How to Stay Safe and Warm During Your Winter Bike Commute
January 13, 2016 | Personal Injury
Total traffic fatalities went on the decline from 2013 to 2014 in New York City, with the only group seeing a rise in deaths being cyclists. In 2013 there were 12 cyclist fatalities, versus 20 in 2014, according to data released by the Department of Transportation. 2014 also saw almost 4,000 cyclists get injured. While riding in the city, and on any street with cars for that matter, can be dangerous, for those who continue to ride during the fall, winter, and early spring, the risk of being hit by an automobile increases. The roads are more slick with rain, snow, ice, and road debris during the cold months, and less daylight decreases the visibility of riders, especially if they do not own a high-powered set of front and rear lights. Follow these steps to not only increase your safety, but also stay as warm and comfortable as possible during the winter months.
Equip Your Bike with Front and Rear Lights
The brighter the lights, the better. Choose a helmet-mounted option for the front flashing light (white) and a flashing rear (red) that mounts onto you seatpost. It does not hurt to have multiple lights on the front and back, as well as rim lights for your wheels. If you are riding in dark areas, having one high beam on the front as well as a flashing front will not only help you see, but the flashing light will help drivers see you. Flashing lights are far more visible by catching the eye than a steady beam.
Use Fenders to Keep as Dry as Possible
Full front and rear fenders are best, though even a strap on rear fender to the seatpost is better than nothing. Fenders help keep you, your feet, and your backside dry in wet weather. They also help keep your bike cleaner, which makes everything work better.
Purchase a New Set of Tires
If you have been riding around on an old set of tires all summer, now is the time to change them. Choose a somewhat pricier option, as the more traction and puncture resistance you have, the better. If you are on a road bike, choose a 25 to 28 millimeter-wide set. Avoid the thinner tires as they do not offer as much comfort or traction in the wet.
For Longer Rides and Commutes Wear Riding Specific Clothes
Whether you ride in spandex or not, having a designated set of riding clothes for longer, colder, wet rides, and keeping your street clothes in a backpack to change into at work, will save you a lot of trouble. A waterproof, breathable jacket, quality gloves, shoe covers, and a set of thermal tights will do wonders. When you get to your destination, strip them off and put on your dry set of clothes. Of course, do not forget your helmet.
Outfit Your Bag, Helmet, and Bike With Reflective Tape
Head to your local bike shop for one side sticky, one side reflective tape that can be attached to your bag, bike, helmet, jacket, cycling shoes, and wherever else you can think of. Every bit of visibility helps.
We realize that no matter how many precautions you take, you are still prone to serious injury every time you throw a leg over your saddle. Drivers can be impatient, aggressive, and of course all too consumed with cell phones. In fact, Automotive Fleet found that 40% of all motor vehicle collisions involved cell phones. Furthermore, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving and texting is six times more dangerous than driving drunk. If you have been injured by a careless, reckless driver while riding your bike, give one of our New York cycling accident attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC a call for legal advice at 212-397-1000.
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