November 11, 2020
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government have encouraged cycling as a safer alternative to public transport. The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, has also suggested that the number of people cycling has increased by up to 200% following the national lockdown! Cycling is great for both our physical and mental health, so it really is a great option in these testing times.
However, as the clocks have gone back and the nights draw in, it is important to ensure that you (and your bike!) are winter-ready. Recently, our Personal Injury team have seen an increase in cycling accidents so here are a few tips that we wanted to share to help you stay safe and be seen;
Make sure you have lights fitted to both the front and the back of your bike. Carry out a winter test now and incorporate regular checks into your normal routine. Make sure light batteries are charged and the bulbs are working as they should.
Did you know that it is a legal requirement to have reflectors and lights on your bike if you’re cycling in the dark?
As well as making sure your clothing is warm and waterproof during the winter, it is also a good idea to make sure that you’re wearing reflective clothing. A high viz jacket or similar will help to make sure you’re seen by other road users and help to keep you safe. There are also other accessories which can help you stand out, such as sashes and ankle bands.
One of my favourite parts of winter is the cold, crisp, frozen mornings. However, these can present dangers for cyclists. Be aware that the quieter roads and lanes which may be a safe haven during the spring and summer are less likely to be gritted during the winter, meaning ice and snow are likely to accumulate during a cold spell.
Also, beware of new or larger potholes after a cold spell. Icy conditions and snow have a huge impact on the quality of our roads. Don’t get caught out, stay alert even when you’re cycling in an area you know well.
Make sure you have your bike regularly serviced and check your tyres regularly. Make sure your tyres have plenty of grip and no signs of wear. Check your brakes regularly to ensure they stop you safely in both wet and dry weather.
Also remember that salty water from gritted roads can be particularly harsh on your bike so regular cleaning is a must.
The highway code also recommends wearing a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened.
Sarah Riley LLB (Hons); BPTC and LLM Student – Paralegal in Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence Department