I'm sure I'm not the only one here who has been in this situation. I've only recently started bicycle commuting. I work rotating shifts. About 1/3 is the midnight shift (midnight to 8 AM), 1/3 is the day shift (8 AM to 4 PM), and 1/3 is the evening shift (4 PM to midnight). The full commute is about 6.7 miles, but I've been doing that only on the day shift. At the steel mill I work, there's an outer parking lot for people who work at sea on the shipping barges, and for parking nicer cars at while the "beaters" that are normally kept there are driven further into the (dirty) mill area. I suppose I'm fortunate that we have such a lot. During the evening and night shifts, I park my truck there and bike the rest of the way in (about 1.7 miles).
I am just burning to do the full commute on the bike on all three shifts, weather permitting, but my family (parents and wife-to-be) just won't have it. They think it's too dangerous. Not so much the ride itself, but they are worried about me getting hit by a car. I think it can be safe. I am willing to get the very brightest lights and as much reflective tape/vest as possible but they still won't have it. I work an hour later than almost everyone else in the plant, so when I am arriving for midnights almost everyone from the previous shift is gone, and when I am leaving evenings that is the case even more so. The traffic all the way is very light, I'd say about 10% of what it is when coming to or going from the day shift. I have spoken to coworkers who do bike or have biked. One said that he feels it's actually safer at night because the cars can see his rear blinker easily and give him more room when passing. The other didn't say much about it other than saying he would wear a white shirt. In my opinion both of their routes are more dangerous than mine. Despite this my family still won't have it. I understand and appreciate their concern, but it still really burns me that this could be a missed opportunity. I love riding at night, especially the relative peace and quiet. They don't share my desire to replace driving with biking. They aren't more than at the most very casual recreational cyclists. Still, it would only be fair to be objectionable about this. I think they see me wanting to bike at night as madness.
My commute is mainly through small-city streets, and one section of highway with a wide shoulder (and I ride in that shoulder).
One of the concerns raised is with drunks on the road, though I have never seen any drunk behavior from drivers. There is one small bar at one of the intersections. Other than a few drivers passing more closely than I feel they should have I have not had problems with motorists.
They are OK with the partial commute inside the plant. I suppose I should be thankful for that, but I still want to do more. I also believe that the people actually doing this, those of you, have the most relevant opinion on the matter.
What do you do in this situation?