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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 11-03-11, 06:35 PM   #1
david58
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Riding in the dark - What are your greatest hazards?

I've already been riding in the dark for quite some time, and daylight savings is going to simply put me in the dark both directions.

So far, my greatest hazards, again, so far, have been runners and cyclists.

Runners in the bike lane wearing no reflective gear or lighting at all scare the crap outta me. Even in DENSE fog yesterday, this idiot is out running on the road with no lighting at all. Sheesh.

Next, I am almost wiped out by a cyclist - no lights, dressed in black, and flying down the path. I have two flashing lights (it is starting to get a bit light at that point, so on flash mode) going, this guy, nothing. Barely missed either a head-on or him going way into the puckerbrush - I jumped the curb to the street to get out of the way.

What are your biggest hazards?
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Old 11-03-11, 06:49 PM   #2
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Idiots driving cars,, the most lethal hazard.
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Old 11-03-11, 06:53 PM   #3
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Alertness. When I am distracted, I seem to run into troubles when dark. (tree branches I should have noticed, railroad tracks that I should have crossed perpendicular, a little pot hole I knew that is on the way I forget, etc)
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Old 11-03-11, 07:04 PM   #4
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Not much motor traffic in the AM, but it's hard to see road debris. I have to avoid multipurpose paths because of debris, stealth runners and dog walkers, and deer. On the streets, I usually can pick out the pedestrians and runners but sometimes it's dark enough to miss them. As soon as the new tires arrive, I can start using my new dyno wheel and tame the darkness.

Psychologically, though, riding in the dark is isolating - like riding in a tunnel. I just don't like it.

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Old 11-03-11, 07:07 PM   #5
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I could think of a few -

- A cyclist riding the opposite lane so coming head on to me without a blinkie and there is a huge pile of fall leaves debris pushing both of us into traffic
- Having to change lanes in dark. Tough to make sure that the cars behind see my hand gestures
- Cars making right in front of me
- Cars making left from opposite lane failing to see me

Other than that, just have to be super careful ..
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Old 11-03-11, 07:10 PM   #6
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I recently upgrade to a niterider 600 lumen light. Makes a world of difference to have more than just "HERE I AM!" lights. All my riding is urban, so most the of the time there is enough light from street lights etc. to see basic things.
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Old 11-03-11, 07:17 PM   #7
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#1 Ninja salmon - why oh why would anyone want to ride in the dark, on the wrong side of the street, while wearing dark clothing?
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Old 11-03-11, 07:34 PM   #8
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He did repeatedly apologize.....
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Old 11-03-11, 07:42 PM   #9
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Luckily (?) I've never seen another cyclist on my route to work and back, so I've never had to deal with that. My biggest problems are trying to remember where the potholes are and unexpected debris. My Cygolite tridenx 750 arrives tomorrow however, so this may no longer be a concern.

Currently have a cygolite expilion 400 on my helmet, and it's great, but I look around too much to always notice stuff directly in front of me on time.
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Old 11-03-11, 08:52 PM   #10
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My commute is 80% MUP and it's really dark so forgetting to charge my light and sprinting to beat the dying battery is my biggest, albeit self inflicted problem.

As far as hazards, ice is number one, followed by ninja runners / walkers.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:02 PM   #11
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New debris on the highway. I always go to work when it's bright out and come back on the other side in the dark, so I never get to see new debris until I almost run it over.

Also, my sister had a head-on collision with a ninja cyclist wearing a hoodie not looking where he was going...riding in the wrong lane of the bike path. But that didn't happen to me yet.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:38 PM   #12
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Cars. So far no close calls with ninja runners or cyclists. In my morning ride the street lights are good enough. My lights are there to tell others where I am mostly.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:49 PM   #13
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For me, riding in the dark is less hazardous - no sun glare to blind drivers behind me; my lights are very very bright and noticable; less traffic. So my greatest hazard is probably creeps that walk around at night causing trouble.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:52 PM   #14
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I'm more comfortable riding at night than I am during the day. My headlights produce 500-750 actual lumens (1000-1500 lumens if one is to believe the manufacturers), so I can see road debris, bike ninjas, low hanging branches, etc. pretty well. Further, bright bike lights (at night) provide greater contrast with my surroundings than my bike and clothing can provide during the day, so I'm more visible to other road users. Traffic is usually lighter after dark than it is during daylight hours (though less so during the winter), which is nice. Riding at night offers visual cues (from headlights) in addition to aural cues regarding traffic approaching from directions I cannot readily see. These cues are generally only available audibly during the day.
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Old 11-03-11, 09:54 PM   #15
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n+1 to recalling where the dangerous potholes and debris are located. Traffic is also low on my AM ride and no cyclists for miles until I get to the beach.

Its a compromise between doing good time to work and bombing down the hill at 24+ MPH which is too fast for my planet blaze light to see anything safely.
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Old 11-03-11, 10:07 PM   #16
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Funny you ask David,

One of the roads I ride in the morning as I warm up is a road called Waldrop. It's a great downhill shortly after a pretty significant climb, so it gives me a chance to recover a bit before the next climb.

Anyway, every day I have to be very careful. There is this old man who goes for his morning walks nearly everyday. Right up the middle of the road. I suppose he does this because he can do it in relative safety. There is hardly any traffic on this road, except for me. The first time I came up on him he surprised me. I saw him in plenty of time to avoid a collision, but he never wears reflective clothing. As a matter of fact, he might as well be a ninja. He usually wears black, which is a bit puzzling to me.

A few miles later, we have a brand new MUP that the county just built. But again there is no lights, and the pathway is 2" deep in mud in some places. First time I rode there, I went right through the middle of it. I just stay on the road now. Easier to see, and not as many surprises.

I did buy a better light though...
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Old 11-03-11, 10:24 PM   #17
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"Riding in the dark - What are your greatest hazards?"

Other than the obvious answer of all the two ton killing machines around me, I'd have to say pot holes. Here in Seattle the roads are horrible, the basic maintenance has been deferred for over 20 years while the funds where used for other things, so a pot hole can literally appear overnight. Add rain, and speeding down hills to the darkness and the pot holes are seriously dangerous. I'm not sure any lighting system would help (see speed above). And no, I'm not going to slow down, riding fast is one of the things I enjoy most about cycling. I accept the risk, but it'd be nice if we just had decent roads.
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Old 11-03-11, 10:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JeanSeb View Post
New debris on the highway. I always go to work when it's bright out and come back on the other side in the dark, so I never get to see new debris until I almost run it over.

Also, my sister had a head-on collision with a ninja cyclist wearing a hoodie not looking where he was going...riding in the wrong lane of the bike path. But that didn't happen to me yet.
I'm not a violent man, but I'm pretty sure I'd beat that a$$hat to a pulp. Nothing permanent, but I'm also pretty sure he'd remember not to do that again.
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Old 11-03-11, 10:31 PM   #19
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Busted coal truck tire remains on the shoulder. Glass and metal where wrecks have happened and debris has been swept to the shoulder. Loose g.ravel on occasion
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Old 11-03-11, 10:38 PM   #20
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Rain. I don't mind riding in the dark too much, but when it's raining it's a lot more stressful.
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Old 11-04-11, 12:12 AM   #21
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Potholes, bad roads. Drunk idiots DRIVING on friday/saturday nights. Hi vis vest is a lot of help.
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Old 11-04-11, 01:02 AM   #22
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Blindness............
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Old 11-04-11, 01:12 AM   #23
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Cars, delivery guys with no lights, and idiots using a red light in front. I was coming down a descent a few weeks ago and saw a red light that was coming closer and closer. I figured it was a slow rider, so I moved left (and he moved right, as they "should"). I definitely yelled at him and told him to get a white light in front!
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Old 11-04-11, 05:49 AM   #24
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Potholes, sticks and other debris are my biggest hazard. A good light system and bright clothes should take care of the cars, but you can wipe out on stick or pothole with a moment's inattention. I rarely ever see any other bike commuters here, so ninja riders are a non-issue. I occasionally see runners in the streets -- usually dressed in black with no reflective gear -- but it's not a common occurrence.
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Old 11-04-11, 06:02 AM   #25
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