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Ideas for safer night commute

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Ideas for safer night commute

Old 08-21-23, 12:37 AM
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Today makes a year to the day that I made my first trip to the UK with my DW who is from there, but had not been back in 20 years. The only US road more terrifying than the ones in and around Burnley, Lancahire was the one time I was on the 405 at rush hour! Burnley, apparently is considered a small town, but the traffic was unbelievable. Fast, and relentless, and I saw very few cyclists. But I did see some, and they might imagine that motorists don't see them but I'm sure most don't. I wonder why the o.p. does. I spent 3 weeks in and around Manchester, Burnley, as mentioned, and out to St. Anne's. I never saw a single wreck. Not one.

British drivers are unflinching, but they are skillful. The o.p. is FAR safer there than anywhere in the U.S. and we really are not helping by trying to set him up to outflash the Mothership from Close Encounters to be safer. It simply isn't necessary. TBH it isn't necessary here! You aren't in anymore danger of being hit because you don't have three flashers going! If they don't see one they won't see three any better. And they see one just fine. They only say "I didn't see him/her because ... well what else would you expect them to say? "Yes, officer, I saw him/her but they were in my way and I was late and ... ..." Just because they cut you off doesn't mean they didn't see you. They saw you. They saw you and still cut you off. Take all the time you need to work that through.

O.p., cycling in the U.K. isn't for me. But I'm not from there. If I was, I would understand it better. To me it looks like absolute bedlam. But the strategy IMO is not to imagine that it is because you aren't seen. You are seen. But you aren't seen as a threat. And you aren't. So your motorist instincts aren't going to work. Listen to the posters that say to choose your routing. I know that that might not make much difference in many places. Don't know what else to tell you. Maybe chat up a local forum. They might have advice based more on your realities on the ground. Cheers.
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Old 08-21-23, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Korina
If you have the disposable income, Arclight pedals. The cool part is, no matter which way you spin them, the front is always white and the back is always red.

If you're like me and can't see the video, go to Quote and the link will show.

I have a pair of those and don't use them. I tried but found them too heavy, plus they don't take the old style toe clips, which I still swear by. On top of that, I've retired and stopped riding at night as I have no reason to do that anymore.

For lighting I still recommend dynamo lighting. They are bright and have a spread beam with cutoff, more like a car beam. I also have a self powered rear light called a Magnic Light. It is a cool trick, using the eddy current generated by the spinning wheel to spin a magnet that generates power for the light and contactless.

Last edited by zacster; 08-21-23 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 08-21-23, 08:26 PM
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Just recently I was driving in the dark outskirts of Austin Texas. An area of construction had, reflective and lighted flashing cones, barrels, and reflective pucks on the road. As well as the construction crew having bright overhead lights, beeping and flashing equipment and Lions and Tigers And Bears!

In the confusion best I could do was rapidly slow down and nearly got rear ended in the process. It was a mess...

I did not even see the bike rider carefully walking his bike past all the confusion till I passed him.

Bravo... Smart Guy!

Look out for those 70 year old, pre-cataract surgery, night drivers like me trying to make their way home. Sometimes all the other lights along your way could make you invisible no matter how many lights you use.

By the way... Those light yellow polarized driving glasses do help at night.
No matter where you're at... There you are... Δf:=f(1/2)-f(-1/2)
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Old 08-21-23, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Clegg2
Thanks all for the useful advice. My commute has roughly 50% cycle lane in London, but you get a lot of the deliveroo cyclist riding on the wrong side, or the odd motorist on the cycle lane especially at night. Sometimes I get into work very stressed from the near misses.
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Old 10-24-23, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee
My experience is that it's safer to ride after dark, than around sunset/dusk time. Sunset/dusk maybe the golden hour for photography, but it's the death hour for cyclists.
In the winter time I would either ride home early when it's still bright, or I would sit in the office until after dark, before I ride home.

I like riding at dawn/ dusk but I am also riding away from the sun so the people coming up behind me are not staring into the sun. either direction. What I find mind boggling is the people going the same direction as me, who pass me into the face of cars staring into the sun.
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