Biking in the rain safely

I covered equipment and rain the other day and several people provided very helpful comments on biking safety in the rain. Here’s my contribution to the discussion.

  • Visibility is paramount! I’m not normally a safety ninny, but consider what you can and can’t see when you’re in a car with the windows fogged up and the wiper blades leaving streaks of bug juice across the windshield. I normally run with lights on in the rain. Consider also high visibility jackets.
  • Braking may take longer than usual. Wet braking surfaces take longer to slow you, and you generally want to avoid sudden stops on wet roads. Test your brakes before you have to stop to dry the braking surfaces and brake pads.
  • Avoid puddles. They may hide hazards such as deep potholes, bricks, alligators, etc. On the other hand, if you don’t care about your bottom bracket too much flooded streets are a ton of fun to ride through 🙂
  • Pavement markings can be very slippery in the rain. Ditto (especially so) for anything metal: manhole covers, rail crossings, drain covers.
  • A small towel is handy. Like Ford Prefect, I know where my towel is. I keep a small hand towel in an easily accessible pocket to wipe the mist from my eyeglasses so I can see where I’m going.

Besides the excellent contributions some of you already left what are some other safety considerations for riding in the rain?

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