After warmer weather and what many hoped would be the start of spring, winter has started to bite once again.
With freezing temperatures and snow and icy conditions comes an increased emphasis on the need to stay safe while out and about; that's particularly relevant to the cyclists amongst us.
Like many others I'm keen not to let the long winter detract from my hobby and stop me from my efforts to keep fit. So long as sensible measures are taken, cycling needn’t be reserved for bright sunny days or fairer weather.
Me and my serious injury colleagues deal with a multitude of cases in which a cyclist has sustained injury because of a road traffic accident. Below, I've gathered a few thoughts as to some of the steps that cyclists can take, particularly in colder conditions, to stay safe while on the roads.
Having the right equipment
It's always important to wear a helmet when cycling, no matter the weather. In winter I switch the usual black helmet for a bright hi-vis number with reflective strips to make sure it can be seen.
It doesn’t stop with the helmet. Darker nights see me don a hi-vis jacket as well. Not only does this make me easier for other road users to spot, but it also helps keep me warm while out on the bike. I'm also an advocate of a comfy snood.
Add in my Irwin Mitchell brand hi-vis bands which fit securely round my ankles and I’m certainly there to be seen.
It's vitally important to have sufficient lighting too both front and rear. Not only does this help a rider be seen by other road users, but it’s important in low light levels that we can see where we are going and spot any approaching hazards.
Taking extra care
As well as having the right equipment, common sense needs to prevail. It's inadvisable to head out on the bike in icy conditions, particularly if unseen black ice could be lurking on the streets.
If cycling around town it's important to make sure to take extra care around tram tracks. These can become very slippery in wet conditions. Similarly watch out for wet leaves which can be a nuisance.
Not all pedestrians will be dressed quite as visibly as the road savvy cyclist. It's important to keep to sensible speeds and look out for pedestrians particularly in areas where cyclist and pedestrians share pathways.
There's no need to let winter get in the way of a good bike ride. So long as a cyclist dresses appropriately and takes care while out on the bike, the hobby can be enjoyed all year round.
Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in helping people injured on the roads access specialist treatment and rehabilitation at our dedicated serious injury section.