Riding a bicycle is a skill most people master at a young age. After conquering balance, braking and the fear of falling, it serves as the first form of freedom for youngsters. In later years, cycling can become a leisure or health activity, competitive outlet, or transportation to work. But cycling also poses serious risks. The CDC reports that almost 500,000 emergency department visits in 2013 were bicycle-related injuries, and as the weather changes in New England there are added risks to consider that pose a threat to those driving on two wheels.
Each fall, hundreds of leaf peepers descend on New England from around the country. While it’s a boon for tourism in the region, leaves pose serious hazards to cyclists. Leaves tend to build up in large piles along curbs and the sides of the road – typically where cyclists travel. They can cover obstructions, cracks, or holes in the road leaving cyclists blind to the dangers ahead. Leaves also create a slippery surface, especially when wet, which diminishes traction, causes skidding and loss of control. Ride slower and avoid clumps of leaves between the sidewalk and street to avoid potential problems.