In my opinion bicycle riding during the fall and winter is perhaps the most dangerous time for a cyclist. This is for several reasons.
- There is less day light – so many riders will find themselves riding in the dark for part or all of their riding.
- Motor vehicles are less likely to anticipate a cyclist being on the road.
- It is more likely to have road condition issues such as snow, ice, rain or windy conditions. This also interferes with the vision of the motor vehicle.
- Cyclist themselves maybe less alert to the dangers around them due to restricted vision (winter clothing/ fog) and restricted hearing (covered ears).
The good news is there are many things you can do to reduce the chances of being a victim of a bicycle accident. I will start with the most obvious, make yourself as visible as possible. Your first line of defense will be very powerful LED lights. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a front LED light of at least 400 lumens. This light should be used in the blinking mode during the daytime. If it is important for cars to have daylight running lights it is even more so for bicycles. Second, wear reflective clothing. Third, take a position in the lane that will allow a motor vehicle to see you. In other words, if you ride too close to the curb you may not be the natural line of sight for a motor vehicle.
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I strongly believe that if you take all the proper precautions, Riding during W dark. The days can’t be safe. In fact, I do much of my lowlight writing in the early mornings before the sun comes up and I truly feel that it is more safe during this time that the middle of the day. This is because I have two very important factors in my favor. One, there are very few cars on the road at 5 AM. Second, I am probably more visible with the brightness of my lights in the nighttime than the day. Here is also a great article about riding during the night with some great tips.
As always, Make sure you wear proper safety gear and if it is colder than 50° make sure you don’t ride has hard as you would if it was warmer!
Ride. Be Safe. Have Fun.
Andrew Kass – Bicycle Accident Lawyer – Enthusiast
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