Monday, November 26, 2007

Night Cycling: Is it safe?

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer 11.26.07:

From the perspective of a cycling motorist two main factors contribute to the difficulty of watching out for cyclists:
1. Many nighttime cyclists are not properly lit. This ranges from cyclists who completely lack lights, to cyclists who are poorly lit, to those who are well lit, but the lighting arrangement is visually confusing.
2. The behavior of many cyclists (night time or not) is often unpredictable from the perspective of a motorist, even this motorist who cycles (or this cyclist who motors). (Read more.)
Interesting and timely blog post from Seattle, featuring charts of local collision reports. Darkness shouldn't discourage bicyclists. Thoughtful caution, responsible riding, and effective lighting make bicycling after dark possible and even enjoyable.

Bicycle headlights have gotten significantly better: more affordable, more efficient, brighter.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Bike commuting in the dark,
Visit: Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, primer on lights by Trek staffer
Visit: Night Cycling, helpful essay by Steven Goodridge
Visit: LED Headlights: Just better and better, Bike Commute Tips Blog
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips


Anonymous said...

I ride to work 5 days a week at night (yes, the graveyard shift). I've found that with a pair of very bright, flashing lights, along with the fewer cars than during the day, I haven't had any problems with visibility.

SiouxGeonz said...

I have been wondering about the statistics myself, since I hear people bemoaning long & hard about our local cyclists who *do* scoot about wearing black, no lights, on the wrong side/right side/ unpredictable wherever in the road... but our injuries & fatalities since I"ve been here have not been skewed towards that population. THe assorted inattention and stupidity factors make it harder to interpret the statistics.
I also ride at night, but well-lit and vehicularly- and on a route with few opportunities for surprises. (I changed it a bit yesterday and realized how good the old route is.) I believe I'm more visible than at dusk and perhaps sometimes at day.

Anonymous said...

I don't use a bicycle headlight, I use a high-powered flashlight mounted on my handlebars with a bracket. It is much brighter than any bike light I have seen, aside from the HID light kits that cost hundreds of dollars. Plus, it is very quick to remove from the bike. Riding with it is almost like having a car headlight on my bike, and it certainly gets attention.