Cycling in the Winter: Dealing with Gravel, Grit, Puddles and Ice
Our Bicycle Accident Lawyers Provide Valuable Cycling Advice
Bicycling in winter can be challenging due to near or sub-zero temperature, snow, ice, fog, mud and puddles. The road are often slippery and wet and sometimes covered with fog. To make matters worse, rainwater often washes up gravel, flints, broken glasses, and grit and grime to the surface of the road. But it doesn’t mean that you should take a complete break from riding in winter. If you are well prepared, riding in winter can actually be fun.
Here are six useful tips by experienced bicycle accident lawyers on how to deal with gravel, grit, puddles and ice in winter.
- Winterproof your bicycle
Winter means snow, ice, rain and slippery roads. If you are going to continue riding in winter, then get your bicycle ready. Wash it to remove dirt, grime and mud. Check the brakes, chain, drivetrain and lights to make sure that they are working properly. Make sure that the tires are inflated to the right pressure. If possible, replace the tires with studded tires or tires fitted with winter treads. Make sure the chain is lubricated at all times. If your bicycle doesn’t have mudguards, then have it fitted with mudguards. If any components are rusted, worn out or damaged, then replace them with new ones.
- Look out for gravel and grit
Riding at high speed on gravel and grit is dangerous. You can easily lose your stability and fall. They can also cause damages to the tires and drivetrain. Therefore, always look out for gravel and grit. When you come across large patches, avoid them. If you cannot avoid a patch, then reduce your speed, hold the bars firmly and pedal steadily. Since gravel and grit are usually deposited on the side of the road, make it a habit to ride about 5 feet away from the curb. After riding on a gravelly road, wash your bicycle to remove the gravel and grit.
- Avoid riding over puddles
Puddles often hide potholes, rocks and other obstacles. When you come across one, ride around it instead of over it. If there is no way you can avoid it, then slow down, hold the bars firmly and pedal steadily. Keep to the shallower side of the puddle and do not remove your feet from the pedals. If you come across a pothole hidden inside a puddle, then get off the bike and push it away from the puddle. Always be careful when riding over a puddle.
- Be extra careful on slippery roads
Rain, snow and ice often make the roads wet and slippery in winter. A lot of accidents occur on slippery roads, so you should be extra careful when riding on a slippery road. If you come across a patch that is too slippery, get off the bike and push it until the wet patch ends. Better still, consider making your bike slip-proof by replacing the tires with winter tires. Such tires have a water shredding tread pattern or are made of materials that provide more grip. They are also wider and cover a larger surface area, thus creating more friction.
- Keep your speed in check
When you come across a puddle, patch of ice or another obstacle when going at high speed, you need to be able to brake within seconds. But wet weather can slow down your bicycle’s braking speed. As a result, you may not be able to stop your bike in time to avoid a collision, even if the brakes were working perfectly when you started. So adjust your speed according to the condition of the road, making sure that you will have enough time brake when you need to.
- Stick to roads with higher traffic
Roads with high traffic tend to be dry even on very cold days because the tires of motor vehicles warm the road and melt the ice. As much as your route allows, stick to roads with higher traffic on very cold days. Also, avoid riding under overhanging trees as they prevent ice from melting.
Despite every precaution, you can never completely rule out an accident when cycling in winter. If you are involved in an accident with a motor vehicle and injured, then call the reputable bicycle accident lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm immediately to find out whether you have a valid injury claim.
Our lawyers have decades of experience in providing excellent results in these areas of practice.