7 Safety Tips for Winter Bike Rides
- Slow Down when It’s Wet. Roads are slicker and wet rims reduce brake performance. Give yourself
extra time and distance to complete your stopping safely. When there’s rain or snow, drag your brakes slightly before you have to stop, to clear off excess water from the rims.
- Check Pads and Cables. Wet brakes wear faster. Worn pads mean metal on metal and that’s not good. Check your cables for smooth running. Sticky cables mean excess drag and loss of modulation and control. Learn to adjust your brakes or
bring it to your local bike shop.
- Use Metal Rims. Metal rims break better than carbon, so if you have your choice, and are not racing, choose metal. The cork brake pads used with carbon rims don’t cut it when wet.
- Waterproof Gear. Rain pants and jacket are best, but a travel poncho works in a pinch.
- Get a Light. Front and back. Rechargeables save on batteries. Ring types can hang from your backpack, good for walking too.
- Gloves & Helmet. Winter is the time to switch from open fingered bike cloves to warmer full gloves. Helmet liners and covers keep your head warm and dry.
- Ride Defensively. In 2015, twenty (20) bikers have been killed in Washington, DC in bicycle collisions, a new record. It’s better to be alive than right, and when bikes collide with cars, buses or trucks, the consequences can be tragic. Have fun, be healthy, and stay safe.
Paul Zukerberg is a partner in Zukerberg & Halperin, a DC personal injury law firm.