We’re in for a wet summer but with a few safety precautions, you can still keep bike riding.
La Niña cycle
Australia cycles through La Niña and El Niño periods which drives the hot and dry climates, but also the increased rainfall. Currently, the Bureau of Meteorology has declared that Australia is in a La Niña cycle which increases the chance of above average rainfall. It’s likely to continue until February 2021.
When the last La Niña was declared back in 2010, there was widespread flooding across parts of Australia. The current conditions do not indicate a La Niña as strong as then, but we still need to keep an eye out when riding.
Riding In Wet Weather
Firstly, keep an eye out for the current weather reports along with storm and flood warnings. Being out on your bike in a serious storm could lead to a dangerous situation.
If there are flood warnings, we do not recommend riding in that area at all. Cars can get swept away when just 10-20cm of water is above the bottom of the chassis. Being lighter, bike riders are even more likely to be swept away by currents.
Even if the water is not fast flowing and you think it is not deep, you don’t know what the water brought with it down stream. It is not uncommon for debris to be hidden under flood water, and heavy rain in areas where trees have been burned by recent bushfires can cause them to fall or drop branches. Potholes can develop rapidly on roadways and paths under flood waters, which can cause major accidents for bike riders.
If there is water across the roadway or path, do not ride or walk through it.
Clothing and Equipment For Rain
If you are planning to ride in the rain, be sure to wear bright waterproof clothing and have lights on your bike. In wet weather conditions, visibility is reduced so it is important to make yourself as visible to other road users as you can by wearing bright coloured clothing.
Waterproof jackets and pants are great for wet weather, and don’t forget gloves as they are important for maintaining a controlled grip of the bike. Other items, such as overshoes, cycling eyewear and a mudguard are also great to have on those wet days.
“We want all bike riders to be prepared for what the summer rain season brings this year. It is important to monitor the weather warnings and ride to conditions for your safety and others,” commented Kim Lavender, Bicycle NSW Communications Manager.
Safety On Spokes
This article is a part of our 2 month Safety on Spokes Campaign where we cover a range of topics to make a better environment for bike riders in NSW.