Improving Cyclist Nighttime Visibility With Lights And Reflectors
Avid 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 Accidents
It 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.
If 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.
Bicycle Reflectors And Lights
Along with clothing, your bicycle needs to be visible as well. Most states now have laws pertaining to lights and reflectors on bicycles. For example, most states will require a front bike light but only a reflector for the rear for night riding. Make sure you know what the bicycle laws are in the state that you are riding in, but you may want to go above the minimum for safety reasons.
While having reflectors on your bike are better than having nothing at all, they are not always visible to drivers. Depending on how a headlight hits them, they may not be visible at all. Using lights are your best option, especially if you do a lot of night riding. Using one on your front and back will give you the best visibility.
By upgrading your gear and bicycle with a few additions, you can make yourself much safer on your next night ride. Although no gear can prevent bicycle accidents
all together, being seen is a huge deterrent. If you don’t believe that, just close your eyes next time you go for a ride!
The above article was prepared by Jonathan Rosenfeld, a personal injury attorney in Chicago and founder of Chicago Bike Injury Lawyers www.chicagobikeinjurylawyers.com
Resources related to nighttime bicycle safety:
There can always be a chance of getting an accident specially if you roam around the streets at night. The chances are, the streets are too dark and hard to see.
Good job on writing such a brilliant post. The first thought you pointed out, which is about reflective bicycle clothing, is certainly very helpful.
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