Risking Night Rides? How to Bike Safely In the Dark
According to the United States Census Department, commuting by bike has increased over 60 percent in the last decade. In fact, the census shows that over 786,000 people commute by bike. Many of those trips are people going to or coming home from work after dark. If you are one, then you need to take some special precautions to bike safely in the dark.
Get the Right Glasses
It is important to wear glasses to protect your eyes at night. Wearing clear goggles, like many factory and construction workers, wear is the best choice. If you cannot find them for some reason, then consider another light-color choice. Wearing dark glasses at night makes it very difficult to see.
Control Your Speed
While you may be able to see 75 feet with your bike’s headlight when you are standing still. Once you start moving at 30 miles per hour, you move 44 feet in a second. Therefore, your brain gets about a second to process brightly lit road. Your body needs about a half-second to react to what you saw. Therefore, you are only giving yourself about a 22-foot leeway. The best way to compensate is to slow down when you ride at night or you may have to call an experienced injury lawyer because you have been in an accident.
Use an Old Bike & Add Lights
While the newer carbon-frame bikes usually offer a more comfortable ride, that is not true at night. Instead, opt for an older bike as the newer bikes have fewer places to mount lights and reflectors. You definitely need a strong headlight and put reflectors everywhere that you can figure out to put them. In fact, wrap your old frame in reflective tape from the hardware store.
Stick to Bike Paths Where Possible
Many communities have well-lit bike paths, and you should use them whenever possible. Often, you can find a map of these paths in your community online. Find Salt Lake’s best bike paths in our guide to cycling the city. If that is not possible, then check out different paths to determine which ones are best lit by streetlights. If you discover that a streetlight is not working, then call the city the next day so that they can send a crew out to fix it. If you’re bringing a dog along on a night ride, a bike path is the safest place to bike.
Biking is a fun exercise and a great way to get from point A to point B. It is also an economical way to travel. Use these ideas and your own ingenuity to make sure you do it safely.