Saturday, November 14, 2009

Light 'Em If You Got 'Em

OK people. We changed the clocks a couple of weeks ago. It is getting dark really early and it isn't going to change anytime soon.


As much as we all like to get upset at motorists for not seeing us, it isn't a good idea to make it even worse for them (and us).

I write this because on my way home tonight I saw probably 20 cyclists on one of the roads I drove. Of them, 2 had lights! 10%! None of them could be easily seen in the dark. I was looking for bikes because it is a really popular route, but even with me paying a lot of attention there were several riders I just could not see until I was almost on them.

Lights are cheap, they are easy to install and they are important! So put them on your bike and use them!


  1. Very wise advice. I wear a reflective vest too (which is not at all stylish, but who cares?) be seen, be safe!

  2. agreed. the first thing i did when i got bici #2 was get lights for her. i also get very nervous riding without a light and i don't have my benign hipster cyst with me. that is very rare, but it does happen occasionally. fortunately, other people tend to have extra hipster cysts to lend to me. thanks guys!

  3. In Germany a bike isn't considered roadworthy unless it has generator lights. Unfortunately in my native UK these are illegal so I have battery lights instead. Only the head of the local cycle club noticed so far.

    So I'm with you on 'be seen, be safe' and I do think it's rather foolhardy not to use lights in the dark...

    But it concerns me that the idea, while laudable, could end up with more 'blame the victim' with drivers using "He wasn't wearing a reflective vest" as an excuse when they hit a cyclist who was using lights. Our children seem to have to use ever more reflective strips on their clothing when they walk to school so "Drivers can see them". I see the point, but if drivers can't see children on a lit road then they shouldn't be driving.

    I'm not knockingpeople who feel wearing hi-viz clothing is essential. I'm in Germany where drivers are used to cyclists.

  4. In Dublin a lot of our Cyclists Ride around with no Lights not even Light Clothing.Some of our Streets the Lighting is bad with sometimes an odd Street has no Lights at all.
    You cannot see them they are so Dark even on the same side of the Road as me, you only notice them when you catch up to them.

    If you could not be bothered to get Batteries for your Bike Light then at least wear something bright.

    The Police in one Area of East Wall Road Mounted a Campaign to catch Cyclists without Lights. They said they are going to give them HIVIZ Vests and tell them if they do not show up at the Local Police Station in 24 Hours with Lights they will be Summonsed and fined.

  5. today we are having huge rains from a Southern Trop storm. It's monsoon like out there. I was driving to work and saw a cyclist. I looked in my rear view after I passed him and he was barely visable in the 8:30AM full on rain light. He was squinting ( he then passed me again at the light and I watched him) and wobbling due to struggling with pedalling uphill in a downpour and had NO lights. I wished he did.

    other than that- I felt happy to see him out there.

  6. Incidentally I would recommend Lights for Joggers. I was going into the City on Nth Strand Road in Dublin last Friday Week at around 5.00pm and it was Pitch Dark with very Heavy Rain Streaming down.

    I wear Glasses and they where badly misted up and every so often I would rub the Water off with my Fingers. At the last second about 1 metre away a Shape Lumbered towards me out of the Darkness,it was a Girl Jogger and I could hardly see her. She was coming towards me against the flow of Traffic and insisting she ran on the Roadway. If she only knew she was inches away from being Pranged by a Bicyclist. I was going to tell her so but she was gone and I was already gone 200 metres further on,so Joggers wear Light Clothing and Lights please.

  7. Lights are not only a legal requirement, they're just good, common sense...

  8. I agree. Although here more than 10% do have lights, there are many who don't. Strangely enough there are also a lot of people who actually have lights on their bikes installed, but don't use them. I tend you ask them "whether they have already noticed that their rear/front light is broken" when I pass by -- although of course it's obvious that they just didn't bother to turn it on...

  9. great advise. i love being visible. i use reflective vests also!!

    peace :)