Advocacy & Safety - Increasing driver awarness of bikes at night?
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I have a member of my family, my mom that is the worst driver when around bikes. In the last two weeks she has almsot hit two bikes at the same intersection at night. The intersection is fairly well lit, no problems there. One person on a bike had lights, one did not. Last time I was in the car and saw the guy with no lights and thought she did too, when she was not braking I screamed at her and she finally slammed on her brakes at the last minute.
She knows the bike have the same rights on the road, etc. I have told her time and time again to be careful when driving at night. She thinks that even bright bike lights (like niterider halogen lighting) is not bright enough. I use a 6 watt niterider system on my bike and never have any problems with drivers. She does think that the HID night rider kit is bright enough.
I know the cyclists have to assume that they are not seen. How do we get people who even "know" the rules to watch for cyclists at night? Oh ya this is the same person who yells at me every time I go for a night ride. Does it really take someone hitting a cyclist to cause them the relize what is going on. I know for sure that I am extra careful at night.
As a child I used to occasionally cycle in the dark without lights.
Now as an adult driver I realise just how stupid that was.
All cyclists have a responsibility to make themselves as visible as possible - especially at night time.
12-20-04, 01:27 PM
I hate to talk 'bout your mama, but really, it's the responsibility of the driver to be aware of their surroundings. If she's not able to notice bikes at night, then perhaps she should not be driving at night?
If she doesn't think even an HID is enough, I wonder what she would think was enough? Even a 10 watt HID is painful to look directly at even in the daylight; what does she want? Would she notice at all until all cyclists to mount 6-foot-wide bars across front and back, with full car head and tail lights on them hooked to a 50 amp hour battery?
Driving takes a degree of skill, and IMHO when you pull onto a public street with a very dangerous vehicle such as a car, you are taking on a solemn responsibility to devote your attention and skill to not causing injury to others.
Again, asking politely, does your mom have vision problems, or is it an attention problem? Perhaps her peripheral vision isn't good, or is she distracted?
I ask simply because I can't believe that someone who has good vision and is paying attention can miss a bike with full lights. One or the other (or both) is missing.
(PS: I would walk before riding at night without lights - I have never ridden without lights, I was too scared, and rightly so)
12-20-04, 02:43 PM
Anyone who's riding at night without lights is definitely asking for trouble.
It's a little scary that your mom doesn't pay enough attention to riders that are even lit up but there should be some middle ground or at least focus. :)
12-20-04, 04:16 PM
Some people with otherwise normal vision have poor night vision. Like my mom. It can creep up on you slowly and one does not always understand what is happening. If this is what is happening, she may be trying and can't do much better. She may not be able to explain it if you ask. It's hard sometimes.
12-20-04, 04:39 PM
Considering the number of cyclists riding at night in dark clothes without lights, I can only conclude that drivers can see cyclists at night and drive cautiously to avoid hitting them. Otherwise there would be tens of thousands of cyclists killed every year.
I talked to her today and see says that she is distracted at the intersection. I think because it is closer to work she lets her guard down. She is one of those people that the size of the light is more impartant than the brightness. She told me that she sees a little point light she thinks not moving fast. She told me that she will pay more attention at night...
I think this all stems from her not wanting me to ride after my accident... I hear it every time I go riding by myself... much more time on the trainer now.
After I blinded her with my HID kit and showed her the 6 watt trail rat I think she will be more aware about bike at night... I guess I am more aware as a cyclist.
12-20-04, 05:07 PM
Some bike accident stats. http://www.borealisoutdoor.com/
12-21-04, 12:58 PM
When I went to Graeagle, Ca to meet someone and watch them finish an MS150 ride, it was raining a little and cloudy. Most putting on this ride were not cyclists. I was watching for riders, and saw the first one about a quarter mile down the road. When I pointed this out, many ran to the edge of the road, and could not see the guy until he was almost 100 yards away. He was wearing dark blue and black, and even though I saw him as soon as he came into possible sight, I was the only one. Many have no idea just what they miss as they drive.
12-22-04, 07:37 AM
Regarding people riding at night without lights;
A few months ago, while riding in the dark, I passed a guy who'd pulled over to let the "car" by - he thought I was a car. I passed him about 4 feet to his left, never saw him. He yelled hello, startled me a bit, we chatted for a bit.
It was a bit misty though not raining, he was wearing black and no reflectors of any kind that I could tell, I was running 20W halogen and LED blinkers (hadn't put on my xenon strobe yet). But at least he knew nobody could see him and pulled way off the road when a car was coming.
He asked to follow me for safety, I said sure and tried to keep the speed down, but I couldn't go slow enough for him to keep up. I actually circled back over 1/4 mile twice to pick him up again, but he kept dropping back even when I kept it below 10 MPH. Finally I gave up and just rode in to town.
If he was more clueless and not pulling off the road, he would be a statistic before too long. If I couldn't see him riding by at 15 MPH on a bike, no way would a car see him.
Now that I'm back driving a car several days a week due to errands, etc, I really realize how bad visibility is from inside a car, even with the windshield defogged and clean.
12-24-04, 12:45 PM
Radio Shack sells halogen flashing lights which run on C batteries. Buy two. Paint one blue, the other red.
12-24-04, 01:09 PM
good solid lighting is enough. To me, if an LED taillight, when pointed so the LEDS are parralell with the ground, can still throw enough light to illumiate the ground under them...that's a good rear light. As far as a front light...it's up to you...to be seen, a 3 LED cateye and a single LED blinker is enough....if you want to see the road, go halogen. If you ride fast and long at night, maybe HID.
Xenon for use as a road light is not a great idea, for visibility it is fine, but it's too easy to "outride" (it's beam is not long enough for the speed of travel).
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