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Cycling on a cycle path through slushy snow

Cycling safely in winter

by Jonathan Kearney

During the current lockdown, the Government is encouraging us all to stay at home and only leave the house for very limited purposes.

One of those purposes is for one form of exercise per day, and for many people this means getting out on the bike.

Whether you’re cycling on your own or as a family, it’s important to stay safe and to avoid any collisions which may put unnecessary pressure on the emergency services and NHS.

Ensure you’re visible to others and maintain social distancing while you’re out on your bike.

Winter cycling

Extra precautions should be taken when cycling during the winter months. These include:

  • Keeping warm by wearing winter clothes. If you wear multiple layers you can always remove some if you become too warm.
  • Wearing weatherproof clothing. Waterproof clothing is important if you’re going to be exposed to the elements. Appropriate footwear is also important to ensure your feet don’t slip on the pedals.
  • Stay visible. This is crucial during the winter months.  Brightly coloured or fluorescent clothing shows up well in daylight when it is a nice clear day but in hours of darkness or in poor visibility you need to wear something reflective.  Keep lights on your bike. LED lights are the best option for a long battery life.
  • Maintain your bike. Pay particular to the chain, gears, brakes and wheel rims. Store your bike so it’s protected from the elements.
  • Check your tyres. Whatever the weather, you should always have a good set of tyres on your bike, but they’re particularly important during the cold winter months. A good set of tyres will go a long way to prevent unnecessary skidding and they will also lessen the likelihood of you having to fix a puncture in the sleet and rain.
  • Take it steady. Plan ahead so you can stick to dry surfaces where possible. Be extra cautious in icy conditions and wear a helmet for safety.

More information about cycling safely in Knowsley can be found here.