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Rainy day cycling

The risk of a fall is increased when water covers the road. Wet weather requires precautions. Cycling is most hazardous when it first begins to rain, because road oil and dirt mix to form a slippery surface. Wet pavement reduces traction. If the rain is heavy enough, the front tire may ride on top of the water, a process called hydroplaning, which causes a loss of braking and steering control.

If you must ride in the rain:

  • Check your tire treads. Worn tire treads may cause a loss of control in wet weather.
  • Ride in the tracks of the motor vehicles in front of you. This can give you a drier surface and better traction.
  • Try to avoid surfaces that are especially slippery when wet -- manhole covers, painted lines and the oily center of a lane.
  • Some types of brake shoes are better than others when wet; consult your bicycle dealer. Caliper brakes, which are now standard equipment on most bicycles, can lose most of their braking power in wet weather.
  • Rain reduces the motorist's vision; it is always a good idea to wear brightly colored clothing to make you more conspicuous while cycling, but in rainy weather it's especially important!

Back to Bicycle Safety.

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