You’ve probably noticed it already: Jack Frost is rubbing his hands together in gleeful preparation for his favourite season. That means darker days, glove weather, shimmering fairy lights in the streets and that unmistakable smell of stove during winterwonderwalks. And… for all our cycling commuters, the approach of winter means more bike rides before sunrise or after sunset.
And of course, cycling during those early winter hours also has its charm. The crunch of fallen leaves under your tires, those white puffs of breath showing you the way and glowing red cheeks on arrival… nothing as stimulating as a winter bike ride! And to make sure this ride is as safe as the next one, we’re sharing some convenient tips and advice. Here’s how to make sure you enjoy a safe commute, all season long!
1. Let your bike shine
Step one: be as visible as possible. You can stand out in two ways: actively and passively.
The most obvious, and active, way to increase your visibility on the road is to buy high quality bicycle lights. Make sure to check out the lumen value of your lights. This is the amount of light your lamp produces: the higher this value, the more visible you will be. The lux value represents the lighting intensity. For example, the lux value is often higher for a bundled beam of light – and lower for a wide beam of light. Or, in other words, the higher the lux value, the more you will see.
Check beforehand that all your lights are working properly, both in the front and in the back. Not convinced of the quality of your bike lights? Then opt for a set of additional detachable lights with flashing mode for increased visibility. Commuters who ride a race bike to work, can use detachable lights that work with magnets in the wheel. And for those who like it a little extra, there are also bike lights that project your driving track onto the ground. Whichever option you choose, the message remains: ‘the more obvious, the better’.
2. Put yourself in the spotlight
A second, more passive, way to stand out is to wear reflective clothing. Without a fluorescent jacket, people will notice you from a distance of 20 metres. With reflective clothing, you’ll be visible from 150 metres away. Quite the difference, isn’t it?
Next to this, make sure your bike has enough reflective elements. A front and rear reflector is mandatory, but did you know you can also use spoke reflectors on your bike? During the day they are subtly attached to the spokes, but at night they add an extra touch of sparkle to your bike. Affordable, remarkable and original! The same goes for saddlebags and backpacks: with fluorescent stickers and trendy covers, you ensure yourself of even more visibility – and thus safety – on that daily route.
4. Use your common sense
The shortest route is not always the safest. And your speed record? You don’t necessarily need to hit that in the dark and rain. Rather opt for proper bike paths that are well lit and avoid dark alleys and poorly maintained routes.
Not only the choice of your route, but also how you behave on the road has an impact on your safety. Therefore, be extra attentive in traffic and anticipate the behaviour of others. For example, since a bicycle doesn’t have turn signals, you should put out your arm when you want to take a turn.
Finally, probably one of the most discussed traffic topics of the moment: the use of the cell phone while cycling. The chances of that one text message, Facebook post or Instagram story being more important than your safety are minimal. Just tag us when you arrive at your destination 😉 @o2o.be.
Want to know more about accessories through bike leasing?
We’ve just given you lots of inspiration for riding safely in winter. But did you know you can also order a lot of these accessories through your o2o bicycle lease? This way you can enjoy the complete package – and you don’t have to look for a third party to offer you that cool luminous helmet or spoke reflectors. Want to know more about how we can help you from A to Z? Don’t hesitate to contact us – and we’ll make it happen!