Cycling in the nighttime is going to be even more of an occurrence now that the time is changing. While it may seem hazardous – and it is – you can safely cycle at night with the right know-how. Below are the best tips and tricks to help you stay safe when you are cycling at night.
Lighted Bike Paths
Not all cities have them, but if yours does, use it! Cyclists don’t need much more gear than they’re used to in order to use these paths. Read the signs before entering the path to find out if the lights run all night or if they shut off at 10 or 11 PM.
Wear Sunglasses At Night
Or safety glasses – whichever you prefer. Weird looking? Totally – but you will stay safer. Clear is the best choice. If you don’t have a pair of clear, cycling-specific glasses, a cheap pair of clear safety glasses picked up from an auto parts or hardware store will work as well.
Be A Vigilante
If you thought playing in traffic in broad daylight was scary, night riding is a whole new ballgame. If you ride a high end road or mountain bike, the mechanic at the shop you bought it from no doubt removed all of the reflectors long before you bought it. If your bike is a frame-up build, it’s probably never been within 2 feet of reflectors unless you parked it next to someone’s single-speed KMart special at the bar one night. If you’re used to riding around in cruise mode during the day, switch to everything-is-trying-to-kill-me mode when you ride after sunset. If this is your first night cycling rodeo, go slow and keep your eyes open for unexpected obstacles, bumps in the road, potholes, and other obstructions.
Add Reflective Tape To Everything
Add reflective tape to every single thing. I’m talking about everything: Yourself, your shoe backs, your backpack, your helmet, your bike – and any other thing that could be seen at night. Seriously, you may light up like a Christmas tree, but you will be a lot safer than cycling without it.
Remember “failing to plan is planning to fail” from middle school? Well it’s back with a vengeance now that you’re all grown up and have taken to riding your bicycle to work. So far these tips focus on what to do if you find yourself staring down an unplanned riding-at-night situation. A stop at a nearby hardware store on your lunch break will get you kitted out with the basics, stuff that will help you survive your unplanned night ride. Use Google to find a bike path, hopefully lighted, and make sure you’re covered in reflective tape, wearing the right glasses, and prepared for the unexpected while you ride.