As Greater Victoria moves into the winter season, bike commuters and pedestrians are encouraged to be more cautious. Temperatures dipped below 0 C at night in Greater Victoria on Tuesday Oct. 29.
Staying warm, being visible and giving yourself more time to get to your destination are things people need to be aware of if they want to continue to commute safely.
Sarah Webb, City of Victoria Manager of Sustainable Transportation, Planning and Development, said the city encourages pedestrians to stay safe this fall and winter by using crosswalks and following pedestrian signs and traffic signals so other road users know what you’re doing.
Bike to Work Victoria Executive Director Adam Krupper said there are steps cyclists can take to extend the period of time they’re able to cycle to work, which is important for good health and reducing emissions from cars.
“Don’t let the thermometer tell you when to stop,” Krupper said, “keep riding until it’s not fun. It really comes down to your preparedness – have you given yourself enough time? Are you ready to deal with icy patches? Do you have appropriate clothing?”
Krupper also suggested taking public transportation for at few days after the first rain in a while, an ice storm, or fresh snowfall as roads can be more slippery at this time and drivers may also be having a hard time managing conditions.
Because it gets dark earlier at this time of year, both Krupper and Webb suggest wearing reflective clothing to help other road users see you better.
The Capital Regional District (CRD) warned cycling commuters to be wary of slippery conditions on regional trails and in parks. Ice and frost are especially dangerous for cyclists, particularly on bridges, manhole covers, bricks, and painted road lines.
Krupper said B.C. weather is really pretty mild compared to Thunder Bay, where he’s from, so cyclists here will mostly have to watch out for slippery metal and patches of ice rather than fully ice-coated roads.
With the cold weather we are experiencing, watch for frost and ice on regional parks and trails. Be prepared for slippery conditions. Cycling commuters may want to consider winter bike tires or alternative transportation. #crdparks pic.twitter.com/W8YwE7SeeB
— CRD (@crd_bc) October 30, 2019
Krupper said because of these hazards, commuters should think about adding five or more minutes to their commute to ensure they have time to arrive safely. He also suggests slowing down around corners and if you find yourself slipping still, it might be time to invest in some tires with better grip.
Krupper said staying dry is the biggest issue for cyclists in B.C. He said it’s important to stay dry to keep away the chill. Ways to stay dry include getting fenders for your bike to stop water splashing up and making sure you have a waterproof jacket and pants. These will trap body heat to keep you warm and stop water and dirt from getting on your clothes.
Commuters can also buy single- or multiple-use heating pads to put in their gloves, boots or pockets.
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