When it gets dark outside earlier, it becomes even more important for persons on foot or on the back of a bicycle to make themselves visible to motor vehicle operators. If you ride your bike home around 6 o’clock, for instance, then in the summer you can be secure in the knowledge that the sun will illuminate your path. In the winter, though, that same journey can prove perilous if drivers are unable to pick out your bicycle from the environment in front of them.
The city of Santa Barbara is particularly concerned about this danger, and officials are trying to do something about it. In fact, they recently came together with an organization called the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition to hand out LED lights to riders in the area, the thought being that those persons could use the lights to denote their presence on the roadway.
In Santa Barbara, this issue carries particular import given that half of the city’s six traffic fatalities that took place over the last year and a half involved a cyclist being killed at night upon getting hit by an automobile, according to a police sergeant with the city. However, Santa Barbara is far from the only place where precautions must be taken. If you live anywhere in California and you find yourself out riding at night, then consider some of the tips on hand in a new report.
As hinted at above, visibility is going to be essential when daylight is at a premium. If a driver can’t see you, he or she can’t possibly take evasive maneuvers to avoid hitting you until it’s too light. Therefore, bright clothing is a must, as are reflectors that will catch headlight beams and direct them back toward the driver. So that you’re picked out at an even greater distance, invest in some lights that you can place on the front, back, and sides of your bicycle. For the front, consider a headlamp that displays the road in front of you and causes drivers not to ever mistake your presence.
The same rules that come to bear during the day become essential at night. A helmet is an absolute necessity, as is riding in a manner that adheres to the law. You have to act like a motor vehicle when you’re riding your bike, sticking on the right side of traffic and respecting all street signs.
Of course, drivers have a role to play as well. Grime should be cleared from windshields so that you can always see the road around you, and you should pay close attention to your surroundings at intersections in particular. That means that your cellphone must remain out of reach, and if you ever come upon a bike as you’re turning right, let the cyclist go first before you execute your turn.