Spring is officially here! Here in Elmira, NY where I live and practice, it is 67 degrees and sunny! After days of thinking about it, I decided to get the bike out and go for a ride! It felt great to be back in the saddle, but I was reminded of the dangers of spring riding at the first stop sign. I went to put my foot down, and my foot almost slid out from under me. There were rocks everywhere. It got me thinking about some of the dangers we face in the spring that are a little different than the rest of the year, so I thought I would put a list together for everyone to think about as we get the bikes back out.
• Loose stones at intersections – as I said above, they almost got me at the first stop sign. Those little stones roll right out from under the foot when you put it down at a stop. Every intersection I came to was a minefield of stones. Keep your eyes peeled for a good place to come to a stop and a safe place to put your foot down as you approach intersections.
• Loose stones everywhere else! It’s still early in the season. All winter long those salt trucks have been dropping stones along with the salt. It will still be awhile the natural action of cars and trucks sweeps these stones to the side. It will also be a while before the street sweepers are out to vacuum them up. In the meantime those stones are piled up in places we least want to see them – the corner and the right side of the lane. For the time being, its not a bad idea to stay to the left side of the lane and go easy in the corners – there is no guarantee traction will be there when you need it.
• Salt water is slippery! We’ve had a couple rains since the last time salt trucks were on the road, but there is still some salt on the roads. If you are out riding in the rain or other times there is moisture on the roads look out. Salt water is slippery – and you won’t have the traction you might expect to have. After a couple more hard rains the salt should be gone for the season.
• Potholes, potholes everywhere – Salt, freezing temperatures and snow plows do a number on the roads. What might have been a small crack in the pavement last fall could be a pothole big enough to swallow your bike by spring. We have a tendency to relax and maybe not pay full attention to the road surface when we are on our favorite roads. Don’t assume that favorite route will be in the same condition it was in back in October! You may find a giant pothole in your path as you lean in to that turn.
• Cagers! They are still out there, and they are still trying to kill us. They are more dangerous than ever at this time of year, as they haven’t seen a bike in months and have pretty much forgotten about us. They are still talking on their cell phones, eating while driving, and doing everything BUT paying attention to where they are going. Give them even more room than normal at this time of year, and make sure they see you before you put yourself in harm’s way.
I know there are plenty more seasonal dangers I haven’t listed – leave a comment and tell me what they are – I’m getting back on the bike!
Thanks for reading, and ride safe!
ZiffLaw Attorney, Esq.
NY and PA Injury and Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901