Getting out on your bike should be a magical adventure whatever the weather! But cold conditions during winter can take their toll on our roads, creating potholes of all shapes and sizes. Here at The Insurance Emporium, we’ve come up with some handy advice on what to do if you meet a pothole whilst cycling. Read on to find out how you might stay safe whilst making the most of your passion!
Watch where you’re going!
It might seem obvious, but the best way to deal with potholes is to avoid them in the first place! Simply paying attention to the road could help you do this. Watch out for dark patches and puddles, as these might be signs that a pothole is coming! If you spot one, do your best to steer round it.
Stuck in a hole?
If you can’t avoid going over a hole, what you might then do depends upon its size. For small potholes, make sure you stay relaxed. You might want to lift yourself up from the saddle so there’s less weight on your bike. A larger pothole, though, could be more serious. You could try leaning your bodyweight back, which might prevent you being thrown over the handlebars.
Out of the hole!
If you’ve been unfortunate enough to hit a pothole and come off your bike, the first thing to do is check you’re okay, and get out of the road to a safer spot. If it’s safe to do so, it might be a good idea to take a photo of the hole. Try to put a recognisable object next to it, this could help give a better idea of the size and scale of the pothole. You could then upload the photo and the location to Cycling UK’s Fill That Hole website, who will report it to the relevant local authority!
Getting back on yer bike!
After hitting a pothole, it might be sensible to check your bike over before getting back in the saddle. The most important things to inspect could be your front wheel, fork and mudguard. The front wheel and fork will probably have taken most of the impact, so make sure your wheel moves properly and that nothing is now out of place. If you’re in doubt about the condition of your bike, it might be a good idea to get it looked at by a professional.
A note on helmets
If you’ve been in any kind of accident in which you’ve hit your head while wearing a helmet, it’s generally advised that you replace the helmet. Even if there’s no visible damage, it doesn’t mean the inside layer hasn’t been affected. If there’s been damage to the inside, it won’t be able to spring back to its original shape. This means it wouldn’t absorb the energy from another impact. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Taking it further
If you have an accident involving a pothole and are thinking about claiming for damages from your local authority, there are some points to consider. First, you would need to get some legal advice. Also, photographic evidence of the pothole and location could be good to have. Local councils are responsible for the majority of roads, and you might need to prove that the hole was there before their last inspection, or that it had been reported by another person already. It can be difficult to make a successful claim for damages, regardless of the severity of the accident, if it can be proven that reasonable steps were taken in maintaining the road.
Ideally you’ll stay safe on the roads and never need to make use of the tips above! However, if you do find yourself on the wrong side of a pothole, we hope this guide might prove useful! To cover any unforeseen accidents, it could be wise to think about insuring your bike. The Insurance Emporium offer up to 25% Discount* on Bicycle Insurance, and you can also choose from Elective Benefits such as Personal Accident and Bicycle Accessories. Ride on down to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!
* The 25% discount is available on lunar and calendar monthly policies and policies where the premium is paid annually. It is made up of 15% Introductory Discount, plus 5% Age Related Discount and 5% Security Discount (if appropriate). The 15% Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.
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