Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Night Riders: 5 Tips for Cycling During the Night

Night riding requires special safety precautions. Visibility is paramount and the general rule is the more visibility aids the better. You might feel a little like an out of season Christmas tree, but being well lit up is really important. Lights, reflectors and reflective clothing should all be part of your night riding kit out. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot to ensure you are highly visible to other vehicles. Lights and reflective products are well priced and readily available, click here for some examples.

Basically, the more lights you have the safer you will be. Car and truck drivers using the road at night are not looking for, or expecting, cyclists. It is imperative to make sure you don’t go unnoticed. Many people who commute to work on a bike will find themselves travelling home during the dark in the winter months. Shorter days can also see cycling enthusiasts training in the early morning while it is still dark. Don’t put it off, get your bike prepared for night riding.

A single headlamp is required by law as is a red rear reflector, but these are not nearly enough to ensure your visibility. You can add a red light to the rear of your bike. A blinking light works well at attracting attention from motorists. These have become very popular due to their effectiveness. It is important to remember that red lights should be at the rear only. A red taillight or red lights on your backpack or jersey should always be at the back. Just like with a car, red lights are for the rear and white lights for the front. This helps other drivers know if you are heading towards them or away from them.
Another great addition is a headlamp on your helmet. This should complement and not replace the headlamp on the front of your bike. A helmet light has the added advantage of improving your vision as it will follow the movement of your head.


Adding reflectors to your bike is a cheap and effective visibility aid. Place white or yellow reflectors on your pedals and also on your wheel spokes.

Reflective Clothing

Reflective clothing is an excellent safety aid for night riders. You can purchase a reflective vest to wear over your normal clothing. There are also vests available featuring LED lights. Jerseys with reflective sleeves are available for use in cooler weather. You can also wear reflective wrist bands and ankle bands to increase your visibility and you can wear something reflective on your shoes. The movement of your feet will help catch the eye of motorists.

Watch Where You’re Going
The other important thing to consider with night riding is your vision. A headlamp on the handlebars will move with the handlebars and shine in the direction you are going. This is good but it also means you can’t see outside the turning radius of your handlebars. This is where a helmet mounted light can help. Stay focused and keep your eyes on the road, looking around is not a good pastime for night riders.
Do you ride at night time? Leave your riding tips in the comments below.

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