I have an array of reflectors and lights all over my bike. I’ve found that the more visible I am, the more I’m taken seriously by motorists and the more space they allow.
Knowing that I’m extremely visible helps me ride comfortably. I have a rack with two panniers that can each hold 30 pounds total of laundry and groceries.And I have fenders over the wheels to prevent water splashing in wet weather.
In harsh winter weather, I prefer riding a singlespeed because of the drive train’s durability. A bike with a derailleur can get clogged more easily with snow and slush.
But most of the year I ride a bike with gears and large-diameter road bike tires because the skinny tires are more efficient on the pavement. Any kind of bicycle can be used for commuting. It doesn’t require a special bike.
I always wear highly visible clothing and dress in layers. In severe winter weather, I wear ski goggles and ski gloves with Windstopper liners that wick away moisture, and a waterproof GoreTex shell. Summer riding can be just as tough with the dangers of sun exposure and dehydration.