With the rainy season ahead of us, road conditions are wet and fallen dead leaves, or twig, fruit can be a cause of your spill. So even MORE you have to be guarded with safety gear (Bike helmet and brightly coloured raincoat) has to be considered.
Even motor vehicles have poorer visibility ( see pictures of view from the inside of the car) can be highly dangerous when the roads are wet. Wet weather radically alters the conditions for the bike rider, meaning the cycling techniques employed in dry conditions have to be adjusted accordingly.
Wet weather leads to a soggy and cold ride, there is also a significant effect on a bike’s tires, brakes and also on a cyclist’s visibility and braking distances. Here are things to bear in mind if you plan to ride in the rain.
Rain affects the grip of tires on the road so it is necessary to reduce speeds. No amount of tread design will help you grab traction over steel plates that you see often on our roads where construction takes place if you do a hard brake on wet steel plates. So please make sure that you hold steady you ride and ride upright and alert.
Wet bicycle brake pads are less effective. To keep the brakes in a condition where they will produce some braking even when wet, it is best to keep some light pressure on the brake pads. The pads rubbing against the wheel rims wipes away the water so they can respond when pressed.
In heavy rain, visibility typically will be poor, with water running into the eyes and spray coming up from other vehicles or cyclists. Glasses with clear or yellow lenses produce the best visibility in heavy rain. Also it is best to make yourself visible to others with a brightly coloured rain jacket and switch on your lights.Whatever you decide on your cycling jacket needs to be water resistant and breathable.
Cycling in groups
When riding with others, keep a longer distance away from the front rider as this throws up spray and grit. Also, stopping distances will be affected in the wet so it is best to keep a safe distance apart to avoid collisions.
When cornering, it is best to keep the cycle more upright than in dry conditions.
Cycling is a sport that one has to be safe and know what you are doing. Helmets are a must even at low speeds and we always tell everyone – get a helmet, its not always about you falling down but you never know who might just ramp you from behind or from the side. Many studies have proven ( see this one done in Australia http://ors.wa.gov.au/Documents/Cycling-Safety-Forum/cyclists-forum1-haworth.aspx , 69% reduction in head/brain injuries and 65% reduction in facial injuries for cyclists involved in accidents
Many people even tell us – “I ride very slow”. Even at low speeds of 15-18 km/h, worst when you come downhill, hitting anything at 30km/h will result in serious injuries. See research done on this http://bmj-injuryprev.highwire.org/content/3/2/110.full.pdf Authors gave a questionnaire to 3,390 bicycle riders who had attended a hospital emergency department in the Seattle area. They found that cyclists involved in a crash at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour were 1.4 times as likely to have a “severe” injury (defined as an injury severity score greater than 8) as cyclists involved in a crash at a speed of 15 miles per hour or less (15 mph = 24 km/h).
But always after the rain, the sun and dry weather will return..so ride safe!