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Dropping temps and falling snow does not mean bikes aren't out

The headline on a recent River Front Times article reads, "Polar Vortex Will Make St. Louis Weather Colder Than a Snowman's Balls Next Week." That's a pretty colorful way to talk about something so chilling. The St. Louis Times' take on the forecast was more muted: "Polar vortex to bring negative temperatures to St. Louis area."

When temperatures are predicted in single digits, many forego their normal routines and just stay inside. But there are hardy people in our region who venture out regardless. And while it may be hard to fathom, some of them could be bicyclists. If you doubt it, consider that in Minneapolis last week, when wind chills hit -50, cyclists were out. And some even said they enjoyed it.

To suggest that this increases risks of deadly collisions between motor vehicles and cyclists and other pedestrians is far more than an understatement. It's an almost certain fact.

Responsibility for safety on the roads is something shared by everyone who uses them. But when you factor in the weather, that responsibility magnifies. Snow, cold and ice make roads slicker regardless of your mode of travel. If you are behind the wheel of a car, SUV or truck, or pedaling a bicycle, the chance of being able to take split-second, evasive action is hugely reduced than during the dryer days of spring, summer and fall.

And when winter accidents do occur, the weather and road conditions can also make it more difficult to investigate and reconstruct accidents to determine liability. Skid marks might not be visible for long – melting away or disappearing under a blanket of new snow. Finding who was at fault may come down to skilled investigation and diligence in finding eyewitnesses.

If you suffer injury in such an accident, or if you lose the life of a loved one, you are at a disadvantage. To balance the field, contacting an experienced personal injury law firm is your surest way to making sure a negligent driver is held accountable for compensation you may be due.

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Edwardsville, IL 62025

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