Bicycle enthusiasts abound in Portland, and for good reason. The environmental impact of riding a bike is low while the physical and emotional benefits are high, and the Portland area offers an abundance of bike trails and paths that make traveling on two wheels safe, fast, and convenient. While some bicyclists restrict their riding to more temperate times of year, others would not dream of missing out on the benefits of riding simply on account of weather. If you are a winter cyclist in Portland, it is important to be aware of the potential risks the weather can pose in terms of your safety. Winter weather conditions can mean an increased risk of bicycling accidents. Check out our winter cycling safety tips to keep your ride secure during the long winter months that lie ahead.
Gear Up for Winter Cycling
The weather in Portland is notoriously unpredictable, and during the winters months especially bicyclists need to be prepared for whatever Mother Nature dishes out. Wind, rain, snow, and ice all present special challenges as well as potential dangers to cyclists, and the first step in ensuring a safe and comfortable ride is to start with the appropriate gear. Portland State University encourages cyclists to be prepared for winter weather by doing the following before heading out:
- Protect your hands: Wearing warm, waterproof gloves while riding will protect your hands from cold and potential frostbite during freezing temperatures. While insulated winter gloves may feel bulky, they could actually increase safety by preventing your hands from going numb while steering.
- Get foot protection: Waterproof boots and booties that slip over your shoes will keep your feet dry and warm during your ride, and can be easily slipped off once you reach your destination.
- Protect your head: In wintry weather, a bicycle helmet alone will not keep your head warm. Invest in a toasty wool hat to wear under your helmet or get a helmet cover to slip over it. Either way, your head will be protected from cold drafts that can slip through your helmet vents.
- Keep moisture off your body: The only thing worse than being cold is being damp and cold. Freezing moisture on your body is not only comfortable but dangerous as well, and can result in hypothermia. Invest in a waterproof jacket and pants that are designed specifically for cyclists. They are less bulky than traditional winter or ski jackets, while still providing the warmth and protection you need.
Be Aware of Winter Cycling Hazards
Riding in winter weather requires taking a few extra precautions. Road conditions, visibility, and decreased daylight can all present very real safety hazards for riders. Be prepared for wintry conditions by following these cycling safety tips from the Portland Bureau of Transportation. For help regarding a bicycle or pedestrian accident, contact a Portland bicycle accident attorney at Johnston Law Firm, P.C..