Q: Is it safe to ride my bike during the winter in Vancouver?
Yes! Well, as long as you are prepared.
In Vancouver, our winters are much milder than most of Canada. However, we do get enough freezing days and wintery weather to make it important to prepare for your daily bike commute to New Westminster.
Keeping Safe All Winter Long
There are two primary threats to your safety as you bike this winter: cars and ice. Both have the potential to land you not only on your back, but also in the hospital. To help you prevent a bike accident this winter we offer the following tips:
- Keep your head up. As a cyclist, you know that you have to bike defensively year-round. However, with wet, icy conditions present throughout the winter, the chance of cars slipping and sliding increases dramatically. If you are not paying attention, or are in the wrong place at the wrong time one of these out of control cars could slide right into you and your bike. When possible, stick to bike paths in the winter. Here is a list of bike paths in and around Vancouver.
- Invest in new tires. As an avid cyclist, you know how to change your wheels in a matter of seconds. Make use of this skill by putting snow tires—some even have studs on them—on your bike when the weather drops below freezing or wintery weather is in the forecast. While they may slow you down, they may also save you from crashing on a patch of black ice and being seriously injured.
Other items to consider buying before you bike this winter include:
- Mud guards. These will protect both you and your bike from muddy slush.
- Warm gloves and a thin hat under your helmet. Your hands and ears will be the first to get chilled, so protect them.
- Goggles or glasses to keep snow out of your eyes.
- Bike lights for added visibility.
- A tune up for your bike; especially the brakes.
We hope that our winter cycling ideas will help you keep on peddling; no matter the weather. For more information on cycling safety, and to find out what your rights are if you've been in a bicycle accident in Vancouver, check out our cycling information blog. Happy cycling!