Roller skiing is the most ski specific dryland training for cross-country skiing, but carry some additional risks.
Here is a quick guide to get you safely on the road this summer. Stay tuned for part two: how get the most from your dryland training.
How do you stay safe on roller skis? First off: Life is hard – get a helmet. And wear it.
Do the same rules apply for roller skiers as for cyclists, or are roller skiers considered pedestrians?
In most cases, roller skiers are considered pedestrians. It is generally preferred that roller skiers ski in the same direction as cyclists and drivers.
However, in most cases, roller skiers can also use the sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, and bike/walking paths, as long as they are considerate of those walking there.
Statistics show that most traffic accidents involving roller skiershappen because the roller skier is hit by drivers who don’t see the roller skier, or when roller skiers run into another vehicle because they can’t stop in time. Accordingly, one of the most important safety measures roller skiers can take is to make sure they are visible to drivers and others who use the roads.
Make sure to wear plenty of reflective clothing, and not only on your upper body. Put reflective tape on your roller ski poles, and wear reflectives on your legs/boots as well.
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Also, when roller skiing on public roads, thoroughly assess which stretches you use in terms of how busy they are, if they are well lit, and if cars and other users can easily see those who use the shoulders.
Avoid hanging out in the blind spots of the drivers, make yourself visible, signal your turns and intents, and seek eye contact with drivers.
As a driver, what can you do to make the roads safer for roller skiers?
Most drivers don’t think about or don’t know that roller skiers can’t easily stop on a dime. This is super important to keep in mind when you plan to make turns, especially right turns. Also, make sure to give roller skiers plenty of room, and don’t pass a roller skier who is using the right lane when there is oncoming traffic. In Europe, the rule for passing cyclists is 1.5 meters, or five feet. While there is no hard requirement for roller skiers, this is a good rule of thumb.
Finally, check your blind spots frequently, especially when making right turns. As a driver, try roller skiing from time to time, to put yourself in their shoes and get an idea what the traffic picture is from their perspective.