Winters in Raleigh are never going to be mistaken for blustery Chicago or Boulder. That’s good news for those bike commuters and enthusiasts out there who like to ride year round. Unless you are in the mountains in the western part of the state, snow is rarely an issue, nor are frozen road surfaces.
According to the Department of Transportation, there were 18 biker fatalities in North Carolina and nearly 588 severe crashes. Suffice to say, there are several issues to contend with here on the Eastern Seaboard if you ride a bicycle year-round:
Even though it doesn’t often get nasty cold here, the sun still goes down early. Bikers would do well to wear clothes that are bright and/or reflective and can be easily seen by motorists. If you don’t have them, front and rear lights allow you to see and be seen. Chose routes that at better lit or less traveled.
It still rains
We do not get the snow that our western and higher altitude neighbors get, but the rains hit here in the winter months. As with cars and other motorized vehicles, bike tires hydroplane on wet pavement, so slow down. Fenders aren’t a bad idea if you ride in what you plan to wear at work.
Cold weather gear
Rain is doable on a bike, particularly if you use rain gear where there is a water-proof outer shell with an inside layer of either fleece or other material that whisks moister away from skin. Cold weather gear will also make the ride much more pleasant — gloves, warm socks and even a skullcap under your helmet make a world of difference.
Biking in colder weather means that you don’t often feel overheated. You may forget to drink water, but don’t make that mistake. Exertion in cooler weather still means that you need to hydrate.
People don’t expect to see you
It’s winter and all bikers are not as crazy as you are. This means that there are fewer bikers on the road, which means that drivers of motorized vehicles may not expect to see you.
Wear a helmet
Do it. Get a good one.
No matter how cautious a biker (or motorist) is, accidents still happen. If you, your child or a friend get into an accident this winter, the first order of business is to seek medical help if necessary. If you have been hit and injured, it’s a good idea to talk to an attorney in the area of personal injury. Bike injuries by nature are often severe and can be debilitating, and of course there can be property damage as well. Insurance may not cover the extent of you injuries, gear replacement, nor the pain and anguish resulting from the accident. An attorney with experience in the area personal injury can be extremely helpful with compensation to help with your recovery.