Biking is great year-round exercise. This time of year, however, it’s important to take extra precautions whether you’re a causal rider or bike to work. For bike commuters, the Employee Transportation Program website provides tips and resources for current and new riders. County employees may qualify for a monthly incentive to commute by bike. In addition, many worksites have bike racks, lockers and showers available, so be sure to check out the site to help with your planning.
Keep rolling into winter on your bicycle with these tips to stay safe and comfortable.
- Clothing with reflectors are necessary for fall and winter riding. Some clothing comes with reflective options, or you can buy reflective tape or lights to add to your gear.
- Washington state law requires a white front light and red rear reflector for night riding. For additional visibility, consider attaching lighting, such as blinking reflector lights, to your wheel spokes.
- DO NOT ASSUME other travelers can see you, whether or not there is a bike lane. Be clear with your turn communications and adjust speed when maneuvering through traffic.
- Roads are unpredictable, so take your time, pre-plan your ride, and pay attention. Take wider turns and brake ahead of time on wet and sloppy roads. Dismount if there are areas that look too slippery or unstable.
- Don’t hesitate to take up the lane (where there is no designated bike lane) if the street is too narrow, or if there is snow or other debris on the shoulder.
- Make sure your bike is ready for winter riding. Touring tires with 32-42mm of thickness or regular mountain bike tires work well in slick, wet and icy surfaces. Many riders invest in winter tires with heavier traction.
- Bike fenders can help prevent your clothes from getting wet. Also consider packing spare clothing when you’re riding in the rain.
- Keep your bike in a covered outdoor or unheated space to prevent condensation on your bike’s frames and cables.
- Shop for a good pair of gloves or mittens and a scarf to help with wind chill on exposed skin. Many cyclists also invest in sunglasses and head caps or bands to wear beneath the helmet to keep ears warm while riding.