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Old 04-16-09, 11:25 PM   #1
anthonybcc
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Nighttime riding in the country. Dangerous?

Where i live its extremely hilly, and the roads have alot of curves where the road isn't visible sometimes because its blocked by trees on the curves. As well there aren't many police around so people frequently drive 60+ down these country roads (especially kids), where there are no shoulders and only 1 lane.

I wanted to ride tonight when I got home at 11:30pm. But I only have 1 taillight, 1 white light in front, and no reflective clothing. I decided to call it a night when I saw how dark it was when I turned off my car, and go riding in the morning.

Is it save to ride at night like that? What do you guys do when you ride days at a time where u probably do ride at night in the country? Thx.
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Old 04-17-09, 12:20 AM   #2
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Where i live its extremely hilly, and the roads have a lot of curves where the road isn't visible sometimes because its blocked by trees on the curves. As well there aren't many police around so people frequently drive 60+ down these country roads (especially kids), where there are no shoulders and only 1 lane.

I wanted to ride tonight when I got home at 11:30pm. But I only have 1 taillight, 1 white light in front, and no reflective clothing. I decided to call it a night when I saw how dark it was when I turned off my car, and go riding in the morning.

Is it safe to ride at night like that? What do you guys do when you ride days at a time where u probably do ride at night in the country? Thx.
I have a lot of confidence that my Plant Bike Super-flash will be noticed, even on signed 55 MPH two lane roads that we have around here. I ride aggressively in the lane, and overtaking traffic is no a concern for me, even at night. They see me, I am in the way, and they cannot dismiss my presence.

I run my front light on blink mode, because a cyclist's true danger comes from crossing traffic.

I won't travel on unfamiliar roads at night if I can avoid it, because I don't run a front light that lets me see hazards on the road like pot-holes. There is a place that has trees overhanging a curve in the road that requires extra caution. I have to slow way down on nights with no moon to avoid running off the road. That and road surface hazards are what I am most concerned about.
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Old 04-17-09, 08:15 AM   #3
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I've always felt safer at night. Good lighting and reflective clothing make you much more noticeable than in daylight. Definitely get another rear blinky... they're mission critical.
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Old 04-17-09, 09:15 AM   #4
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I ride to work every morning at 3:30 am. About as dark as it's going to get with no problems at all. I have a superflash and another generic blinky on the back of my bike. I also use a rear view mirror, so I can see traffic coming up behind me from a very long ways.

That being said, I'm not sure if I would want to ride at night between the hours of 11:30pm-3:00am. Prime drunk driving hours, and a million blinkies aren't going to save you from a drunk driver.
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Old 04-17-09, 02:17 PM   #5
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I would think the most drunk drivers here are going to be from 3-4am, considering the bars close here at 3am. Im moving closer to work in a month (right now im about 90miles both ways), and will be commuting then. I work 2nd shift and get off consistantly between 11:00pm-1:am. I guess there will be no way around it.

I played it safe, and just rode this morning. Got 30miles in. Not too bad for our 2nd day of nice weather.
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Old 04-17-09, 02:58 PM   #6
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I have a lot of confidence that my Plant Bike Super-flash will be noticed, even on signed 55 MPH two lane roads that we have around here. I ride aggressively in the lane, and overtaking traffic is no a concern for me, even at night. They see me, I am in the way, and they cannot dismiss my presence.

I run my front light on blink mode, because a cyclist's true danger comes from crossing traffic.

I won't travel on unfamiliar roads at night if I can avoid it, because I don't run a front light that lets me see hazards on the road like pot-holes. There is a place that has trees overhanging a curve in the road that requires extra caution. I have to slow way down on nights with no moon to avoid running off the road. That and road surface hazards are what I am most concerned about.
Seems like it might be worth buying a second light that you don't have on blink. The 100+ lumen lights are around $100 with rechargeable battery systems now.
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Old 04-17-09, 03:57 PM   #7
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I've done a lot of night time commuting in the last few years, and I've ended up riding after dark or through dark tunnels on my last couple of tours. A good set of lights and a lot of reflective tape will make your ride a lot safer, people seem to give me more room at night when my lights are on then during the day. The big danger to me is that too many people don't expect to see cyclists after dark, especially on rural roads or high speed roads. I compensate for this with lots of lights and reflectors.

The various law enforcement agencies around here are so hard on drunk drivers that I just don't worry about it any more. The odds of a drunk driver crossing my path before the police stop him are pretty close to zero in this county.
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Old 04-18-09, 09:41 AM   #8
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I think with enough lights and reflective material you can be more visible at night than you ever could be in the day. I use two PB Superflash tail lights with one on flash and one on steady. That has been enough for me so far and I do ride on roads similar to what you described. For the front you should run as much and you can to see the road clearly ahead. I would say a 500 lumen light would do the job. If you are on a budget a lot of people go with the high powered flashlights with rechargeable batteries that can put out 500 lumens or a bit more.

I do as much trail riding at night as I do on the road so I opted for two cycling specific head lights that put out ~2,000 lumens combined which comes in handy on the trails. But for the road I dim them down and use about ~500 lumens and it has worked great for me.

In your specific case I would say get yourself another taillight so that you are always running two of them at night and if your headlight isn't putting out close to 500 lumens I recommend you get something brighter. Buy some reflective clothing and tape and go to town with that too. Then go out and have some fun night rides.
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