Commuting 101: Know the dangers of cycling at night

In a recent article at www.seattlepi.com the question is raised:

Night Cycling: Is it Safe?

This time of year many commuters will find themselves commuting in the dark both to and from the office, so the questions is raised… are you in more danger?

The article cites a study that is, unfortunately, almost 15 years old. However it clearly shows that more accidents happen at twilight and dark hours than other times of the day.

bike collisions at night

Also cited is this bit from the Edgewater, FL Bicycle Safety page of their website:

Nearly 60 per cent of all adult fatal bicycle accidents in Florida occur during twilight and night hours although less than three percent of bicycle use takes place at that time.
Many factors compound the danger of riding at night, such as:
-Motorists driving under the influence of drugs/alcohol.
-Motorist’s ability to see what is ahead is limited to the area illuminated by headlights. Visibility is further reduced by the glare from lights of oncoming vehicles.

The major problem occurs when the sun is already low in the sky when you head home at 5pm and the roads are at their highest peak of congestion.

Here’s a few ideas to stay safe:

  • Leave early or stay late – See if you can get permission to change up your work hours by thirty minutes to an hour. This will allow you to commute when the roads are less congested.
  • Use plenty of lights and reflective material – Buy some blinky lights. Get reflective tape. Do whatever you can to stay visible to drivers.
  • Take alternate routes – Use our guide to finding the perfect route on Google Maps and find yourself a safer route to and from the office that keeps you offer major roads.
  • Know when to say ‘no’ – There are conditions that I just won’t ride my bike in. If the traffic is congested, the weather is wet and the sun is down you may want to opt for your car or public transportation. It’s not worth your life.

What other things do you do to stay safe this time of year?

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