Tips for safe cycling this autumn

If you’re cruising into autumn on your two-wheeler, you want to make sure that you are always proactive about your safety. There are many year-round hazards that exist for bicycling enthusiasts, but autumn poses its own particular safety challenges.

Read on to learn how you can cycle safer this fall here in New Haven.

Beware of hazards covered by leaves

There’s nothing like fall in New England when the leaves on the trees turn spectacular colors and attract visitors from all over. But the same beauty that draws the leaf-peepers also provides perfect cover for hazards when the leaves fall to the ground.

As you’re tooling along on your two-wheeler, you might miss the uneven road surfaces that can cause you to take a tumble. Pay attention while riding familiar routes and remember where street grates and sloping pavement are even when covered by piles of leaves.

When leaves become wet, they get slick and can cause bike tires to fail to stop in time to avoid a crash. Try to allow a few seconds longer to stop when riding on wet surfaces.

Also, be aware of tourists in the area who get so caught up in the beauty of our season that they lose sight of cyclists. Adding a bicycle horn or a bell to your handlebars can be helpful.

Fall is a time for tipsy driving

Whether it is tailgating before the big game, rowdy students partying during high school homecomings or Halloween revelers stumbling through town, there are many opportunities during autumn where people drink too much alcohol.

Drunk drivers are a major threat to the lives and well-being of cyclists. The injuries suffered in a collision with a motorist can be permanent and disabling, changing life the way you knew it in a moment.

Make sure that you always ride wearing a bicycle helmet and other protective gear like knee pads. Give a wide berth to any motorist whose driving indicates that impairment is likely. Be especially vigilant when cycling to, from or in close proximity to events and activities where alcohol is prominently featured.

Protect yourself legally as well

If you have the misfortune of getting hit while riding your bike, it’s important that you understand your rights to seek compensation under Connecticut laws.