Safety Tips For Cycling After Dark
Riding your bike after dark can be very dangerous because you are less visible to vehicles. If you are going to be riding after dark, there are some safety tips that you need to know about that can help. Some of these tips might seem like common sense, but there are many people who forgo them with dire consequences.
The most important safety tool you can have when riding your bike at night will be lights. Good lights will help in a number of ways as they will light the path for you and show that you are coming to oncoming traffic. Fortunately, there are now a lot of very bright and long-lasting lights that you can get.
LED lights are recommended as they will last the longest and they offer the best light for you. You can get lights that are connected to your front wheel and only turn on when you start cycling. You can also get a fixed battery operated light that will be on regardless of the movement of the bicycle.
If you are going to be away from the city lights while cycling, you need to ensure that your light is bright enough to illuminate the country lanes. You also need to have a bright rear light that will alert people behind you to your presence. It is also recommended that you carry a backup light for both the front and rear light as you never know when something will happen to them.
Use Reflectors And Reflective Clothing
While lights are very important, you should never underestimate the benefits that come from reflectors and reflective clothing. The clothing that you wear can play a large role in how safe you are at night. Fortunately, there are a lot of reflective jackets that you can get which have been designed with cyclists in mind.
Reflective clothing will catch the light from car headlights and alert drivers to your location. This is vital if you want to stay safe. However, you should look at combining this clothing with reflectors on your bicycle.
Research has found that the up and down motion of your pedals will catch the eye of a motorist more than a single reflective stripe on the back of your jacket. This means that you should look into getting reflective pedals for your bike or look at wearing reflective ankle bands and overshoes. You can also get some reflective tape to place on your bicycle with the mudguards being a great place to start.
Plan Your Route
While cycling to unknown destinations can be exciting, you should leave this for when you cycle during the day. When you cycle at night, you should take the time to plan your route properly. This will ensure that you know where you are going, know where the trouble sections will be and can ensure that your lights have enough juice.
When you plan your night route, you should try sticking to roads that are well surfaced. Avoid any roads that have a lot of potholes and are poorly surfaced as this increases the danger of cycling. You should also consider planning your route to include roads that are well lit as they ensure that others will see you.
Ride In A Group
Another safety tip that you should consider is riding in a group or with a partner. There is always safety in numbers and riding with others will give you an incentive to go out. You will also be more motivated to ride in the dark when you have other people to spend time with.
Another benefit of riding in a group is the fact that there will always be someone who can help with mechanical issues. In a group, there will always be someone who has the tools that you need if you have forgotten something,
Have The Right Bike
Many people do not realize that the bike you are using will impact the safety of your night ride. The best bicycle to use for your night ride will be the bike that you are most comfortable with. However, this does not mean that you should be using the racer that you love.
The best bicycle for a night ride will actually be one that you could afford to crash and lose. This is something that can happen when you are riding at night and you do not want to write off a bike that cost you hundreds. The bike that you should look at riding is one that has older components, fatter than usual tires and fender mounts.
Fatter tires are will also soak up any unexpected bumps on the road which could throw you when you have thinner tires. As you are going to be tired during the night ride, the fatter tires will also provide you with an extra cushion. This will actually go a long way to making the ride more enjoyable and something that you will want to do again.
While having lights from Outbound Lighting, wearing reflective clothing and planning ahead will help you stay safe, there is nothing better than being vigilant. When you cycling in the day, you will be aware of the other road users, but this is something that you need to focus on during a night ride. The flashes of movement that you are used to looking out for during the day will not be present at night.
This means that you need to pay attention more as you will have less time to react to animals and other hazards. Keeping your eyes on the road is also important because road hazards can come out of nowhere in the dark. You also need to pay more attention to the cars and other vehicles on the road as they may not see you in the dark.
There are a lot of safety tips that you can use to ensure that your night ride is an enjoyable one. You should look at getting lights, reflectors, and the right bike. You also need to be aware of your surroundings and take the time to plan your route.