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This article was published on July 7th, 2022
Summer is finally here and we are looking forward to the warm weather to come. With white clouds and blue sky tempting every cyclist outside and onto their bikes, it can be easy to get carried away enjoying the weather on two wheels. However, whether it’s the heat, traffic or anything else, there are a variety of safety precautions that you should take when you take part in some summer cycling. Below we’ve outlined some of our top tips to help you stay safe whilst cycling in summer.
Summer cycling can be hot work and sweating is your body’s way of keeping cool, but it’s also one of the key reasons you can become dehydrated. The heat can be one of the most challenging factors whilst cycling in summer and so it’s essential that when you’re planning your ride, you make sure you have enough storage space for extra fluids, whether it be water or isotonic drinks. Trust us, you’ll be glad you’re carrying the extra weight when you’re miles from home and overheating.
Not only will staying hydrated keep your body in a healthy and functioning order, but it’ll also ensure you can concentrate better on the road ahead as studies have shown that dehydration can reduce concentration levels.
The general rule of thumb is to aim to drink around 800ml per hour to maintain a healthy hydration level on the hottest of days. Whatever you do, do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink as the effects of dehydration may already have taken hold.
Your eyes and ears are what keep you alert whilst cycling on the road, so it’s essential you take care of them, particularly your eyes, as it’s your eyes that will help you spot potential danger and help you avoid a summer cycling accident.
When you are organising your equipment in preparation for your next ride, ensure you have a good pair of UV-filtering lenses, that way you not only give yourself better vision whilst cycling, but you’ll also protect your eyes from prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays that can cause damage to your eyes over time. The shade from your sunglasses will also help you be a safer cyclist on the road as it will dim any reflections you may come across that might otherwise jeopardise your safety, including car windows, paintwork and water sources.
Enjoying a ride on your bike in the warm sunshine is one of life’s pleasures for cyclists, however, it can be easy to switch off whilst you soak up the warm weather and ride mile after mile.
When it comes to summer cycling, it’s essential you stay just as alert as you would be in the depths of winter when you’re cycling on the road. Whilst you won’t have to worry about ice or snow under your wheels, the summer brings its own set of unique challenges.
On hot days, the road surface can bubble up and the tar can become exposed. If loose tar sticks to your wheels it can cause serious safety concerns, causing your wheels to buckle or lose grip.
If an area of road has degraded to an extent that requires the council to relay or re-dress the road, you’ll also need to be wary of excess gravel patches that accumulate when a road has been freshly re-laid.
With the hot summer sun beating down on your head and an open stretch of road without another vehicle or person on it as far as the eye can see, it can be tempting to remove your helmet to give your head more room to breathe and help cool you down.
However tempting it may be to take your cycling helmet off on a ride, don’t ever do it.
As The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) states, your helmet has the potential to be the difference between a minor injury or potential death. Cycling helmets are manufactured using expanded polystyrene which is easily crushed, and it is this crushing process that helps the helmet absorb the energy from an impact during a cycling accident. The outer plastic shell helps the helmet keep its rigidity during an impact. If you take off your helmet, there will be nothing to protect you from the impact of a collision or fall whatever the reason may be that the cycling accident occurs.
Choosing when you ride isn’t a luxury commuters have, however, if you are in the fortunate position of cycling purely for pleasure, choose times that will potentially be less dangerous.
Cycling during the day on weekdays tends to mean that roads will be quieter and there will be less traffic. Plan what equipment you’ll need for different times of the day too, depending on when you choose to enjoy some summer cycling as the middle of the day can be much hotter than the cooler evenings and so you will need to account for that when you are preparing the fluids you will take on your ride with you.
If you or a loved one have been injured whilst cycling in summer, our team are here to help you. Each of our solicitors is passionate about cycling and is knowledgeable about both the practical aspects of cycling as well as the legal aspects of a cycling injury claim.
If you would like to arrange a free initial consultation to discuss the eligibility of your claim with one of our specialist solicitors, please call us on 0800 1979 345 or complete our online enquiry form.