We’re well into winter now, and with the colder seasons come dark nights and difficult cycling conditions. If you’re not going to let the cold weather stop you, you’ll need to take extra care to stay safe while out on your bike! That’s why, at The Insurance Emporium, we’ve put together our tips for cycling safely in the dark and winter conditions!
Cycling in the dark
As a cyclist, one of the main things you’ll have to be wary of is the sunlight… Or the lack of it! Here are a few ways to stay safe in the dark.
This first one’s obvious, and a legal requirement for cycling between dusk and dawn. But it’s still important to mention to fit your bike with lights! You should have a red light on the back of your bike and a white light on the front to help you see better and help other road users see you better.
It’s always a good idea to have at least one spare set of lights with you at all times. You don’t want to be stuck in the dark with nothing to light your way! Be careful when using bright lights though, as you don’t want to dazzle oncoming drivers or cyclists! If you think your light might be too bright, it could be an idea to point it slightly towards the floor.
It’s also illegal to cycle in the dark without reflectors! You’ll need at least one rear reflector, one front reflector and four pedal reflectors. That’s one for the front and back of each pedal. These reflectors should increase your visibility to traffic while cycling in the dark.
High visibility, reflective clothing
Don’t just rely on your lights or reflectors on your bike! Although it’s not a legal requirement, some reflective clothing can offer full 360-degree reflectivity while you’re out and about on your bike. Reflective gloves can also be a good idea, and help other road users see your hand gestures at night time!
Be prepared for the weather
We all know how temperamental the British weather can be! Make sure to keep your hands, feet and head warm with a decent pair of gloves, socks, waterproof shoes and a hat. Speaking of waterproofs, quality waterproof clothing can go a long way in keeping you nice and dry on your winter rides!
It’s usually better to wear lots of thinner layers to keep warm, rather than one big coat. That way, if you start getting too hot, you can shed your layers to stay more comfortable.
Adapt to the conditions
Just because you’re braving the winter weather doesn’t mean you can ignore the cycling conditions. Always keep in mind that roads are more slippery when wet or, even worse, icy or snowy. Take a little more time, adjust your pace appropriately, and give yourself more room to brake. Try not to take corners quite as sharply either, and be aware of anything that could affect your traction like grit, or leaves on the ground!
Get your bike ready for winter
It’s all well and good getting yourself ready for winter, but you’ll need to make sure your bike is up to the task as well! We’ve already mentioned lights and reflectors, but mudguards can keep yourself and your bike clean, as well as help to keep from spraying any cyclists behind you!
One of the most important aspects of your bike are your tyres. A good set of winter tyres will have improved grip. And always keep a pump and puncture repair kit with you! You never know when it might come in handy.
Always wear a helmet
Another one that goes without saying, but it’s important to mention. You should always, always wear a helmet while cycling, but especially in winter when conditions can be more treacherous! If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but here’s another friendly reminder. Always wear your helmet!
We hope this blog can help you stay safe in the winter weather! If you’re an avid cyclist, you might want to think about taking out insurance for your bike. At The Insurance Emporium, our Cycle Insurance starts with cover for Theft, Accidental Loss or Damage. Then, you can customise your policy with our range of Optional Benefits, like cover for your Cycling Clothes! Pedal on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more about our Cycle Insurance and our award-winning customer service.
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