Bike to Work, Even In The Rain

This post is a part of the Bike Rights Austin campaign, sponsored by McMinn Law Firm

Avoid A Bike Accident While Riding in The Rain

It may be raining, but it’s still Bike to Work week! While these showers are long overdue and much appreciated, they can make a bike commute tough, but not impossible. Even if you decide to forgo the bike in this weather, it’s important that all drivers are mindful of the cyclists who do decide to brave the downpour. Here are some tips to keep you on two wheels:

What to Bring

  • Lights: Visibility of cyclists in urban areas is low to begin with, so make sure you have bright lights, even in the day-time, to ensure you’re seen by drivers.
  • Waterproof Jacket and Bag: You don’t have to get soggy just because it’s raining! Keep your core and your things dry with a brightly colored waterproof jacket and a waterproof bag. If you don’t have a waterproof bag, you can always wrap your existing bag in a trash bag or other waterproof material.
  • Bring a change of clothes: You might not stay completely dry on the ride, but if you have an extra set of clothes in your waterproof bag you can change into a dry outfit once you arrive at your destination.
  • Mudguards: Attach mudguards to your tires before you ride in the rain to prevent your tires from slinging up mud and city run off onto your person.
  • Helmet Cover: The vents in your helmet are great in the heat, but can leave your head and hair vulnerable to the elements. Wear a helmet cover over your helmet or a skull cap under it to keep your head dry.

Adjusting Your Ride

  • Beware of puddles: Puddles hide potholes that you’d normally see on a dry day. Avoid puddles, even if they look shallow, so you stay upright.
  • Increase braking distance: Just as in a car, braking in the rain is difficult on a bike due to the slippery nature of the road and your tires. Add a few feet to your braking distance and don’t forget to signal to the traveler behind you that you are stopping.
  • Don’t lean into corners: Water on the road decreases the friction that would normally allow you to lean into a corner on your bike. To avoid your bike slipping from underneath you, keep your balance centered and take corners slower than you would on a dry road.
  • Utilize transit: Most Cap Metro buses and all express routes and rail lines in Austin have bike racks available for those who chose to mix up their commute. A bus can be a great option for the longer legs of a commute trip in the rain so that you minimize your exposure to the elements.

Additional Resources to Help Avoid A Bike Accident

  • CoA Bike Maps for planning your commute
  • Ride the City: Ride the City is a website and phone app that helps bikers plan safer routes by steering them away from dangerous roads and towards protected bike lanes and bike-friendly streets.
  • If you or someone you know has been seriously injured in a bicycle accident caused by someone else, it’s important to talk with a personal injury lawyer experienced with bicycle accidents.  McMinn Law Firm’s accident attorneys are available by phone, live chat, or web form 24/7.