For some bicycling enthusiasts, the sport is a summer pastime. For others, it’s a way of life and a mode of transportation to and from work. To adjust to the changing of the seasons in Maryland, some bicyclists switch to winter gear and keep on biking. Before you head out in the cold for the first time, prepare with our list of safety tips and tricks.
Why Bicycle in Winter?
In urban areas, a bicycle can move you from point A to point B more quickly than an enclosed vehicle. With free parking, this environmentally friendly transportation option offers the same benefits year round. Plus, you can use the time outdoors to beat the winter blues and combine exercise with mobility. When approached in the right way, winter riding offers cycling enthusiasts many attractive benefits.
Top 10 Tips for Winter Bicycle Safety
Avoid frozen toes, slippery tires, and injurious wipeouts with these tips:
- Find the right tires. Traditional road tires may make you feel unsteady on icy roadways, and could leave you vulnerable to bicycle accidents. Consider studded tires for traction and wider “fat” tires for stability and handling. In the absence of snow and freezing rain, regular tires work year round.
- Conduct a test. Before you head out on a longer ride, give your winter setup a 10-to-15-minute test ride. Take note of the experience from the way the bicycle handles to where you feel cold.
- Dress in layers. Consider materials that suit your needs as a bicyclist. Dress first with a sweat-wicking layer, second with warm insulation, and third with water and wind protection.
- Protect your head. Wear form fitting hats or a balaclava under your helmet to stay warm. A coat hood will only catch the wind and make you colder. If you wear a scarf, tuck the ends inside your jacket to prevent it from flying up or off. Consider wearing ski goggles on bitterly cold days.
- Conceal extremities. Look for waterproof boots tall enough to protect your feet and calves from slush and flexible enough to allow for movement on the bicycle. Wear warm, thick socks. In severely cold weather, wear two layers of gloves. Mittens keep fingers together for improved warmth. Move fingers and toes when they become cold to maintain circulation.
- Use caution on slippery surfaces. Like driving a car, applying the brakes along a slippery stretch can cause trouble. Go slow and gently apply the rear brake as needed. Try not to stiffen up in winter weather conditions. Doing so may increase the likelihood of overcorrection and injury.
- Watch out for drivers. Vehicle drivers may not expect or notice winter bicyclists. Stay alert and make eye contact when possible. Always use hand signals to inform drivers of your movements, as this will help avoid car accidents.
- Prepare for nighttime riding. An early sunset leaves many winter bicyclists riding in the dark. Consider swapping traditional bike reflectors for light-emitting alternatives to improve visibility. Be sure to wear reflective clothing for enhanced discernibility.
- Develop a plan “B”. On extremely cold days and in inclement weather, you may not want to ride your bicycle back home. Research public forms of transportation that accommodate bicycles or keep a friend or family member on speed dial.
- Enjoy the rush. After you warm up, a winter ride may serve as a peaceful and exhilarating way to exercise or commute to the office. While other outdoor enthusiasts hibernate through the colder months, take advantage of the quiet riding hours and your ability to ride confidently in any weather.
In Maryland, the coldest months of the year dip below freezing on a daily basis. Before you head out on the wintery roadways, familiarize yourself with winter riding tips. Over time, you’ll discover the techniques and tips that enrich your winter riding experience. Defensive driving and the right gear reduces the likelihood of accidents and injuries.
Seek Council from a Seasoned Baltimore Bicycle Accident Attorney
If you get injured from a bike accident in Maryland due to someone else’s negligence, you could be entitled to some compensation! Contact the Baltimore personal injury lawyer team at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice today for a free consultation! 410-844-5333