According to the NHTSA, regardless of the season, most bicyclist deaths occurred between 6 pm and 9 pm. So, if there’s a choice between riding your bicycle during the day or night, it’s best to do it when the sun is still out.
That said, a cycling enthusiast would find themselves taking their ten-speed out for a spin at night eventually. Whether you prefer the night air or you can only ride at night for some reason, it’s vital to prepare yourself for the dangers of riding in the dark.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind if you must ride your trusty two-wheeled steed in the night’s embrace.
1. Light It Up
When night cycling, you should always gear up for safe riding as you would during the day. That means wearing a helmet, riding a properly maintained bike, etc.
With that in mind, there are certain must-haves that you may not need as much in the daytime but becomes a crucial necessity at night. Obviously, one of them is a good set of lights.
Most states require a white front light and a red rear light/reflector for biking at night and limited visibility conditions. It’s worth investing in good quality lights with high lumens and a large battery capacity. Don’t forget to carry backup lights in case one of your primary light sources fail.
2. Wear Reflective Warm Clothing
Clothing should serve the dual purpose of keeping you warm and visible at night. One of the best tips on choosing high visibility clothing is to wear a climate-appropriate outfit. Apparel that features reflective elements on areas with lots of movement, like the ankles, is excellent for night riding.
Don’t make the mistake of overestimating your visibility at night or underestimating how chilly the night air can get.
3. Plan Your Route Before Pedaling
The tracks you know like the back of your hand during the day may appear strange and alien at night. Intersections can confuse you, and dependable landmarks often hide in the cover of darkness.
Don’t plan to take on unfamiliar roads or anything too ambitious. If you think you’re lost, make sure to have a GPS app on your smartphone to guide you to the correct path.
4. Defensive Driving Safety Tips
Whatever vehicle you find yourself in, always follow the fundamental rules of the road. Obey the street signs, road markings, and signals, same as when driving a car. Always be focused, alert, and aware of the traffic around you.
Pedal in the same direction as traffic to avoid startling oncoming drivers with your front light. Also, avoid distractions, such as texting or listening to music, that can take your attention away from the road.
5. Inform Someone About Your Ride or Bring a Buddy
If you’re going to be riding solo, you should always let someone know where you’re going and how long you’re expecting to be out. In case you run into an accident at night, only a few people can notice your predicament and offer help.
Riding with numbers is the safest way to tackle the night trip. With a buddy or a group, you can help each other in case you run into trouble.
Enjoy Safe Cycling at Night
An evening joyride is much more pleasurable if you’re secure about your welfare while you’re out there pedaling. Follow the safety tips in this article to get your miles and get back home in good health.
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