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Old 09-01-05, 11:24 AM   #1
foofoosmoo
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I am curious as to whether any of yo uhave experience riding bikes at dark? As fall approaches and the hours shorten thisi is becoming an issue?
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Old 09-01-05, 11:30 AM   #2
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The cited crash happened at dusk which is far more dangerous than night-time.
In the dark, a decent lighting system and reflectors make you highly visible. In my experience, as long as you are sensible, night-time riding is no more dangerous than day-time riding.
At dusk, your lights and reflectors are not effective. With a low sun (and worse, a wet road) you can be impossible to see unless the driver is particularly bike-aware.
I often wait for the sun to set before heading off, to avoid the dangers of dusk.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:32 AM   #3
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I work shift work and I find the best time to ride is coming home afterwork ( 11:30 ) in the evening. All the clowns with their coffee and cell phones are safely tucked in their beds were they can't hurt anybody. Its a lot cooler and quieter in the evening. Just my 2 cents worth.
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Old 09-01-05, 11:33 AM   #4
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Riding in the dark maybe safer than daylight riding. There's not as much traffic. If you are lit up properly, ie headlights and blue and red rear flashing halogens, maybe a reflective vest, you will be very visible.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:09 PM   #5
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It is not stupid, but it can be more dangerous. Being well lit and having a good system to allow you to see the road will help, but background lighting and glare are also problems. Avoid areas with lots of distracting background lighting such as shopping centers and busy intersections.

Ride cautiously.

There is no such thing as too much lighting.
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Old 09-01-05, 12:18 PM   #6
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I feel very safe on my commute between 3:45 and 4:45 in the morning.

No too many people out...even the donut shops are still closed.

For the busier ride home, the advice above is good. Use enough lights and reflectors to be seen, then add some.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:09 PM   #7
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I use good front and rear lights, as well as a couple large automotive reflectors on the back. I've never had any problems riding at night.

See
http://www.humantransport.org/bicycl...hts/lights.htm
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Old 09-01-05, 01:27 PM   #8
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As a night person, I do the overwhelming majority of riding at night, usually after midnight. My personal experience is that it is safer than daytime riding for the simple fact that there are much fewer cars on the road, and because my lights make me more visible from a greater distance than I would be on the same roads during daylight hours. As a result, I find that I am given much wider berth by passing cars at night vs. "just enough" room during the day.

This is traffic-congested suburban Raleigh, North Carolina. Your mileage may vary.

-Bob
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Old 09-01-05, 01:29 PM   #9
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Riding in the dark is just like riding during the day.

It can be done quite safely.

It can be done in ways that are almost suicide.

Thinking back I can not recall any close calls when I rode at night. Of course I was well lit and reflected. Remember that reflectors are needed from the side and well as front and back.

There are some areas I would not ride in at night. Most things that are bad during the day get worse at night, be it bad crime or bad roads. But some places get nice. Roads that are secondary routes for rush hour can be nice once that is over. (But near hell if rush hour lasts extra long and they are filled with frustrated drivers).

Oh and I would avoid riding from about midnight til about 3, at least in places anywhere near any bars.
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Old 09-01-05, 01:36 PM   #10
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From the blog: "Williams was riding fast, in the dusk, without lights, when a motorist turned left in front of him."

Riding at dusk or at night without lights is stupid. I ride at night more often than during the day, and I am absolutely positive that I am seen from a greater distance, and drivers seem to be more aware of me, at night than during the day. I let my son stray out in front one night, and I could clearly see his rear blinkie from a half mile away.
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Old 09-01-05, 05:00 PM   #11
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I ride at night most of the time (for exercise and fun) and with my rear xenon strobe, front headlight, and reflective sidewall tires, I've felt safer then than during the day. Until I got a helmet mirror, it was also much easier to track approaching cars from their headlights. The lighter traffic is nice too...

Now, pedestrians wearing dark clothes and other unlit bikers are a different story. I've had far more close calls with them than with cars.
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Old 09-01-05, 06:08 PM   #12
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Only problem I've had at night is cars not dimming their high beams on country roads. Once I was so blinded I literally couldn't see where I was going and lost spatial orientation. If they hadn't finally dimmed their lights I would have probably been in the ditch or the grille. Probably wouldn't be a problem other than in the country because in the city/suburbs there is enough other light around to keep the eyes from getting too light sensitive.
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Old 09-01-05, 06:16 PM   #13
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I ride my commute every night after second shift at the hospital. Unlike some posters, I believe night riding is more dangerous. And it isn't really about the lights.

Even cheap lights make you visible to drivers in front of you and behind you. Conversely, even the best lights do not make you visible to drivers to your side. The biggest danger at night is cagers entering the street you are travelling on, from a side street or driveway. Headlights only help a little in this common situation -- the cyclist has to be alert to these drivers, and prepared to evade them.

Another danger at night is not being able to see debris and bad surfaces until it is too late. Good lights might help some, but probably not enough.

I think it is safer to ride a little slower at night, and be a little more alert. It is a new kind of riding, and you need training and experience to be safe with it,
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Old 09-01-05, 06:19 PM   #14
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Riding at night is a bit riskier due to many factors. Impared drivers might be the biggest one. But if you prepare and choose sensible routes, you will be fine.
Invest in a high-output rechargeable lighting system. NiteRider makes an excellent system and their rear flashing taillight is incredibly intense.
Most of us don't use pedal reflectors - they fall off most regular pedals, and they don't really work on clipless. However, they do attract drivers' attention, so I use reflective ankle straps instead (even if I don't have long pants that need sinching). A reflective vest is a nice addition. I also use a reflective helmet band - it glows like a halo when headlights are on it. Specialized sold 'em about ten years ago, but I don't think they're available any more.
There is also high-intensity reflective tape that works amazingly well. Comes in many colors. My wife has some in black on her commuter bike -- looks like black tape, but when light shines on it, it glows. Cool stuff.
Be creative in your quest to be visible and avoid the dangerous routes. Sure, you might look like a geek, but at least they'll be able to SEE the geek!
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Old 09-01-05, 07:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
blue and red rear flashing halogens, maybe a reflective vest, you will be very visible.

Maybe so, but I doubt that's legal.
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Old 09-01-05, 07:35 PM   #16
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Maybe so, but I doubt that's legal.
I've never had any hassles from the fuzz. The other night popo was following me. Probably checking me out for DUI. Then, popo passed in the left lane and sped away. But, never know about popo.
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Old 09-02-05, 06:06 AM   #17
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Being blinded by car headlights is a problem, IMO. I ride along the Hudson Greenway most of the way home after dark so as not to contend with cars, BUT, the West Side Highway is right there next to the path, so even with my new 30W setup it's hard to see the path through the glare of the headlights coming "at" me (really to the right on the other side of a substantial barrier). I inevitably have to remove or lower even my clear-lensed riding glasses because the slightest bit of grease or sweat on them maginifies the glare effect.
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Old 09-02-05, 07:35 AM   #18
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Lights and reflectors.

Each of the past three nights when I was driving home from work I encountered bikes with no lights and poor reflectors. Didn't see any of them until the last minute. Luckily there were no close calls.
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Old 09-02-05, 08:00 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phinney
Only problem I've had at night is cars not dimming their high beams on country roads. Once I was so blinded I literally couldn't see where I was going and lost spatial orientation. If they hadn't finally dimmed their lights I would have probably been in the ditch or the grille. Probably wouldn't be a problem other than in the country because in the city/suburbs there is enough other light around to keep the eyes from getting too light sensitive.
Solution: Helmet mounted HID. Shine that puppy right at the driver and (s)he will get the message.
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Old 09-02-05, 10:15 AM   #20
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i ride in the dark everymorning (leave for work at 445 am) and love to be on the road then. i did notice something in the blog that seemed contradictory though:

"...He was supposedly a good cyclist, a young man, properly equipped and capable.
As I understand it from news reports and one of the emergency personnel responding to the accident, Williams was riding fast, in the dusk, without lights..."

to me, riding at night/dusk without lights is in no way properly equipped. while i don't go as far as many people do to feel comfortable, i have lights and am in the process of adding lots of nifty reflective tape highlights to my bike. as the weather starts to drift towards rain/fog on a regluar basis i'm tracking down good protective clothing that will make me really stand out.
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Old 09-02-05, 11:23 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barenakedbiker
Riding in the dark maybe safer than daylight riding. There's not as much traffic. If you are lit up properly, ie headlights and blue and red rear flashing halogens, maybe a reflective vest, you will be very visible.
Those blue lights WILL get you into trouble here in CA. Been there...
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Old 09-02-05, 02:37 PM   #22
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Some of my most favorite riding time happens at night. As other members have pointed out, the most dangerous time is dusk. This time of year, dusk comes and goes quickly, unlike June-July, when dusk can last until 9 PM (In the northeast)

Get yourself a good headlight, tail light, and some reflectors, or reflective material. Wear white, or some bright color. (I wear a white jersey, and I have always had a white helmet. That is just personal preference. ) I have been using a Cateye HL-EL 500 since they came on the market last year. This is quite effective in my area, for my rides. People see it. (And it has been mistaken for a motorcycle headlight.) If you plan on riding in a more rural area, where street lighting is spartan or not even there, you'll want to consider a strong lighting system.

Why so many don't use a headlight at night is one of those things that I cannot figure out at all.

A lot of the bags and other accessories sold today have that reflective tape built into them. That's good stuff.

Riding at night is nice. The daytime traffic is all done (the idiot factor is a lot lower), and you don't even need sunscreen.
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Old 09-02-05, 03:28 PM   #23
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I feel safer at night in the city, less safe at night in the country.

The city streets are lit up, so even potholes aren't a big issue for me. One thing I do need to feel right are glasses with good clear lenses.

In the country when the road is really dark, even with a little headlight I get nervous about what lies ahead. I've nevr used an uber powerful headlight, I'm sure that helps.

Two caveats - I wouldn't cycle alone if I was a woman in remote places, and I'd watch it on Friday and saturday nights after midnight or so - too much booze + cars = deaths.
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Old 09-02-05, 04:20 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
Being blinded by car headlights is a problem, IMO. I ride along the Hudson Greenway most of the way home after dark so as not to contend with cars, BUT, the West Side Highway is right there next to the path, so even with my new 30W setup it's hard to see the path through the glare of the headlights coming "at" me (really to the right on the other side of a substantial barrier). I inevitably have to remove or lower even my clear-lensed riding glasses because the slightest bit of grease or sweat on them maginifies the glare effect.
This is a problem for me too. I wear eyeglasses, and that seems to make glare more bothersome. Have you tried a helmet with a visor? Also, remember the driving trick of looking to the right side of the road when headlights are coming at you; never look directly at the lights.
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Old 09-02-05, 05:59 PM   #25
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Well you could argue that since it's the most dangerous time it's stupid...
But then you'd have to argue that since men 16-24 comprise more % of fatal crashes that you shouldn't ride at all between those ages.
Dosn't quite work that way.

Practical soloutions to real risk... bright lights, reflectors good route finding.
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