Winter Weather and Bike Riding SafetyBicycling as a means of transportation in Washington continues to be promoted at both the state and local levels of government. The League of American Bicyclists has consistently named WA the most “bicycle friendly” state in the US. The Washington State Bicycle Facility and Pedestrian Walkway Plans were designed to improve connections, increase coordination, and lessen traffic congestion. The quantifiable results that they seek include an annual 5% reduction in collisions and to double the amount of people participating in biking and walking within 20 years. In Seattle, there are an estimated 158,000 bicyclists. The city believes this improves health through exercise, reduces traffic, pollution and fuel consumption, all while helping the local economy, particularly in the retail sector.
Winter brings with it some safety concerns for bicyclists due to the increased presence of rain, ice and snow, along with the reduction in daylight that diminishes visibility. There are a variety of best practices to remember for these winter months:
- Dress so that you do not feel too warm before bicycling, as you will quickly warm up once you begin riding.
- Wear multiple layers of clothing, which allows you easily adjust to variations in the temperature.
- The base layer of clothing should be thin and “breathable” to allow moisture from perspiration to pass through and keep your skin dry.
- The second layer should be well insulated and cotton material should be avoided, as it insulates poorly when wet.
- Your exterior layer should have properties that are wind and water resistant, ideally loose fitting for some ventilation.
- If commuting to work, consider keeping separate footwear there to change into from the weatherproof shoes for riding.
- Have a thin hat or other head cover available when needed, particularly to keep your ears warm.
- Clothing should be brightly colored and reflective so others on the road can more easily see you.
- Use both hands to brake when slowing or stopping for stability amid possible wet or icy surface conditions.
WA Bicycle Laws
Remember that bicycles are subject to rules while operating on the roadways similarly to other vehicles. Although state law does not require helmet usage, many local jurisdictions do. These include: King County, Lynnwood, Lakewood, Puyallup, Renton, Tacoma and several other localities. Did you know that those in violation of traffic laws can be issued a ticket? Exercise greater caution when riding after dark. A white light positioned on the front of the bicycle and red rear reflector is also required.
Have you or a loved one been seriously injured in a Seattle bicycle accident resulting from the recklessness or negligence of a driver? The law allows for injury victims to seek financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other types of harm you have incurred. The personal injury team at Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S. has been successfully protecting the rights of those injured in the greater Seattle region for many years. Contact the office today at (888) 228-3860 for a personal consultation.