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Wintertime riding increases risk of bike crash in Rhode Island

Although Rhode Island residents may not necessarily expect to see bicyclists on the road during the winter months, a growing contingent of cycling enthusiasts are embracing cold-weather riding. This trend may promote health and wellness by increasing activity during nasty weather, but it also puts cyclists at a higher risk of a bike crash. Industry experts say that extra caution is required on the part of both cyclists and drivers to ensure safe travels for everyone during the winter months.

One of the biggest culprits for bike crashes in the winter: ice. Drivers need to have high bike awareness in these slippery conditions, and cyclists need to hone their skills when it comes to riding on ice. Cyclists should take care to ride on surfaces that offer traction, perhaps on packed snow instead of potentially icy pavement. Additionally, cyclists are urged to practice riding on low-risk icy surfaces until they get the hang of winter cycling. Tips and tricks include slow turns, avoiding quick stops and taking care not to swerve.

Despite cyclists' best preparation, they can still fall prey to a negligent driver during the winter months. Drivers who lack bike awareness -- or even a distracted driver -- can cause accidents that lead to serious injuries for cyclists in all seasons. Wintertime is particularly risky because of inclement weather and sub-optimal road conditions.

As a cyclist, you have a responsibility to ride with care during the winter months. Drivers are responsible for maintaining safety on the road, as well. Those vehicle operators that drive recklessly or without bike awareness should be held accountable for their failures. Cyclists injured in wintertime bike accidents may be entitled to compensation for their long-term medical care and other claims.

Source: IceBike, "Ice Biking - How to do Winter Cycling in Ice and Snow," John Andersen, Dec. 17, 2016

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