Night time bicycling is encouraged to serious cyclists because it helps establish a need for safer cycling activities on a roadway in a community. The more that night time bicycling occurs, the more people within your community will recognize that cyclists are present and night time bicycling is an activity within their community.
But night time bicycling can be quite dangerous if not done in a correct manner. Night time bicycling shouldn’t have to be dangerous at all in a cyclist’s perfect world – however this is not perfect world especially for cyclists. But there are ways you can make your night time bicycling trips a lot safer and still enjoy the aspects of night time bicycling and riding of all hours of the day and night.
Night time bicycling should be a fun experience not a dangerous one!
Be careful when bicycling a night and do so by following the Safety Guide and tips below…
Night Time Bicycling Safety Guide
Make yourself visible – The most important aspect of night time bicycling safety is that others, especially drivers, see you cycling on the road. You need to make yourself as visible as you possibly can when night time bicycling with actual motor vehicles. You can do this by following the tips below:
- LIGHTS – Install lights on your bicycle. The cheap lights that you can get from most ordinary retailers such as Wal-Mart are legal for the road but they may not be bright enough for your night time bicycling activities. I would recommend spending the most on lighting for your bicycle and through an actual local bike shop or internet-based bike retailer store. The goal here is to get lights where others can see you miles away before even getting to you. That will give drivers plenty of time to slow down and avoid running you over when night time bicycling.
- APPAREL – Wear apparel made in a way that it reflects off of lighting. When night time bicycling, don’t ever think that your power light system is enough. You should also be wearing reflective clothing that makes you completely visible when light hits you. You could purchase a reflective work vest and wear it. There are also options for cycling shorts, pants, jerseys and jackets with reflective logos and details in them – get and wear apparel like that so people will see you on the road when night time bicycling.
Choose safe route – When you are night time bicycling, you should be doing so on a safe riding route. You might want to drive (in a car) the route you wish to ride on during the night to get an idea of what the traffic is like, if there is a lot of room for riding and so on. This will allow you to plan accordingly for your night time bicycling events. You should also follow these tips on choosing a safe riding route:
- RIGHT – Remember to always stay to the right when night time bicycling as you would when day time bicycling. The right hand side is the universal riding area for most cyclists in most regions and communities. If traffic is slow, then be slow with it because trying to pass people in a vehicle that isn’t as easy to see in the rearview mirror as a car could turn into a death wish. You have a right to be on the road as much as anyone else but you also have the right to use caution when on the road and survive each ride.
- LANES – If you can find a night time bicycling route when bike lanes, paths and trails – then use that route! Bicycle-specific lanes and routes were made to make your riding activities safer. Sure, being on the road with motor vehicles is a rush and is your right but bicycle lanes and paths will give you even more extra protection especially during the night. You might also note that a community may require you to ride on bicycle-specific routes by law and failing to do so could mean getting a citation. Check with your local bicycling ordinances before riding your bike on the road.
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Keep your cool – When you are night time bicycling, every driver on the road isn’t going to understand your rights to be on the road as much as they can be on the road. Some vehicle drivers will likely be frustrated that you are on the roadway. Some of these people are uneducated about the rights of a cyclist. They might even scream at you and do other things as well. You should always remain calm and follow these tips, too:
- RAGE – Road rage is quite possible when night time bicycling around people who are frustrated about it. Whensomeone gets road rage, they often drive aggressively and illegally and place everyone around them (including their selves) in immediate danger. As a cyclist, you are much smaller than them and more vulnerable to serious injuries or even death if they were to hit you with their vehicle. The best way to deal with someone who has road rage is to back off and get away from them. Once you are away from them, they will likely calm down and return to a normal non-aggressive state of mind. Always know your laws on personal protection! For example, if you live in a bad neighborhood and you have the right to carry a concealed weapon – that concealed weapon could one day save your life.
- VIDEO – Many road cyclists these days are starting to record their entire ride, especially night time bicycling rides. Go Pro is a common camera that many cyclists are going with when wanting to record their bicycling activities. I advocate videoing your bike rides for two reasons: One, it makes for a great blog or viewing for those who love cycling just as much as you do. Two, if you catch a driver being stupid and committing a crime, you can use the video to get them prosecuted for doing so. Many people will also likely back off from being aggressive towards you if they realize that you are video recording them.
Thanks for reading my article about night time bicycling. I hope you have enjoyed reading it and I hope it helps to make your night time bicycling activities a lot safer as well. If you have enjoyed reading these tips and guidelines, please show your support to me for writing them. You can do this by sharing this article with other cyclists that you know as well as posting a link to it on your favorite social media outlets. Please follow this blog on Twitter for more tips about night time bicycling and beyond!
Your turn to speak! Do you ride your bicycle at night at all? What other tips would you add to this list in terms of night time bicycling?
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