After months of cold, wet and windy weather, the spring sunshine is on its way to Illinois. If you are an avid cyclist, you may have been out on the road even in the depths of winter. However, many cyclists pack up their bikes for the winter and bring them out again once temperatures are warm enough that they don’t need special gear.
Whether you are on the road year-round or are about to embark on your first seasonal trip, you may have a little more risk on the road during the springtime than you might later in the year. While Illinois doesn’t have any cities in the most deadly locations for cyclists, it still benefits you to try to be safe. There are a couple of issues that contribute to springtime risks on the road for cyclists.
Drivers won’t be on the lookout for you
Once warmer weather is here to stay, most drivers begin checking their surroundings for cyclists, pedestrians and motorcycles. Earlier in the season, drivers will make less of a conscious effort to check for cyclists. People in motor vehicles are often the ones who cause crashes with cyclists.
Frequently, their excuse is that they did not see the person on the bike. Inattentional blindness is an unfortunate side effect of driving, which provides more visual stimulation than the brain can reasonably analyze. The eyes and brain focus on known risk factors, like bigger vehicles. When drivers aren’t watching specially for cyclists, it is easy for them not to see the bike right next to them.
Your bike might need some work after a winter in storage
Don’t let your enthusiasm for a springtime ride lead to you going for a ride without checking the brakes, filling your tires and otherwise tuning up your bike first. Spring maintenance and repairs are crucial to the proper operation of your bike’s systems. Cyclist may also want to check their safety gear, like their helmet, for signs of wear that might make it less effective in the event of a crash.
Springtime weather can also increase your risk, with precipitation leaving to slick streets and the potential looming for potholes to remain after a frigid Illinois winter. Extra care during spring biking activities can help protect cyclists, who may need to stand up for themselves if an irresponsible driver does cause a crash.