It’s easy to understand why cycling at night might be dangerous. As a rider, you are always somewhat at the mercy of drivers. When it’s hard to see, the risk of someone running into you goes way up. Still, you don’t have to give up on nighttime rides to stay safe. Here are a few ideas on how to protect yourself.
4 Safety Tips for Cycling at Night
- Be smart about your route: Most cycling accidents happen on high-speed urban roads. People driving quickly at night are less likely to be paying close attention. This can be dangerous, even if you are taking other safety precautions. You might want to stick to slower areas where there are bike lanes and more cautious drivers.
- Wear reflective clothing: Reflective clothing might be less effective than some of the other tips on this list, but it could still give you a safety edge on the road. Having a few reflectors on your bike or clothing will reflect the light of car headlights and make you more visible to approaching motorists.
- Light your bike: Put a bright red light on both the front and back of your bike. This is the most essential part of the safety equation. It’s the biker’s equivalent of headlights. Many cyclists have a light on the front, but the back is just as important. The League of American Bicyclists reports that more than 40 percent of bicycle crashes happen when a car hits a cyclist from the back.
- Slow down a bit: One of the best things you can do at night is take is slow. In addition to worrying about cars hitting you, don’t forget that you will have trouble seeing too. Riding slowly will give you time to see obstacles ahead. You wouldn’t want to take a bad fall in the dark.
Of course, it shouldn’t take so much work just to stay safe on the road. Hopefully, as our communities become more aware of cyclists, our roads will get safer and provide better options for people to ride without so many worries. In the meantime, taking the right safety precautions will help you ride with peace of mind.
Frederick M. Dudek is a San Diego personal injury lawyer and cycling enthusiast who fights passionately on behalf of his fellow cyclists.