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January 01, 2018
As we've seen a few accidents roll through our doors; ranging from slight nudges to broken arms(!!), we just want to throw out a few cautionary reminders for riding in the rain.
1. Number one is always; just SLOW DOWN. Whether you're on a bike, in a car, etc. everything is more slick and dangerous. From manhole sewer covers, to the set of brakes you have on the bike, to the painted lines on the road. The scary things get way scarier. Remember that something we take for granted everyday, friction, isn't on our side in the rain. Take easy and slow turns, your tires will not grip the pavement so try not to lean in the turns. Stay alert and give yourself time to react. Ride defensively.
2. Wear bright colors and use lights when it's overcast and/or rainy; not just when it's dark out. Anything to make yourself more visible; add a reflective vest, get a brightly-colored or highly-reflective rain jacket like the Sugoi Zap Jacket. Black, grey and even white are not very visible. Drivers aren't really known for looking out in the first place, but now their windows are covered in water, possibly condensation from the wet occupants, it's just plain difficult to see something that is the same, dark, greyscale-color as everything else. And it's a California law that drivers should be using their lights when it's overcast; it is more safe for us, as cyclists, to do the same.
2b. Accessorize; Get a helmet with a brim or a cover. Or clear/yellow glasses so the spray stays out of your eyes. Get anti-fog treatments for the lenses if you wear prescriptions; a drop of dish soap in the corner of your glasses can actually prevent them from fogging up if you don't have the time or money to get specific anti-fog; like the Chums Anti-fog Kit. Make sure you can see the obstacles before they get in your way. Add fenders to prevent the road splash from getting in your face; see our Fender article for styles and tips.
3. It's universally understood that the vast majority of people don't like being or getting wet. That's no exception for the people who aren't you. Be ready for drivers to stop right at their destinations to drop people off rather than pulling over where it's safe in a driveway and the like. Also be ready for a thrown open car door and a person dashing for cover. Here are the Lyft and Uber "report a problem" websites.
4. Stay on streets that have bike lanes specifically; the wider and less traffic-y the streets the better. Take a different route, one that might have less traffic or more space for you to react. Ones that might have less obstacles for you to avoid.
5. If you've been in an accident; take the time to get all the information and assess your situation. Whether it's raining or not, take the time to get all the pertinent information and take pictures. Of the person, of the bike, of the car, of the situation. Get yourself and your bike checked out; by a doctor and bike shop mechanic respectively(other other way round might not be the most helpful). Check out this article by the SFBC on what to do when you've been involved in an accident.
Here is another article by the SFBC on Riding in the rain and you'll see some of the same advice. Safe Riding!