B.C. between 2011 to 2015 were caused by two things – driver distraction and the failure to yield.
If you have been injured because another road user acted negligently, you could be entitled to pursue a claim against those at fault. Our personal injury lawyers can explain more.
Contact us now
To speak to a personal injury lawyer in Vancouver, please do not hesitate to contact us now at North Shore Law LLP.