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Bicycling During El Nino: How to Stay Safe During Torrential Rain


The weather front called El Nino threatens to inundate California with unprecedented rainfall. If you must bike in heavy rain because of work of because you’re on a rigorous exercise plan, how can you do so safely and minimize the likelihood of wipe outs, collisions and cold weather problems, like hypothermia?

Bicycle to Work in the Rain: Your Safety Guide

Wear the Appropriate Gear

The wetter the weather, the colder you’re going to feel on the road. Wear waterproof clothing, focusing mostly on your core. Wear a rain jacket with a hood you can secure tightly around your face to combat whipping winds. Wear wool socks under waterproof shoes during cooler temperatures.

When shopping for protective gear, don’t neglect your vision. Keep blowing rain out of your eyes with a pair of clear or yellow lenses. Wear a helmet with a visor to protect your vision on the road.

Outfit Your Bike

Your bicycle needs appropriate protection from the elements, too. Light up your bike with plenty of reflectors on the front, back, and sides. Even during the day, El Nino showers can make the sky bleak. Make sure drivers can always see you.

Attach fenders to your front and back wheels. Not only does this prevent water from splashing up on you, but it also protects your chains from becoming clogged with debris. Always carry an emergency kit to address any mechanical issues. This package should include at least a spoke key, puncture kit, and a pump.

General Safety Tips

When biking to work in the rain, observe the general precautions:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to brake. Your bike will take much longer to come to a complete stop when it’s wet outside.
  • Never ride through a puddle. You can’t tell how deep a pot hole is or what its contours are just by eyeballing it. Riding over one at high speeds could cause you serious injury.
  • Metal and brick surfaces become more slippery than pavement in the rain. Use extra caution while going over train tracks or riding on brick roadways.
  • Wipe excess water off your chain and brakes to keep them running smoothly. Spray a little chain lubricant on after every ride to avoid rust buildup.


Biking to work in the rain doesn’t have to be dangerous. By exercising appropriate caution, you can still use your two-wheeled mode of transportation this El Nino season. Follow all of the rules of the road, and ride defensively. Happy commuting!

If you or someone you loved got hurt during a Bay Area rainshower while on your bicycle, call our experienced personal injury attorneys for insight about how to protect your rights and obtain compensation from any liable parties.