At this time of year, the days are so short, and even in the daytime it can be murky enough to make visibility very limited. With that in mind I am constantly amazed how many cyclists I see who have no apparent regard for their own (or others) safety. You see them riding along main roads with no lights or bright coloured / hi-vis clothing so essentially they are, at times, invisible. You may think that you can see ok when you are riding your bike like this, but the important thing is – can others see you? You can’t really place the blame on a vehicle driver for knocking you off your bike if they can’t even see you.
The question you need to ask yourselves is – ‘how much is your life worth?’ Spending £10.00 – £20.00 on a set of lights and a hi-vis vest or reflective bands is a wise investment that could just save that life, and make sure that you get home safely to your family rather than ending up as a statistic on a government chart. See Highway Code Rule 59, which states:
“Clothing. You should wear
- a cycle helmet which conforms to current regulations, is the correct size and securely fastened
- appropriate clothes for cycling. Avoid clothes which may get tangled in the chain, or in a wheel or may obscure your lights
- light-coloured or fluorescent clothing which helps other road users to see you in daylight and poor light
- reflective clothing and/or accessories (belt, arm or ankle bands) in the dark.”
When you fit lights to your bike, please make sure that they are positioned so that they can be easily seen, but adjusted so that they are not shining directly into the face of oncoming motorists – some of these new LED lights are so bright that they can easily dazzle drivers or other riders, which can be just as dangerous as not having lights. The Highway Code Rule 60 for Cyclists states:
“At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1st October 1985). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.”
There is an old saying which sums all of this up very nicely – ‘SEE AND BE SEEN’
We have just re-stocked with lights for the winter season and also the all-important skull cap (worn under the helmet to keep those ears warm!).
Ride safe, everyone.