Every bike shop in NZ wants you to enjoy safer riding this winter. We’re no exception. As riders ourselves, we know conditions are challenging at this time of year, and when riding on dark and slippery city streets, those challenges are compounded. So, to help you ride through winter, here are a few safety tips. We’ll start with visibility as that could be a lifesaver.
By law, your bike is required to have the following lights/reflectors at all times: a red or yellow rear reflector visible from a distance of 100 metres when light shines on it. Plus, when cycling at night or in winter conditions when visibility is poor, you require at least one steady or flashing rear-facing red light that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres. As well as rear lights, you must have one or two white or yellow headlights that can be seen at night from a distance of 100 metres, as well as yellow reflectors on each pedal, and you must wear reflective material.
What you wear during winter is vitally important. Forget about looking good. Focus on being seen! That means bright coloured and reflective clothing, as well as reflective strips on any backpacks. In winter weather, it’s always wise to carry or wear a rain jacket, but you need to ensure it doesn’t get caught in the chain or other moving parts - we know of a lot of nasty accidents that have occurred when a jacket has brought a bike to a complete stop in this way. You might not have thought of wearing gloves while you cycle, but a good-quality pair will help you maintain sufficient handle grip in cold and wet conditions, while shoes with decent levels of grip will also help you stay in control in the wet.
It’s important to ride to the conditions in inclement weather. Keep your speed down in wet weather and don't ride in the gutter. Pump your brakes gently while going down hills to gradually reduce speed and assist braking in the wet. Try to avoid riding over wet leaves and puddles, as they may conceal broken glass or other hazards, and be very careful when riding over road markings and manhole covers as they can become treacherously slippery. And while winter conditions can be challenging for you, they’re also demanding on drivers so pay extra attention to what they’re doing.
Finally, one of the very best things you can do is to have us check your bike. We can look at everything, like tyres and brakes, chain and mudguards, and we’ll ensure your bike is ready for winter. If you’re in the Canterbury region, ook in your service by giving us a call.