Riding is a great thing to do day or night. When biking after dark, though, you should illuminate your ride with lights.
- Riding with lights when it’s dark makes cyclists much more visible and gives other traffic much more time to see and react to you. Don’t just depend on street-lighting to help you see in the dark; use lights and reflective gear to help others see you.
- Biking without lights at night is against the law, and for good reason: It makes the cyclist invisible, putting him or her in danger and increasing other cyclists’, pedestrians’, and motorists’ chances of being involved in a crash with the invisible cyclist.
- Wearing reflective pant-straps, jackets, vests and other gear makes you more visible to others, as does having reflectors on your bike. But reflectors only reflect under certain lighting conditions, and even then they aren’t enough by themselves to be seen at night–particularly on bike paths and other low-light areas.
- Light your bike (or yourself) the same way vehicles have lights: White goes in front, red goes in back.
- LED "blinkie" lights that use re-chargeable AA or AAA batteries are light, inexpensive, and do a great job of making cyclists visible. They may not do a good job of illuminating darkened roads or bike paths. If you need a light that brightens the route ahead of you, look for the new generation of high-power LED lights, powered by rechargeable NIMH batteries.
- A helmet-mounted headlight makes it easy to cast light to the side and alert motorists at intersections.
- Always remember to remove lights after parking your bike in a public place.
- Have some spare time and a creative streak? Visitinstructables.com to find many DIY projects that will light up your ride.
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