(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Looks like the weather is set to go from bad to worse. The near freezing (and below it at times) cold we’ve been experiencing has tested our resolve for weeks. Tomorrow, weather watchers are forecasting freezing rain. The Bureau of Transportation is nervous about how icy conditions will impact roads. And they should be. Earlier this month, when the morning commute was marked by extremely icy conditions, we heard of dozens of people who slipped and crashed while riding into work. Here’s more from PBOT about what might be in store:
The National Weather Service in Portland has issued a freezing rain advisory for light icing in effect from 4 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, January 23. The public is advised to be alert for limited visibility, freezing temperatures and ice accumulations on roadways, bridges, overpasses and sidewalks Wednesday morning.
According to the National Weather Service, the “main threat of freezing rain will be between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., with the threat of freezing rain lasting until noon in areas closer to the Columbia River.”
The traveling public is advised to be prepared for localized icy conditions and make a plan now for their Wednesday morning commute. People should avoid driving on icy streets, take transit if possible or delay their trip until conditions improve. Motorists should be ready to use chains if conditions are icy in the morning, slow down, use headlights and leave plenty of distance ahead of you.
If you intend to ride in these conditions, keep the following tips in mind.
- Lower your tire pressure to increase traction.
- Lower your saddle to make it easier to quickly dismount.
- Slow down.
- Bridges are highly susceptible to freezing/ice/frost. Use extreme caution when riding over them.
- Take your feet off your inside pedal (like a dirt motorcycle rider) when going around sharp and/or potentially icy corner.
- Consider using platform pedals (not cleats) if you don’t already.
- When in doubt, walk.
- Keep your head up and watch for other vehicles that might lose traction and slide into you.
- Ride as upright as possible and distribute your weight evenly over both wheels.