How to Stay Safe While Biking at Night
, by Chas Waters, 7 min reading time
, by Chas Waters, 7 min reading time
Staying safe while biking at night should be a top priority so you can ensure a great ride while avoiding some of the risks that come with night riding.
Biking at night presents a few heightened dangers when compared to a daytime ride. Riding in the dark makes it harder for drivers to see you on your bike, and they may also be less attentive than during the daytime. The reduced visibility also impacts you as a biker because you may struggle to see potholes in the road or other debris that can damage a tire or throw you from the bike.
Alternatively, there are fewer cars out at night. This can make riding at night simpler because you’re not fighting rush-hour traffic and bustling roads. Depending on the area you live in, you may find that night rides offer a more relaxing experience with the open road and the moon as your guide.
If you commute to work or only have your evenings free to exercise, biking at night may be your only option. With the right equipment for yourself and your bike, you can improve your safety when biking at night.
Biking in the dark requires some advanced planning for a safe and enjoyable ride. You’ll benefit from having reflective riding gear and lights on several different places of your body and bike. Apart from safety equipment, it’s also essential to plan out a route you know well and feel comfortable riding at night.
Here are nine tips that can help keep you safe while riding at night:
More lights are better when it comes to biking in the dark. Lights help you stay safe by increasing your field of vision, and they also serve to make you as visible as possible to motorists sharing the road.
Secure a solid-white, wide-angled LED light to the front of your bike on the handlebars with the light pointed toward the ground. If your front light is angled upward, you can create a dangerous situation by inhibiting an oncoming driver’s vision. You should also have a blinking red light attached to the back of your bike to ensure others see you from all directions. LED lights are the most reliable option because they’re bright and energy-efficient.
Attach lights onto your helmet to enhance your vision when you need to go around turns or move your head to look at something. Helmet lights serve as dynamic lighting that help you see in whichever direction you’re looking. You can use adhesive lights and apply them directly to your helmet or purchase a helmet with built-in lamps.
Reflective clothing helps drivers see bikers at night, and it’s vital to have reflective gear on your ankles and knees. A study found that drivers identify 94% of bikers if they have reflective gear on their knees and ankles, since those are the most mobile body parts while you’re biking.
A cost-efficient method of increasing your visibility on a bike is to purchase reflective duct tape. You can apply the tape to your shoes and knee areas, as well as the sides of your bike, to maximize the chance of drivers seeing you on the road. You can also find reflective gear designed for these body parts if you don’t want to use tape.
Reflective shirts and pants can also increase your safety. The more reflective gear you wear and put on your bike, the better the chance that drivers see you and you remain safe.
You should always expect the unexpected when it comes to biking, especially at night, so you’re not stuck somewhere. Bring an emergency repair kit with you on your rides so you can fix any issues as they arise. A kit should have a multi-tool, a spare inner tube, an air pump and a high-lumen LED flashlight so you can get back to your ride as soon as possible.
There’s safety in numbers, and night rides are no exception. Biking with a partner or a group also provides the benefit of additional help in the case of a mechanical issue and more eyes to alert you to oncoming traffic or road debris.
It may seem like a good idea to hug the curb while riding in the dark, but this can lead to drivers passing you when it’s not safe to do so. Bikers and motorists have the same rights to be on the road, so you are allowed to ride in the middle of the road if it seems safer. Sticking to the middle of the road is safer when going around turns because it allows drivers to see you earlier than if the curve obscured you from sight.
Bike safety technology continues to develop, and utilizing new tech can ensure you’re biking as safely as possible. There are radar systems that attach to your bike and alert you when vehicles are approaching from behind so you can stay alert. There are also turn signal gloves that light up and help to communicate to motorists which direction you’re going. These are especially helpful at night when drivers may not be able to see your hands.
You can also purchase a crash sensor that attaches to your helmet and automatically alerts your emergency contact to notify them you were in an accident.
Plan out the route you want to take before your ride. Aim to travel roads that don’t have much traffic at night and are well-lit at the time you’ll be biking. It’s best to stick to paths you know well, so potholes and other dangerous conditions don’t surprise you at night. If possible, you should try out the route during the day to make sure you feel comfortable riding it at night.
Many bike accidents occur because bikers or motorists weren’t obeying traffic laws. Do your part by stopping at stoplights and signs, and try not to weave around vehicles. If you’re making a turn, you should communicate your movement to any drivers around you through hand signs and even by yelling out the direction.
You can reduce the chances of mechanical failure by keeping your bike in good shape with pre-ride inspections and high-quality parts. Changing a tire in the dark can be dangerous because of motorists, but it also makes you a target for muggings or other street violence. Take care of your bike and make sure it’s always safe to ride.
At Panther Vision, we’re passionate about creating the newest and brightest lighting technology that improves lives and keeps people safe. You can mitigate the dangers of biking at night with our innovative lighting solutions that brighten the road and make you visible to drivers. We back all our products with a limited lifetime warranty and will replace a product free of charge if it ever fails.
Browse our inventory today and discover how Panther Vision can make biking at night safer.