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After finishing today’s bicycle ride through Hamilton, Purcellville and Lovettesville, Loudoun County bike accident lawyer Doug Landau was reminded of late Fall cycle safety tips.

  • Keep the extremities warm – if you can’t feel your fingers, you cannot safely brake in time to avoid an accident.
  • Because of the sun low in the sky during daylight hours, good anti-glare sunglasses can help prevent momentary blindness and crashes. Good sports eyeglasses can also serve as eye protection from sticks, leaves and other debris that can be thrown up into a cyclist’s face.
  • Having easy to see, bright colored clothing can help cars, trucks and motorcycles see you and give you plenty of room when passing.
  • Leave the ear buds, telephone earpiece and other audio equipment at home, in the car or at home. If you cannot hear, see or otherwise sense oncoming or passing traffic, you are dangerous – to yourself, to others on the roads, trails and bike paths.
  • If you are going out near sunrise or sunset, reflectors, lights in front AND behind and reflective clothing can save a cyclist from a fatal bike accident or "near miss."

Know that it may take longer to brake and come to a safe stop when fall leaves are on the road surface. While today’s leaves were dry during Landau’s 40 mile bike ride from the Loudoun County High School in Leesburg, when there is morning dew or frost under fallen autumn leaves, or there has been recent rain, bicycle tire traction may be compromised. Test your brakes, make sure they are in good working order, and add more time and space for coming to a full and complete stop. Also turning may require slower speeds and avoiding leaf piles that may cover wet spots or hidden frost.

Autumn can be a wonderful time to ride your bike in Virginia. The smell of the leaves, the fall foliage, colors and cool air can all be part of an enjoyable athletic experience. The improvements to the W&OD Trail near the Loudoun 4-H Center heading West make for a smooth ride. However, falling leaves, sticks and frost require extra cycling safety precaution. The leaves are lovely, but they can mask dangers underneath.

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