Can You Ride Your Bike In The Winter Safely?

January 22, 2024
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If you’re among the hearty ones who has a desire to get on their bicycle and ride it in the winter months you need to make sure you are doing it safely and minimizing your risk of getting into a New Haven bicycle accident. While bicycle accidents can happen during any season of the year, they can be especially more likely in the winter months for a variety of reasons.

There are the usual suspects of safety steps you should take when you go riding your bike in any season, like making sure you wear a helmet so you can protect yourself from experiencing a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in the event that you were to fall off your bike. In any conditions you will want to make sure your equipment is properly tuned up so you don’t have an equipment malfunction that leads to a crash and a potentially serious injury. These safety steps are needed in all conditions, even on the warmest, sunniest days of the summer.

There are however some considerations that you need to account for if you’re planning on riding in the “off” months of bicycle riding. The time between December and March when the weather gets brisk and the roads get slick could be a particularly dangerous season for you to be on two wheels. That’s not to say that there isn’t a way for you to remain safe while riding in the winter, it’s just to say that you need to take extra precautions and pay particularly close attention to the weather conditions so you don’t get into any serious issues when riding during the winter.

The first thing you should be aware of is the temperature. Temperatures in southern Connecticut don’t often fall below freezing in the winter, but they do sometimes. This year, for instance, we are experiencing lower than normal average temperatures and that is making everything more difficult to do, especially for those of us that are outdoor enthusiasts. Bicycle riding in below freezing temperatures can be particularly dangerous because you’re fingers and toes can become numb from the temperatures and if you can’t feel your fingers and toes you’re going to have a hard time controlling your bicycle. You can combat this by not riding in temperatures that are below freezing, which is your safest bet. If you’re going to brave the chill, you will want to get gloves that will insulate your hands and even potentially use hand and feet warmers to keep extremities from becoming numb.

The next weather condition that could affect your ride in the winter months of course is precipitation. Snow and ice can make the roads extremely slippery and put you in a situation where you will lose control of your bicycle and get into an accident. It is best to avoid a ride if it is snowing or there is ice on the ground. While there are certain things you can do to protect yourself from an accident in these conditions like change your tires to snow tires and make sure they are inflated properly, it really is a dangerous endeavor to set out in these types of conditions.

The last winter weather condition that you should be concerned about if you are heading out on your bicycle in extreme temperatures is wind. Wind can not only decrease the temperature (you may have heard of wind chill) by a significant amount, it can also be quite strong to the point where you are pushed off your path and are not able to control your bicycle. There is not a lot you can do to preemptively avoid the wind if you’re planning on riding in it, so you will need to be extra cautious while on your bicycle. If the wind picks up considerably while you’re riding, especially along the shoreline, you may want to pull off somewhere, head inside to warm up and wait for the wind to pass.

When the sun is shining brightly it can be tempting to get out on your bike and go for a ride, even when the temperatures are low, but keep in mind that during the winter months weather conditions can change unexpectedly and you could get caught in a situation that might leave you stranded or lead to a New Haven bicycle accident. If you’re planning on riding in the winter, we encourage you to take all of the appropriate safety precautions that you will need to avoid serious injury if an accident were to happen.