Road Safety

Weather hazards

Rain and snow can make roads slippery, especially after a long dry period. You should always adjust your riding accordingly and leave extra room for manoeuvring and stopping.

Always ride defensively and make sure your bike is equipped with a headlight and a rear light or reflectors. You can also increase your visibility by wearing brightly coloured and reflective clothing.

Brakes work less effectively when wet, especially during the initial exposure to wet conditions. If possible, test their stopping power on a quiet street prior to heading into heavier traffic. Dry your brakes by feathering (applying them lightly) before you need to stop or slow down.

Since you will have less traction in poor weather conditions, be sure to turn more slowly and avoid manhole covers and painted road line markings, as these are particularly slippery when wet.

You should also avoid puddles when possible, since they may hide potholes, broken glass or other hazards.

Cold weather is often accompanied by frost, snow and black ice, which all reduce traction dramatically. Remember that two wheels do not slide in the same manner as four wheels and a bicycle is likely to slide out from under you on ice. Whenever traction is reduced, be sure to cycle more slowly and cautiously, especially at intersections. Using wider tires with lower air pressure can help.

Black ice is particularly dangerous since it is hard to see and can suddenly cause your tires to lose grip. It is most common on bridges, metal surfaces and brick roads.

In a typical Manitoba winter with low temperatures and high wind chill values, frostbite can be a serious problem. Wear warm layered clothing and be particularly careful to protect your head, ears, hands and feet.

Other hazards

Underpasses

Road conditions in an underpass can be particularly rough and require you to be extra alert. Uneven surfaces and large potholes are common and are further complicated by your increased speed as you descend into the underpass. It is advised that cyclists move further away from the right side of the road to allow more room for manoeuvrability.

Longitudinal cracks

Roadway cracks or joints running parallel to the road can represent a significant hazard. These cracks are often quite wide and uneven and can easily trap a tire, sending you over the handlebars.Avoid riding too close to these cracks.

Sewer grates and covers

Even though most sewer grates and covers are located along the edge of the road, they can still create a hazard for cyclists.These structures are occasionally located further out from the road edge and may have a circular joint that extends well into your path. Be alert to sewer grates, in particular those with openings running parallel to the roadway.

Railway crossings

Railway tracks that cross at an angle to the roadway can trap your tire and cause you to fall off your bicycle. Always adjust your position and alignment in order to cross the tracks at a right angle. Make sure you shoulder check and signal. To reduce the impact, lift yourself slightly off the seat and use your legs as shock absorbers.

Hazards: railway crossings