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9 tips for safe winter cycling


With more people than ever now recognising cycling as a convenient, low-cost everyday transport, it will come as no surprise that national statistics from Transport Scotland show that pedal cycle traffic increased by 3% in 2016 to 352 million vehicle kilometres.

Some hardy cyclists even commute by bike or ride for recreation all year round, braving the dark days and often treacherous roads of winter. And while winter cycling has its rewards, it also comes with added risks. Slippery road surfaces, decreased visibility, dazzling low winter sun and the physical exertion of battling through prevailing weather conditions are all challenges to be aware of.

Winter equals greater hazards, but by being cautious and well-prepared you can stay safe while cycling all year round. Here are our tips to help you stay safe on the road.

 Winter cycling tips

  1. Always wear a helmet – an obvious one but even more pertinent in winter months.
  2. In low visibility, ensure you’re as visible as possible by wearing fluorescent clothing and making sure your bike lights are always working.
  3. Icy days can bring dazzling sunshine, so wear sunglasses in daylight to prevent squinting.
  4. Plan your route carefully and try to stick to roads that have been gritted or which you know are free of ice.
  5. Anticipate situations before they happen - stopping distances may be greater on wet or icy roads. Be aware of places where it might normally be safe to nip ahead but might not be so now.
  6. Watch out for slippery manhole covers and road markings.
  7. If you do get stuck on ice, try to relax and ride it out.
  8. Remember that braking distances will always be longer. This is particularly true if you have v or cantilever rather than disc brakes, which are not as exposed to water.
  9. When applying your brakes try and do so evenly, putting 50% force through both the front and back brakes.

What to do if the worst happens

Unfortunately, sometimes situations are beyond your control, no matter how well you have followed all safety precautions. Here’s what to do if you’re involved in a cycling accident.

  • Make sure you are safe. Get to the side of the road if you can and away from any oncoming traffic.
  • If you are injured call the police and an ambulance.
  • Try to stay calm and reasonable. Nothing will be resolved by becoming aggressive or giving an errant driver a piece of your mind.
  • Take photos as soon as possible of the accident site, any injuries you have suffered and any damage to your bike or other possessions.
  • If you can, get details of witnesses to the accident.
  • If the accident has occurred with a car, take the driver’s contact and insurance details as well as the vehicle’s registration number.
  • Do not get into a discussion about whose fault the accident is.
  • If the accident has occurred because of a defect in the road try and take a photo of it straight away, preferably with an item in shot to give a size comparison. If you can, go back to the defect as soon as possible and take photos with a tape measure for greater accuracy.

It is an unfortunate fact that cyclists are far more vulnerable than the average road user. Cyclists have little protection against injury should they be involved in an accident. At Kerr Brown Solicitors, we understand that even the most minor accident can cause injury to a cyclist and damage to their property.

Our solicitors understand the serious nature of injuries arising from bicycle accidents and all the ways in which you should be compensated. We too are cyclists and have an insider’s perspective on helping you when accidents happen. If you have been injured in a cycling accident in the last three years you could claim compensation for any injuries you have suffered.

To find out more about how our specialist cycling accident solicitors can help, contact us today.  

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