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  1. #1
    Junior Member Alex_is_emo's Avatar
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    Are there any statistics that show night time riding is safer than day time riding?

    A lot of people I know, including other cyclist think it's more dangerous to ride at night.
    Well I have a differing opinion.
    And I'd like my family to stop being so paranoid about it. They're always like ride in the day it's safer. I'm like no it isn't.

    There are less cars on the road, therefore I can hear/see them much better than the hundreds of cars in day time.
    I also notice cars give me more room when passing, they even slow down. I bet it's because the notice me (I have 3 flashing red lights, two on my bike, one on my helmet, plus a bunch of reflectors.) better than in the day time where I could easily just blend in with the scenery. Also maybe it's because they CAN move over more. In day time sometimes the only thing they can do is slow down some because there are other cars in the other lanes/opposite lanes so they can't move over more.
    Also, no need to worry about passing out from heat, and getting too dehydrated in summer.

    Literally, the only fear I have at night is Semi-trucks, and people/creatures that might be hiding in the bushes waiting to jump out and attack me.

    I'd much like some statistics about it, if it exists. I can't find any on google search. But sometimes i'm just bad at finding stuff.

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    No, the available resources tend to indicate that night time riding is more dangerous.

    But of course all statistics are based on averaged conditions... your specific situation may be such that it IS safer to ride your route at night. I know for instance that many business/light industrial areas are quite vacant at night... so the odds of encountering ANY traffic go down significantly in those situations.

  3. #3
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    Most stats show night time riding to b considerably more dangerous than daytime. But these aren't factored for light use, and/or changes in traffic levels. Without statistics, and based on personal experience and judgement, I agree that night riding can be much safer (with good lighting) because traffic is that much less.

    I often have to ride home from concerts and nights out, and find about 11PM or later to be beautiful, with the streets mostly to myself. Plus a lit bike in full dark stands out much more than one in broad daylight. Of course things might change on Saturday night when those fewer drivers may have a higher percentage of impaired among them.

    IMO - the worst time for riding is dawn and dusk when lighting conditions, including low sun glare, make for the least contrast between me and my surroundings.
    Last edited by FBinNY; 08-10-14 at 05:15 PM.
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  4. #4
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    I feel safer riding at night than in the day. While commuting home at 3-4 am I see many less vehicles which during my 12.5 mile commute (15 months now) on the average is 2 & 2, (2 toward me, 2 pass me). With this in mind though I just had a bda experience a few weeks ago at 3 am where I was almost hit as I was coming to a "T" intersection when I saw lights coming from the right. The car took the turn to sharp and turned directly into my lane as I was within feet of stopping at the stop sign.

    I had to run off the road putting me in an off balance position smacking my crotch into the top tube. The guy did stop to see if I was OK which I seemed to be other then crotch pain which cleared up in a day or so. He said "I didn't see your light". Everyone who knows me comments on how good my light is. As most people he was probably in a hurry going to fast and obviously not following the rules of the road by turning into my lane.

    The lesson learned is: you could have 50 vehicles pass you or only one. He was one of 2 I saw that night, it only takes one and your game (life) could over over. This doesn't stop me from riding at night as I enjoy riding at night and still feel safer at night.

  5. #5
    Don from Austin Texas
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    Even if you found statistics there are so many variables the statistics would be meaningless for the times and places you ride at night. One huge variable: are you out there when bars are closing? NOT good! Or even in an entertainment district in the evening where there will be drinkers on the street? Not so good either. Of course, weekends are worse than weekdays. I avoid cycling in much of Austin, Texas during drinking hours, but feel super save at 5-6 AM riding to work with hardly a car on the road and they can see my lights, I can see them much better than in the daytime.

    Don in Austin

  6. #6
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I also often worry about party drivers and try to avoid cycling Fri and Sat nights 8pm-4am. I'll ride up to the convenience market but quick trip only and stay out of party zones.

    Probably not safer on unfamiliar roads either, but after riding same roads for a while night rides are nice.

    I prefer daylight, though. Best ride times are Christmas and New years mornings, if the roads are clear and dry.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  7. #7
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    No, the available resources tend to indicate that night time riding is more dangerous.

    But of course all statistics are based on averaged conditions... your specific situation may be such that it IS safer to ride your route at night. I know for instance that many business/light industrial areas are quite vacant at night... so the odds of encountering ANY traffic go down significantly in those situations.
    And the statistics are based upon fatalities, many, many of the fatalities are drunk, ninja, salmon, riding on the sidewalk... Well at least 1 of the four...

  8. #8
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    And the statistics are based upon fatalities, many, many of the fatalities are drunk, ninja, salmon, riding on the sidewalk... Well at least 1 of the four...
    Right, so the OP is not likely to find what they are seeking... supporting stats that say it is safe to ride at night. But the OP may be riding in a situation that in which they are not any of the 4 mentioned, AND maybe even there is no traffic about.

    But we don't know, as the OP was only seeking stats, although apparently the OP is not ninja... as lights were mentioned...

  9. #9
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    1988 to 1993. The study is here.
    Collisions by day in WA.

    Collisions by hour in WA.

    Collisions by month in WA.

    If you take the Way-Back Machine to a Christmas that falls on a Sunday and your out between midnight and 8am and you live in Washington state,your safer!....

    I feel safer at night,it's easier to keep an eye on stuff.
    Last edited by Booger1; 08-11-14 at 12:39 PM.
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  10. #10
    Quirky Grifter LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    Of course if you graphed that as bicycle collisions by hour, per miles ridden, then the graph might not skew as much towards safety at night.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  11. #11
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    The link didn't work, so I don't know if this is a DC or WA study, but the short details don't tell a complete story, because we don't know the base line numbers or factors involved. For example, if this is a DC study, the lower accident rate would simply reflect traffic counts, both car and bike.

    If you look only at time of day data, or the time of year data, it would seem to reflect only greater numbers of cyclists on the road more than issues of lighting. Otherwise the data may be skewed by the type of riding involved, with recreational riders being mostly on quiet streets and roads on weekends, and commuters and utility riders on busier streets during the week.

    General data is useful to the extent that it paints a very general picture and can point to things that warrant further analysis, but it rarely gives insight that one may apply to one's own situation.

    IMO there is nothing here that would answer the OP's question.
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  12. #12
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  13. #13
    Señior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    As others have pointed out, night riding statistics are going to be horribly skewed, by ninjas and idiots getting killed.

    I doubt you'll ever find a set of reliable statistics about how safe it is for a sober, law-abiding, well lit cyclist wearing full reflective gear to ride at night. Personally I have ridden at night for many hundreds of days (all winter for the last 10 years) and I also think it's way safer than daytime riding. I never ever have even a small issue at night, in the daytime I witness all kinds of morons.
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    I agree with the other posters - additional comments:

    (1) Headlight
    If you do not already have one, get a white headlight. (OP only mentioned red flashers.) The headlight makes it much easier/possible for motorists waiting at stop signs or red lights on cross streets to see you. Their headlights won't be aimed at any front reflectors you might have, and if they don't see you they'll have no reason to yield.

    Headlights are required virtually every place I can think of (50 states, Japan, Germany, ....)

    (2) Bicycle statistics are notoriously unreliable.
    Many collision reports only include collisions involving motor vehicles; even when there are reports, they typically don't include all relevant factors (did the bicyclist have lights? was the collision at a driveway?...), and individual officers may not have the experience or training to fill out good reports.

    Statistics generally show bicycling at night is more dangerous, but include bicyclists without lights, drunk bicyclists and motorists, etc.

    If you avoid locations/times with large numbers of drunk drivers and bicycle legally (lights, correct side of road, etc), you can expect better results than the average unlighted bicyclist.

  15. #15
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    No, the available resources tend to indicate that night time riding is more dangerous.

    But of course all statistics are based on averaged conditions... your specific situation may be such that it IS safer to ride your route at night.
    I don't know of any studies that focus only on risk to competent, sober adults with proper equipment, but there are studies on the increased risk of riding without lights, riding while intoxicated, riding against traffic, etc. Those are all common misbehaviors, and they all dramatically increase the risk of getting hit. So it stands to reason that if you're riding on the right side of the street, in a visible lane position, with proper lights and reflectors, without drug or alcohol impairment, cycling is still a very safe activity at night. But "it stands to reason" isn't the same thing as a controlled study.

    Studies tend to focus more on what goes wrong than what goes right, since researchers are usually looking for solutions to problems. If you're not the problem, you're boring, statistically speaking.

    An epidemiological study of the risk of cycl... [Accid Anal Prev. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

    Incidence, risk, and protective factors of bicycle ... [Prev Med. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

    Bicyclists overestimate their own night-time... [Accid Anal Prev. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI

    Cycling-related crash risk and the role of cannabis... [Prev Med. 2014] - PubMed - NCBI
    Last edited by jputnam; 08-15-14 at 02:23 PM.
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    There are a few roads I would avoid riding in the day that are a pleasure riding at night. For my long distance trips, I prefer putting in significant mileage at night.

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