Improving Cyclist Nighttime Visibility With Lights And ReflectorsAvid cyclists wont let a little thing such as light or sun stop them from riding. However, nighttime riding can be dangerous for a cyclist. More accidents occur at night and dusk then any other time. Protecting yourself by making you and your bike more visible to others is a must for any nighttime rider.
Nighttime Cycle AccidentsIt does not take a genius to figure out that riding at night is going to increase the chance of accidents for cyclists. Drivers of motor vehicles are often unaware of cyclists in the daytime. Decreased light adds to the lack of visibility of cyclist, making them even more vulnerable to being hit.
- Fewer cyclists at night. Not as many bicycle riders are out at night so drivers are not looking for cyclists to be out.
- More cyclist fatalities at night. Even though less riders are out, more are killed is the dusk to evening hours than any other times. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report 29% of fatalities between 4pm-8pm and 19% between 8pm-11.59pm, both higher than any other 4-hour period in the day.
Reflective ClothingIf you are going to ride at night, dusk or dawn, make sure you take the proper precautions and make yourself as visible as possible. However, what you think is visible and what drivers can actually see may be two different things. A study published in the Journal of Australasian College of Road Safety in 2010 found that certain types clothing and reflectors on cyclists worked better than others for detection by motor vehicle drivers. Some of the findings were:
- Fluorescent clothing is not as visible as reflective. The danger is that cyclist may think that wearing a fluorescent vest or clothing makes them visible but in the study, only 15% of the drivers saw the cyclists wearing fluorescent vests. Reflective vests were seen by 50% of the drivers.
- Adding leg reflectors increases visibility. The highest visibility was by cyclists that wore a reflective vest and reflectors on their knees and ankles. 90% of drivers were able to recognize cyclists with this combination.