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3 tips for staying safe on your winter cycling commute

Staying safe when you ride a bike to work or school in the winter has to be a priority. Drivers may not expect to see someone cycling in chillier weather conditions, and rain, sleet and snow make it imperative that you take time to perform maintenance on your bicycle before you hit the streets.

Remember first that the roads will not be as good as they are in the summer when they're more likely to be dry. Wet pavement is slick and can cause your bicycle to slide. Consider using mountain-biking tires that have a wider tread during the winter to avoid sliding around. Additionally, if it has snowed, follow being the plow, since the driver is clearing a path.

Slow down when you first head out, so you can get an idea of the condition the road is in. During early morning hours, black ice could still be a concern, whereas in the afternoon, puddles might be your biggest challenge. Look out for damaged parts of the road; snow and ice cause the pavement to break down and create potholes.

Add lights to your bike and be prepared for drivers who don't expect to see you on the roads. Most people assume that cyclists only head out in the spring, summer and fall, even if the winter weather conditions are mild.

If you're hit and injured despite taking steps to protect yourself, know that you're not alone. Many cyclists are hit every year, even though they have a right to use the roads just like any other person using a vehicle. As a victim, you may be able to seek a claim against the driver's insurance company, or if there is no insurance coverage, the driver him or herself.

Source: Gear Junkie, "Winter Bike Commuting: 12 Ride-Safe Tips," accessed Dec. 14, 2016

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