Winter Biking in Alaska: Safety Tips for a Surprisingly Popular Activity

When there are feet of snow on the ground, and the temperatures stay below freezing for several months of Alaska winter, going out for a bicycle ride might seem like an ambitious endeavor. However, winter biking has been gaining in popularity since officials constructed a bike path next to the Iditarod Trail in 1987, and it has exploded in recent years. The Visit Anchorage online travel resource explains that there are 130 miles of winter biking routes along the 40 different paths within the city’s metro area. You can glide across untouched snow on a fat tire bike or ride a bicycle with studded tires across the area’s many frozen lakes and rivers.

However, bicycle paths within the Anchorage municipal zone mean you will be sharing the road with motorized vehicles at some points along your ride. Winter conditions can increase the risk of collisions, especially when some drivers do not take proper precautions. You should discuss legal remedies with an Alaska bicycle accident lawyer if you were hurt, and check out some information about staying safe while riding below.

Risks for Bike Riding in Winter

The biggest threat is also the most obvious: The harsh weather in Alaska during winter. Snow, sleet, and ice are common, creating havoc on slippery roads. Plus, fog and heavy precipitation can affect visibility, and bicycle riders already suffer from being low in profile. Some additional risks for bicycle riding in winter include:

  • When motorists are dealing with challenging driving conditions, they may pay too much attention to motorized traffic – not bikes.
  • Winter days are short, so visibility is an even more profound threat during the morning and evening hours.
  • Some drivers in Anchorage do not expect to be sharing the road with bike enthusiasts in the winter, so they are more likely to get caught off guard and make mistakes.

Safety Tips for Winter Biking

Preparation goes a long way toward preventing accidents, so take time to inspect your bicycle before heading out. Check the tires, brakes, and wheels, and brush any snow from reflectors. Assess lighting for your bicycle, ensuring it meets state and local requirements for rear and front lights. If you are renting a fat tire or studded tire bike from an outfitter, do the same checks.

In addition:

  • While you should dress warmly, do not wear loose clothing. Items could choke up your gears and wheels.
  • Wear proper footwear, gloves, and a helmet.
  • When approaching an intersection from a municipal trail, carefully assess signage. You may be directed to take a designated bike lane, use the crosswalk, or enter into traffic.
  • Only stay on marked trails when bike riding on frozen lakes and rivers. The ice may not be sufficiently thick.

Get Legal Advice from an Alaska Bicycle Accidents Attorney

 For more information on your rights and remedies after being hurt in a bike crash, please contact Power & Power Law. You can set up a free case review at our Anchorage, Alaska, offices by calling 907-222-9990 or checking us out online.