Winter cycling: how to stay safe [TIPS]

The nights are drawing in. The temperature’s dropping. Winter is truly on its way – and that can create danger for users of the roads around campus. Our resident campus cycling expert Orsolya Keri gave us five top tips for staying safe cycling in winter.

Make sure your bike is roadworthy

It can take longer to stop in poor weather, so your bike needs to be in optimal health. Get a set of mud guards and consider heavy duty or special winter tyres with a deeper tread to cope with slippery surfaces. Check and maintain your bike regularly – and if you’re not sure how, take it to a professional.

Winter or heavy duty tyres will improve grip on wet/slippery roads
Winter or heavy duty tyres will improve grip on wet/slippery roads

Wear high visibility clothing

Winter brings with it shorter days and less daylight, so it’s important to make yourself as visible as possible in the darkness. Start by wearing bright and reflective clothing that also keeps you warm – it’s not a legal requirement, but it’ll make you visible. Waterproof clothes and gloves aren’t a bad idea either – just make sure you can still switch gears and use the brakes easily.

Road Safety GB Operation Flashlight cycle safety
Be seen, be safe. (Road Safety GB)

Invest in a good set of lights

A good set of lights will help make you more visible to other road users in the darker nights of winter. White at the front, red at the back.

A good set of lights can increase visibility
A good set of lights can increase visibility

Be alert

This applies not just to cyclists, but also drivers and pedestrians: be alert for cars, pedestrians and other cyclists too. Remember that poor weather can be treacherous for other road users too – cars can take twice as long to stop when the roads are wet, and braking can be unpredictable in ice and snow.

If you’re unsure, don’t risk it

Being safe on the road is of paramount importance. If the weather’s treacherous and you think it’s unsafe to cycle, try public transport or lift sharing with a colleague, classmate or friend.

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