Safety tips when cycling and commuting in the dark
Cycling in the dark can be daunting at first, especially if you have never ridden at night before. You can be fearful of cars approaching behind and in front of you, as there have been so many cases of cycling accidents.
However, our safety tips for cycling in the dark should help to ease any nerves and prepare you to head out on a safe bike ride.
Ride where you can be seen
A great tip, but one many forget. Riding where you can be seen is often forgotten about, with many bikers assuming vehicles will be able to see them anywhere on the road. This is not necessarily the case all the time.
Think about where drivers are paying most attention to. They’re focusing on the road straight ahead, so it’s a good idea to ride a little further out from the pavement so they can catch you in their vision with plenty of time to make a plan to avoid you.
By law, vehicles are allowed to pass you on the road providing they leave you with plenty of room, and they must make sure to check their side mirrors to see if you’re visible through them. From this, they know you are clear from their vehicle and not in danger.
Wear hi-visibility clothing
If riders decide not to wear any hi-visibility clothing or hide on the road, it can be difficult for drivers to spot them. This is how many accidents can happen as there is no visible communication from either side, and this can be resolved very quickly.
Dressing appropriately when riding a bike is key to your safety, especially at night. There are many shops that will sell fluorescent clothing such as jackets, shorts and t-shirts, all for reasonable prices so you don’t have to spend too much money.
Wearing bright coloured clothing will help keep you safe as drivers will be able to see you from many yards away, and it will prompt them to be wary of you.
You can also buy reflective accessories for all over your body, even on your ankles, wrists and back which is beneficial.
Add reflectors to your bike
Following on from our previous tip, we can’t stress enough how important it is to be visible to drivers on the road, especially in the dark. Adding reflectors to your bike will further increase your visibility on the road, and instantly show a warning to drivers that there’s a cyclist ahead.
Rule 60 of the Highway Code states that anyone cycling at night must have a white reflector on the front, a red reflector on the rear and pedal reflectors. It is also advised that steady front lamps are used when riding in areas without street lighting, and that flashing lights are permitted if required.
Stick on reflectors are also handy to have when the weather isn’t great too, such as when it’s foggy or snowing. Difficult weather conditions such as these can be scary for both cyclists and drivers, as neither one wants to hit the other by accident. A recent case study has shown that the majority of cycling accidents occur because of torrential weather and the fact that a cyclist or driver failed to see one another on the road.
This further highlights the increasing need for bikers to wear reflective clothing whilst riding their bike as it will help keep you safe and provide awareness to oncoming vehicles. You can purchase them from most shops especially bike stores, so before you decide to go on a bike ride, ensure you have the correct gear to enhance your visibility on the road.
Let someone know where you’re going
Another simple yet easily forgotten tip riders forget when they’re on the road is letting someone know where they’re going. Too many occurrences happen where a rider doesn’t signal on the road which can lead to confusion for a driver either behind or heading towards you. Cyclists who do this are 100% in the wrong, as it massively increases the chance of a collision to occur.
When you’re cycling on the road you must obey the traffic laws and ride predictably so vehicles know where you’re going. If you start to swerve on the road and cut in between cars, there is a very good chance drivers will not be able to see you and further increasing the odds of an accident happening. Be aware that drivers have blind spots, especially those who drive large vehicles such as trucks, and it can be difficult to see what’s behind them.
If you’re unsure of traffic laws and how to ride your bike properly whilst you’re surrounded by cars, then we strongly urge you to check out a road safety bike course. Cycling is an important life skill to have, so gaining extra knowledge will go a long way to keeping you safe commuting in the dark.
Ride with caution
When you’re commuting in the dark, you must ride with caution as sometimes drivers may be in a rush to get to work in the morning, or going home in the evening. The majority of cyclists commute in the dark during the spring and summer months as it’s usually brighter for longer periods of the day. But it still doesn’t stop them from being extra cautious cycling on the road.
If you’re new to venturing in the night in unknown terrain, you’ve got to be steady and take your time. Keep a look out for hazard warnings and stick to roads you are familiar with so you’ll feel more comfortable and less nervous. However, if you do remain on the roads you know, don’t assume it looks the same at night as it will look very different to what it does in the day.
This might appear as a ‘common sense’ tip however, it’s essential to be aware of your surroundings, especially when you can’t see where you are clearly.
If you’ve noted our tips down and are ready to commute in the dark, be sure to check out our fantastic eBikes. The Avaris eBike is luxurious without the luxury price tag, it’s the slickest and most affordable model on the market.