It's not uncommon anymore. Increasingly, more and more people ride their bicycles and commute during the winter months. You may think winter bicyclists are a bit crazy to be bundled up in layers and pedaling in sub-zero temperatures or when the streets are filled with heavy or slushy snow. But, to them, it's a lifestyle decision or even a matter of principle.
As a motorist you should be aware that commuters come in different varieties. A wintertime bicyclist deserves attention, too. You've got to share the road with them as more and more cities add bike lanes along well-traveled streets.
Make sure drivers see you
Perhaps out of curiosity or spunk, you consider ditching your car to join the flock of winter bicyclists. But before you convert, you must keep in mind a number of safety guidelines that just may save your life. Here are some of them:
- Make sure that car drivers see you. Wear bright clothing, including pants, coat, vest and helmet.
- Lights are crucial. Wintertime has less daylight, so you may find yourself riding more often after sunset. Have bright lights on the front and back of your bike. A headlamp on your helmet also may help. Drivers will be able to see you more easily.
- Look out for motorists. Many vehicle drivers are not aware of bicyclists even during the warm months. During winter, they are likely less aware. Be a defensive bicycle rider. Anticipate what a driver might do, especially during the age of distracted driving. And always make eye contact with drivers.
- Dress warmly and in layers. But you don't want to be too warm, which could build up a sweat. Keep your fingers and feet warm. Consider wearing warm, insulated boots and gloves, a face mask and ski goggles.
- Make sure your bicycle has fenders. They keep slushy snow off you and your bike.
- Lower tire pressure will allow you to have more stability when riding in the snow. And if it's traction you desire, consider investing in studded tires.
- Pack extra equipment and gear such as additional wool socks, gloves.
Whether you are a bicyclist commuting or out for a pleasure ride during winter, it's crucial to keep safety in mind. The experience may be cold, but fun, too. Just stay safe.