Winter Cycling Safety Made Simple For Riders in Ottawa
Winter is finally here. While many Canadians take this as a sign to pack away their bikes for the season, there are plenty of people, especially in Ottawa, who decide to tough it out and continue to cycle straight through the winter season. Winter cycling is growing in popularity and many people rely on cycling as their main means of transportation during the winter. Safe winter cycling isn’t as easy as it sounds, and those who choose to cycle in the winter must plan for a long list of winter weather conditions.
Safe winter cycling takes extra care and caution, and with the right preparation, can be an effective way of commuting around the Ottawa area. For those who embrace winter cycling in Ottawa, Kanata, Hull, and Gatineau, use these tips to ensure you remain protected throughout the winter months.
Winter Cycling Safety 101: What Every Rider Should Know
Both seasoned and new winter cyclists can use these tips as a reminder on how to safely cycle this winter. Snow, sleet, ice, and rain pose significant challenges for riders, so plan to dress for the weather and prepare your bike for the harsh winter elements.
- Check your equipment before you ride. Salt on roads can promote the development of rust on your bicycle, so perform regular maintenance as required.
- Stick to routes you are familiar with and are regularly traveled by other winter cyclers.
- Dress for the weather and consider wearing multiple layers. You may get warm while winter cycling, but your head and hands can get especially cold. Bring along a warm pair of gloves and a hat to ensure you are comfortable.
- Prepare a small safety kit to bring along with you that includes:
- A multi-tool kit for your bicycle.
- A first-aid kit.
- A small towel.
- Extra bike lubricant.
- A small bike pump.
- A cellular device.
- After each time you ride in the winter ensure you wipe down your bike with a towel.
- Bike chains are especially prone to rust in winter weather, so regularly clean and lubricate them to protect them from the elements.
- Consider lowering your bicycle’s tire pressure to help with traction during winter weather.
- Install full fenders on bicycles to help to prevent snow or slush from splashing up while riding.
Winter Cycling Conditions: Cycling in Snow, Slush, and Ice
Keep in mind that different road conditions can impact your riding experience. Heavy and compacted snow can be extremely slippery to ride through and conceal issues like potholes or other debris. Dry snow that has freshly fallen isn’t as problematic but still requires caution as it can pose a slipping hazard for cyclists.
If you do find yourself cycling on ice, stay as straight as possible and refrain from any sudden changes in direction. When riding through slush, water, or a combination of ice and snow, reduce your speed as much as possible until you can transition into a clear path. Consider your riding conditions before you head out, and research more into different tire options that can address each situation.
Winter Cycling Tires That Can Help Promote Safe Cycling
There are several different tires winter cyclists can purchase to improve traction and ensure their safety during the winter months. Thick-tread mountain bike tires offer greater traction and stability when cycling on compacted snow. Thinner tires often prove to be better suited for riding through slush, wet snow, or water. Studded tires can help riders cycle through especially icy winter conditions.
Winter Cycling Safety Tips For Cycling In The City of Ottawa
Mixing winter weather with city cycling is a recipe for disaster, as slippery roads and reduced visibility could result in a collision. Winter cyclists should use extra caution when sharing roads with motor vehicles in the city.
Use these tips to ensure that Ottawa roads are safe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.
- Leave extra space between other cyclists and vehicles. In winter weather cars cannot stop as quickly as usual, so prepare accordingly.
- Be especially careful of streetcar or train tracks as they can be extremely slippery during the winter months. When crossing train tracks, the safest option is to get off your bike and carry it across the tracks.
- Stick to main roads rather than side streets as they are plowed much more frequently.
- Consider adding additional lights and reflectors to your bicycle, while wearing reflective clothing to remain as visible as possible to cars.
Winter Cycling Accidents and What You Should Do Next
In the event you are a victim of a winter cycling accident, here is what you should do:
- Immediately call 9-1-1 to report your accident to the police.
- Record names and contact info of any witnesses of the accident.
- Write down your own recollection of the accident and photograph the scene if possible.
- Request the contact information of the first responders at the scene of the accident.
- Seek medical care if required, either by visiting a hospital or contacting your family doctor.
- Notify your insurance company as soon as possible.
- If you are unable to work due to injuries sustained from the cycling accident, inform your employer as soon as possible.
- Take notes of the interactions you have had with your insurance provider.
- Contact MG Law as soon as possible to help with your personal injury claim.
Winter Cycling Accident Claims Provided by MG Law
A serious winter cycling accident can harm your ability to work and change your life forever. Collisions with cars or other pedestrians can reduce your quality of life and have long-lasting consequences for you and your family.
Should you be hurt in a winter cycling accident in Ottawa or surrounding areas, contact the professionals at MG Law to ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours. Contact us directly regarding any personal injury claims related to winter cycling in Ontario and seek representation that is experienced in handling these types of claims.