Cycle safely in the winter with our tips
Winter is coming. With the nights drawing in and icy roads, you need to be extra careful when you’re out and about on your bike. Stay safe with our top tips for winter cycling.
1. Take well-lit roads.
2. Use LED lights that stay on when your bike is stationary.
3. Check your bike lights regularly and replace them and their batteries in good time.
4. Carry a spare set of LED bike lights in case your lights fail unexpectedly.
5. Wear high-visibility colours like yellow, orange or white (dark clothing is visible from 20 metres, whereas high-vis clothing can be seen from 50 or even 120 metres off if your outfit has reflective strips).
6. Stand at the traffic light in front of the cars to have a better view.
- Plan your route with the VAB cycle route planner to stay on the safest roads with separate cycle lanes or sufficient distance between traffic and your bike.
- Wait for other road users to yield right of way instead of taking it.
- Don’t carry passengers on your bike in the ice and snow, especially young children.
- Be careful wearing headphones or earphones and make sure that you’re still fully aware of your surroundings and potential traffic dangers.
- Always wear a cycling helmet. Along with broken bones and legs, brain injury ranks high as a classic cycle accident injury and its chances are massively reduced if you wear a helmet.
- Ring your bike bell in time when you want to pass other road users. Pedestrians won’t be taken unawares when you pass them, and that makes for more safety for all. The approach of a high-speed bike is often swift and silent and it can come as a surprise to other drivers, thus posing a potential danger.
- Keep your distance.
- Look far enough ahead while cycling and anticipate any potential hazards. More than half of cycling accidents only involve the cyclist themselves, typically because they misjudge or don't see an obstacle, slippery patch or pothole in time. Wet drain covers, kerbs, road markings, tram tracks or falling leaves can all be dangerously slippery, even in mild temperatures.
- Cycle at an appropriate speed.
Keep both hands on the handlebars for maximum control of your bike. In cold weather, it's best to wear gloves that give you a good grip on your handlebars and that also ensure you don'tlose feeling and strength in your fingers.
- Leave your phone in your pocket so you have both hands to steer, brake and dodge obstacles.
1. Inflate your tyres a little less than usual to increase your grip on the road.
2. Don't cycle in too high or too low a gear to avoid slipping.
3. Set your saddle slightly lower so that you can put your feet on the ground, allowing you to keep your balance.
4. Don't brake too hard and use both brakes.
5. Remember that you're allowed to use the road if the cycle path is in poor condition.
6. Grease your chain regularly so that it doesn't get damaged by salt on gritted roads.
Keep your e-bike’s battery in top shape
- Never charge your battery unnecessarily. If you only use a third of the battery every day, you don’t need to charge it on a daily basis.
- Don’t fully charge your battery. Charging up to about 90–95% extends the life of your battery.
- Never run your e-bike out of battery. If you do, make sure you recharge it as soon as possible.
- Don’t always cycle in turbo mode. The harder you use your e-bike, the faster the battery will discharge. The less pedal assist you use, the farther you’ll go.
- Charge your battery at room temperature and only reconnect it to your bike just before you start cycling again.
- Use an insulated battery jacket (available for certain types of battery) to cover and thermally protect your battery against extreme cold (or hot) temperatures.
- Always take your battery to a dry and warm place if you often park your bike outside for long periods of time. That also prevents theft.
- Don’t let your battery go completely flat and make sure you partially charge it to around 50% once a month.
- Store your battery at room temperature if you keep your bike in a cold place like your garden shed during the winter.
- Remove your bike’s display if possible to prevent frost damage.