Bike Safety Tips for Riding in the Fall
The coronavirus pandemic has brought on so many changes to the ways people live their lives, including the ways people get around. During the initial lockdown periods that occurred during the spring, bicycling started to grow in popularity as people were looking for ways to get out of the house, get some exercise, or to get to and from work.
For people who had been relying on public transportation to get around before the pandemic, bicycling offered them a way to get around without spending time in an enclosed space with people they don’t know, whether it’s on a bus or in a car with a driver for Lyft or Uber. Even though peak bicycling season in Michigan typically starts slowing down in the fall months, the fact that many people are riding bikes out of necessity means bike season may last a bit longer than usual this year. But if you’ll be riding your bike throughout the fall months, there are some important things you can do to stay safe.
Increase Your Visibility
As we start heading into the fall, the amount of daylight we get each day drops significantly compared to the amount we get in the summer, even before daylight savings time officially ends. If you’ve been riding your bike to and from work, this might mean you might have less light during your commute and drivers can have a harder time seeing you on the road. Anything you can do to help you stand out is helpful, such as putting lights on your bike, wearing reflective clothing, and making sure you have reflectors on your bike.
Watch Out for Fallen Leaves
All those colorful leaves can be beautiful to look at, but once they land on the ground, they can be extremely slippery, particularly if it’s been raining. Even if the leaves look dry, keep in mind that the underside of the leaves could still be wet. There’s also a chance that leaves could be covering other hazards in the road, like potholes, uneven pavement, sticks, and manhole covers. If it’s not possible to ride around a pile of leaves, it’s best to keep your speed steady instead of accelerating. And if you need to make a turn that takes you over some leaves in the road, try to avoid braking during your turn and keep your posture upright.
Be Careful of Slick Spots
Fall weather can be very unpredictable at times. Sometimes, it might still feel like summer, but other times, it can be cold enough for water on the ground to freeze. If you see any spots on the road that might look like a puddle, approach with caution because sometimes it can be hard to tell whether or not a spot on the road is wet or has frozen into ice. But in either case, there’s a chance riding over it could cause you to lose control of your bike.
No matter what time of year it is, bicyclists are at a disadvantage on the road. Not only are they less visible to drivers, they don’t have the safety features that occupants of cars have to protect them. Every year, far too many bicyclists end up being injured or killed by careless drivers. If you find yourself in that situation, don’t hesitate to contact a personal injury lawyer who can help answer your questions and make sure your case is handled appropriately. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to get help from a lawyer who has helped many accident victims just like you. Contact us today for help with your case.
Image: iStock / CasarasaGuru