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Heading out in the winter? These tips can keep you safer

While not every accident can be prevented by riding your bicycle safely, you are the first line of defense against accidents. The winter can be cold and treacherous, but taking steps to keep yourself in good shape and your bike in good condition can help you avoid injuries. These are a few tips to help you stay safe while you ride, so you can lessen your chances of being involved in an accident.

Start by making sure you have the right gear. When it's snowing, wear gear designed for cold temperatures, spend a little more on the thickest pants and even consider heated gear. If you have to travel and get too cold, you could become fatigued and crash.

Make sure you wear high-visibility clothing to stand out. Winter nights are long, and it gets dark early. Always use lights on your bike, and consider having two on your bicycle at the very least. You can have lights that flash to make yourself stand out better.

Another thing you want to have on you is a medical kit and e-blanket. If you do get hit or are hurt, an e-blanket keeps you warm and prevents hypothermia. The medical kit has important gear that can help stem bleeding and splint broken bones.

Finally, remember that there are days when heading out on a bicycle might be too overwhelming. Sub-zero temperatures, heavy winds, cold rains or snow can make it hard to maneuver and wear you out faster. Take precautions and be aware of what you're getting yourself into to help prevent yourself from making mistakes on the roads.

There's no way to prevent every accident, and if a dangerous driver hits you, you have every right to want to be compensated. Taking these steps helps make sure you don't contribute to an accident occurring.

Source: Bike Portland, "Survive winter riding with these 30 pearls of wisdom," Jonathan Maus, Jan. 02, 2017

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