Cycling at Night Safety Tips Everyone Should Follow

For half the year the sun sets ear­li­er. For cyclists, that means less light and an entire hour of lost sun­light. Night cycling safe­ty is not some­thing to take for grant­ed. Fol­low these four basic tips for night­time rid­ing that will keep you safe.

Buy the Right Lights
If you are rou­tine­ly com­mut­ing in the ear­ly morn­ing or lat­er at night, hav­ing the appro­pri­ate lights is impor­tant. You want at least one LED head­light and one tail light, though buy­ing at least one extra is nev­er a bad idea.

One method is to attach two reflec­tors on a back­pack. Place one reflec­tor under­neath the sad­dle, and anoth­er on the back of your hel­met. This way speed­ing cars with low vis­i­bil­i­ty under­stand that you’re on the road with them. Also keep in mind, that it’s like­ly ille­gal in your area to ride a bike at night with­out some type of lights. For addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion, con­tact your local police depart­ment and ask about local night time rid­ing laws.

Ride Defen­sive­ly
Wear­ing a bicy­cle hel­met any­time you’re out on the road ped­al­ing. Truth be told, rid­ers need more than that when rid­ing at night. Assume the cars on the road can’t see you, and always be pre­pared to antic­i­pate their actions.

It’s large­ly up to you to keep safe while rid­ing at night, so learn the rules of the road and main­tain a safe rid­ing style.

Get the Gear
It might cost some mon­ey upfront, but pur­chas­ing a reflec­tive jack­et, and a com­muter bag with reflec­tive strips, is very much like the airbags and seat­belts in a car — it’s a cost of safe­ty for that mode of trans­porta­tion. This mate­r­i­al makes it eas­i­er for cars to see you at night and can make a sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence in pedes­tri­ans and oth­er cyclists.

No Music
It’s dark out and you should avoid as many dis­trac­tions as pos­si­ble while rid­ing. Music dis­turbs your sense of bal­ance and con­trol at night, as your vision is lim­it­ed already.

For avid bike com­muters, a tran­si­tion to lat­er morn­ings and ear­li­er nights prob­a­bly isn’t a big deal. How­ev­er, casu­al com­muters need to be aware of the inher­ent risks involved. Prac­tic­ing your ride either as the sun comes up or right as it goes down, can help you feel more con­fi­dent. Work on dif­fer­ent, safer routes home, and remem­ber to be smart and be safe!