Night Biking

Within the last 6 months, there has been a number of deaths from cyclists getting hit by cars at night. This is just a reminder to make sure you have a white front light and red rear light. When riding on the roads it’s essential to be seen at all times, especially at night. Adding a reflective vest can easily help drivers see you better. If you are properly set up for night riding make sure your friends are as well.



One response

  1. This is a very pertinent addition. Visibility really is key. There is a lot you can do that is relatively inexpensive.

    When looking for lights, it is worth it to spend a bit more for brighter ones. You do not want drivers not realizing that the little dinky light is a bike and going. Additionally where you mount the light can matter. Mounting higher makes you more visible but mounting lower illuminates crap in the road more (debris casts a larger shadow). Personally, I ride with two light at night. One bright one high up and a lower one too.

    When it comes to rear lights, there are a few competing schools of thoughts. There are those who say that blinking is best since it catches the driver’s attention. On the flip side, there are those who say that (a) blinking makes it hard for drivers to gauge distance and (b) there is *some* evidence that blinking attracts drunk drivers. My opinion is that if the driver is drunk, there’s not much you can do anyway. Personally, I have one blinking and one solid at night.

    A vest reflector is good. What is even better is ankle or pedal reflectors. Your feet moving increase the chance that the angles will be right for the light to reflect back at the drivers. Plus, the inconsistant reflection acts kind of like a blinking light. Reflectors on the front and back that come stock are fine, but really DO NOT CUT IT. You need lights too.

    Wheel reflectors are hit and miss. Side visibility is good but they are not always very useful. I personally put reflective tape on my crank arms. This way they are moving (see above for pedals) and are rather visible.

    I finally want to add one more piece of advice. Ride with lights ALL THE TIME. Electricity is cheap and you are much more visible. You’ll have to charge the lights more often (maybe daily) but that had the added bonus of making charging a routine so there is less of a chance that you’ll forget.

    Personally, I like redundancy. I have two front lights and two rear lights. In both cases, the USB rechargeable ones are the brighter primary lights. Then, I have secondary AA or AAA battery lights. Those are backups. They have rechargeable NiMH batteries but I also keep disposable backups. Therefore, I essentially have 2.5 levels of redundancy. (plus ample reflectors).

    Sadly, as we learned from Seth Vidal’s death, proper lighting isn’t always enough. But, why not prevent what we can?

    Ride safe and have fun!

    September 23, 2013 at 2:49 PM

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