With cooler temperatures arriving and trees changing into their beautiful seasonal foliage, autumn has traditionally been a time that brings more cyclists out onto our roadways during the daylight hours. Despite darker mornings and evenings some people choose to ride to work while scores of others ride their bikes during this time of the year during daylight hours. Following is information that will help keep you safe while out riding this season.
The 10 leading hazards facing autumn bike riders are:
- Leaves that have fallen on roadways. Fallen leaves can hide potholes and other road problems. Wet leaves are slippery and can be hidden hazards in shaded areas.
- Glare from the sun. During autumn the sun is lower in the sky and glare can be an problem while riding during the day, unless you are traveling north. Also, because the trees have dropped many of their leaves, the patterns of light and shade can produce a strobe light affect that is very distracting.
- Deer rutting season. More collisions with deer happen in the autumn than at any other time of the year because it is breeding season and they continually migrate during this time. Dusk and dawn are peak times for movement.
- Shorter days. Make sure that the light bulbs in your headlights, brake lights and turn signals are working and that your lenses are clean. Wearing high-visibility clothes and using reflective gear to make yourself as obvious as possible is a great idea.
- Using improper gear. Bundling up with too many layers can be a great strategy for dealing with fluctuating temperatures during the day because this enables you to adjust to changing temperatures. By wearing too many layers of clothes that are not suitable to the temperature, you will become fatigued more quickly and this can reduce your ability to react to a situation as quickly as you may need to. Many riders today use heated gear.
- Cold riders. Riding in the cold weather is fatiguing and can cause greater impairment to the rider than moderate alcohol intake. Even a rider who is wearing great gear, especially over long distances can be more exhausting that imagined. Hydration and regular rest stops will help you stay more alert.
- Cold tires. Tires with a harder rubber compound are generally more suitable for cold weather. A rule of thumb is that – the sportier the tires, the softer the rubber. In cooler weather this hardens the rubber and lessens this type of tires performance.
- Fewer riders out in the dark. Early mornings and nights there are less bikes out in the cooler weather. Automobile drivers are even less likely to see you than in the warmer weather and light of day. Wear reflective gear and assume that they don’t see you.
- Icy road surfaces. Frosty mornings mean that pavement can have a thin layer of ice and you can lose traction, especially on wet fallen leaves. As temperatures drop be very aware of crossing bridges and areas that are shaded as they will ice up first. Changing conditions even during the day can occur especially if you are travelling through mountains with changing elevations.
- Isolation. The beautiful scenic back roads which draw you to small towns, particularly in tourist areas, change in the autumn. Seasonal businesses close, restaurants and favorite watering holes may not be open. Plan ahead accordingly for gas, food, and lodging.
Motorcycle Accident Statistics
According to the CDC, between 2001 and 2008, more than 34,000 motorcyclists were killed and an estimated 1,222,000 persons were treated in a U.S. emergency department (ED) for a non-fatal motorcycle-related injury.
The highest death and injury rates were among 20-24 year-olds, followed by 25-29 year-olds.
More than half of all nonfatal injuries treated in EDs were to the leg/foot (30%) or head/neck (22%).
The top causes of motorcycles accidents are:Overtaking/lane change, Head on collision, Lost control/run off road, Rear end/obstruction, Intersections, Maneuvering/misc., Pedestrians.
Bicycle Accident Statistics
The CDC states, that in 2010 in the U.S., 800 bicyclists were killed and an estimated 515,000 sustained bicycle-related injuries that required emergency department care. Roughly half of these cyclists were children and adolescents under the age of 20 (2). Annually, 26,000 of these bicycle-related injuries to children and adolescents are traumatic brain injuries treated in emergency departments.
The top causes of bicycle accidents are: Exiting a driveway in front of an on-coming vehicle, turning left in front of a passing vehicle, motorist was passing the bicyclist – cause of the accident unclear, struck while riding on the wrong side of the road (against traffic), riding on the wrong side of the road and made a right turn in front of a vehicle, motorist was overtaking the bicyclist and failed to see him, loss of control and swerved into the path of the vehicle,
Enjoy the wonderful autumn weather, but be safe and vigilant. Parrish Law Firm, PLLC cares about your safety.
The Parrish Law Firm Personal Injury Accident Attorney works with Northern Virginia residents who have been injured because of another party’s negligence and are looking for fair compensation. Contact us today for a free case consultation or call us at 703-906-4229.
A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.