How winter weather affects cycling

Cyclists cannot be pigeonholed into a one-fits-all group. Hobbyists, families, road cyclists, mountain bikers, commuters and keep fit enthusiasts, to name just a few, all have one thing in common; their love of cycling exposes them to the vagaries of the UK weather! Whilst we cannot change the weather, we can help you to plan and make more informed decisions about where and when to cycle, what to wear and how to prepare for different weather conditions.

Key to preparation is keeping a close eye on the forecast and the Met Office offers cyclists a range of weather information and weather-related warnings to be able to help them travel safely.

In this article Cycling UK and RAC have joined forces to create this helpful weather-related advice for drivers and cyclists sharing the road in winter.

Cycling in snow and ice

Snow and ice will severely impact your travel plans including your commute to and from work and getting around your community and local area. Alternative travel plans may provide a safer form of travel.

Cycling accidents on ice can often result in physical injury, so learning to read the weather signs and identify potential danger spots on your journey is essential.

At certain times of year lying water freezes over on thousands of roads.  Ice becomes as much of a problem for cyclists as the sun low in the sky. Cycling UK, the national cycling charity, has also prepared cycling in icy conditions, and gathered advice from motoring organisations for driving around cyclists in icy conditions.

Charity Sustrans is passionate about more people travelling by foot or by bike and have provided some tips for winter proofing your bike and cycling in the snow, as well as an article that dispels five myths about weather and cycling.

For information on what to look out for when the temperature drops, visit our guest blog Ice time for a ride: reading the signs from Cycling UK.

Gritting information for cyclists

Information about salting and gritting of roads is available on many local authority websites.  We have listed links to information from England and Scotland.  Please note that we cannot be held responsible for the accuracy of the information provided and that you should never assume that a road has been gritted.

Cycling in fog

Take extra care when cycling in affected areas. Wear high visibility clothing, use bright flashing bike lights and listen carefully for oncoming traffic. Consider using alternative forms of transport in thick fog.

Cycling in heavy rain and flooding

Take extra care when cycling in affected areas and be alert to surface water on roads and cycle paths. Also be aware of localised flooding and spray from other road users. In this article Cyclescheme offer their advice about commuting in heavy rain and showers.

Cycling in storms, strong winds

Additional care is needed when cycling in affected areas. Be aware of the possibility of strong crosswinds in exposed areas and of falling branches. Consider taking other forms of transport.

Sun and its hazards for bike users

Take extra care in the morning and evening when the sun is low in the sky. Be aware of poor visibility from other road users and glare leading to temporary blindness.

Keep up to date

Always check your latest local forecast to find out if there are any weather warnings in force for your local area. You can also sign up to our email alerts or download our mobile weather app to ensure you are always updated with the very latest forecast details, wherever you are.