As the days are getting shorter as winter creeps in, being seen on your bike is more and more important. Soon the work commute will be in the dark, early mornings and evenings will draw in and make it much more important to be on top of your bike maintenance and having the correct set up.
Others, rather than commuting, may enjoy cycling at night. A ride in the dark offroad or down country lanes can be fun and liberating, but obviously has its risks. There are a few things however that can be done to mitigate the risks and make cycling in the dark safer and more fun.
- Have good lights that work, it may sound obvious, but heading out on the bike and realising down the road that the lights have suddenly died be it because the battery has died or a more serious failure is very common, so make sure there is plenty of battery life remaining and that the lights aren’t faulty in any way.
- Carry a backup set of lights. You can purchase small clips on lights that may not throw much light for you to see the road, but are a great backup light so that vehicles can see you. It’s also a good idea to have two rear lights on at all times just in case one fails and you don’t realise.
- Wear clothing that is high viz, or if you really don’t like the high viz you can now get a lot of cycle clothing with reflective strips and piping on it. It is always safer to wear the high viz though!
- Make sure you wear a helmet, a lot of helmets now have a light built into the back, and you can get lights that mount to the front, this means that when you turn your head you can see where you are looking and gives motorists a greater chance of spotting you when the light is up high.
- Try to cycle with at least one other person, a couple of people cycling with lights is a lot more obvious than being alone. If you can’t convince anyone that cycling in the dark is fun or if it’s your work commute then keep in touch with other people, make sure someone knows where you’re going and that your phone is charged and you can get in touch with someone if you have an issue. When you have a breakdown walking home isn’t so bad in daylight, but doing it at night is an ordeal!
If you follow those simple guidelines you’ll find your cycle will be safer and far more fun, there’s nothing like cycling home worrying that a car is going to take you off the road because suddenly you’ve no light and decided not to wear the high viz jacket!