Winter is here, bringing cold weather and dark nights. It doesn’t mean you need to stop walking or wheeling to work, school, to the shops or just for a bit of fresh air though.
Be bright, be safe, be seen is a good way to remember some simple steps you can take to keep yourself moving safely through the winter months.
Here is some advice to help light your way to travelling actively through winter.
Winter days aren’t the brightest and they can be foggy and overcast. If you’re walking to and from work, the shops, school, or even just walking the dog, it all helps to keep a healthy mind and body through winter.
Ways to brighten your walk
- Wear something reflective and fluorescent to make sure you’re easily visible to others.
- Reflective armbands can be worn over coats and clothing.
- Consider a bright rucksack, bag or rucksack cover.
- Reflective stickers on bag straps and coats.
- If you’re walking the dog, consider clip-on lights or light-up collars for your four-legged friend.
Ways to brighten your run
- Consider wearing a head torch to increase your visibility and to help avoid any slip or trip hazards.
- Wear illuminated arm bands to increase your visibility.
- Wearing a lightweight jacket that is reflective or fluorescent will keep the chill off and make sure you are visible to others.
- Avoid wearing headphones if possible. If you do need to wear headphones, keep the volume at a level where you are still aware of traffic and other pedestrians or runners.
- Always stop before striding across the road; look ahead before you cross.
- Consider running with a partner or a local running group – it’s a great way to stay motivated and keep safe.
Be aware of your surroundings
- Keep to the footpaths where possible.
- If you need to walk on the road, keep to the right-hand side so oncoming traffic can see you.
- Take out your earphones so you can hear any oncoming traffic.
- Try not to walk and use your phone when you are walking.
Biking through the winter is a great way to get some physical activity into your day. It’s worth factoring in some simple steps to making yourself more visible and to let you be seen by others.
Ways to brighten your ride and stay safe
- Always ride with lights, even during the grey days in winter.
- Always ride assuming you have not been seen.
- You must have a white front light and red rear light mounted on your bike. Make sure they’re mounted somewhere visible and aren’t hidden by bags or clothing when you are sat on the bike.
- Spoke reflectors help with side on visibility.
- Wear fluorescent or reflective clothing to increase your visibility to other road users.
- Wear a fluorescent or reflective band on your legs as this area is lit up by car headlights.
- The roads can be slippery due to rain, leaves, and ice – take care and watch your speed.
- Always be aware of other road users. Don’t wear headphones when riding, regardless of what time of year it is.
Get your bike checked and ready for winter
- Lights – Are they fitted? Are they charged? Are they visible to other road users?
- Tyres – Is there enough tread on them? Do you need to fit wider or grippier tyres?
- Gears – Do they change as they should? Is the chain running freely or does it need lubricating?
- Mudguards – Consider fitting some mudguards to help keep you drier.
- Brakes – Is there enough on the pads to stop safely? Grit and grime on the roads can eat through brake pads, so you should check them once a week and have a spare set ready to fit.
- Keep it clean – Your bike can get very grimy over winter, so try to give it a good clean once a week. This allows you to spot any issues that you can sort out. Relubricate your chain and give the front and rear gears a light spray with spray lubricant.
The British Heart Foundation website has plenty of information and guidance around winter walking and the benefits it can bring.
The Cycling UK website contains lots of helpful advice on how you can keep cycling through winter.
The South Yorkshire Safer Roads Partnership webpages have some useful activities and resources for children and young people