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Whats the latest you feel that it's safe to commute?

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Whats the latest you feel that it's safe to commute?

Old 09-23-08, 10:49 AM
  #1  
scottbot84
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Whats the latest you feel that it's safe to commute?

Just curious what the general consensus is. Right now my cut off is about 10pm, but lately my job has been making me stay until 11. I ride home on a semi-well lit road with a generous shoulder, with ample lights and reflectors.

I'm not in any way basing my decision to commute later on what anyone says, I'm just not sure if I'm completely crazy for considering it

If you do commute late (or early, as the case may be), give the specifics of your commute(road conditions, lighting setup, etc.)

On a side note it seems to me that a lot of riders around here get killed at about 3am. I say "riders" instead of cyclists since they are usually riding the wrong way, without lights, and sometimes in the rain or fog.
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Old 09-23-08, 10:53 AM
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I generally don't make trips after dark, but once a week I ride home well after sunset, and last week I visited a friend in the evening and left shortly before midnight. For lights, I use a Superflash in the back and a P7 in the front. The P7 is more than enough, but I'm thinking of DIYing a flashlight with a red cree LED for a taillight, because I'd like something comparable to the P7 in the back.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:15 AM
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Old 09-23-08, 11:25 AM
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I use my bike to get to work (which is next to the airport) for my business trips and I've come home from the airport at midnight before, but I don't commute to work then since I work days.

You need good lights front and back. Also, I won't go on a MUP--got to ride a road with street lights. There's not many bars by me so I don't worry about the drunks too much. Also, my section of town is pretty safe.

I commute in the winter and it's dark when I go home. I rely on my lights.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:27 AM
  #5  
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I ride and commute almost exclusively within Seattle itself, so anytime. When I'm riding late, late enough for there to be people coming home from bars, I use three rear blinkies at three different heights, two front blinkies at different heights, and a Dinotte 200L front headlight. I've ridden home at 2 or 3 am no problem (usually sober, sometimes buzzed).

If I lived in a more rural area I might be a bit more cautious, even with a generous shoulder to ride on. City drivers tend to be a bit more aware of cyclists.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:30 AM
  #6  
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No limit. Like the Man in Black said, I keep my eyes wide open all the time. And I have a good light and blinky set up.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:33 AM
  #7  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
No limit. Like the Man in Black said, I keep my eyes wide open all the time. And I have a good light and blinky set up.
+1. I've been out at 3am. I've been out at 2am when bars close. Remain prudent, visible, and modify your route in the name of safety if you must. There's not really a time of day I feel it's not safe.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:35 AM
  #8  
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I'm with caloso - I ride whenever, with a two-blinky set-up (white in front, red in back). In fact, when I first read the topic of this thread, I didn't think about darkness, I thought: it's safe to ride home any time up to one half hour later than the time I told my wife I would be home.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:37 AM
  #9  
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I ride whenever, sometimes, coming in from the office, and then sometimes I can't sleep and go for a ride at two in the morning (pisses my fiance off though)
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Old 09-23-08, 11:37 AM
  #10  
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Anytime the mood strikes is fine with me.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:39 AM
  #11  
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I feel the same way. My only limit is a self imposed one, since I live with my fiancé.

She has never been one to stand in the way of my cycling habits, but I know she worries about me. I just hate wasting gas driving to work, plus I miss the rush of the ride to work (about 4 miles).

I ride in a bit of a rural area, but one that is frequented by cyclists. I have a superflash and another bright blinkie in back, a super spot and spot in front, and a fair amount of reflective tape.

9-10pm was an easy transition, but 10-11 is harder for me mentally for some reason.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:52 AM
  #12  
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Wouldn't really have a time cutoff, although if I were riding home at 10PM, it would have been something like a 15-16 hour day. That late, my biggest concern would be how tired I was and staying sharp on the ride home.
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Old 09-23-08, 11:58 AM
  #13  
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Riding at night feels safer to me than during the day time.

Between my fully 3m taped frame & rack , reflective illuminite clothing, and the seven or eight lights I have running, I know that cars can ID me as a bike from farther away than they do during the day. That said, their patience in the darker winter months does seem to be lower as that's when I get far more "instruction" from them as to where I should be riding.

I don't ride in the wee hours when bars are closing or have patrons heading home. If I lived in an area with a ton of bars/nightlife I'd definitely try to stay off the road on my bike in those hours. I don't think I'd be on my bike past 9 or 10pm unless there were very unusual circumstances.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:01 PM
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I'm safer at night than in the day. In the day I'm just another guy with a hi-viz jersey. At night I'm a christmas tree. HID + LED blinkie up front, two PB Superflashes in the back (one on constant, one on my helmet) plus 4" DOT truck reflector and a 12V Xenon strobe (visible to a couple of miles, visible in heavy fog) and a very reflective construction vest, two spoke reflectors plus 3M hi-intensity silver reflective tape on my frame and on half of each of my wheels (makes them flash on-off).

In the daytime, I'm as easy to miss as anyone else wearing relatively bright clothing. At night, well, you'd have to be comatose.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:10 PM
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Besides which you generally don't have to deal with the "I'm getting home as fast as I can after work" cagers later in the day.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:15 PM
  #16  
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Any time, day or night.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
Any time, day or night.
With good lights.
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Old 09-23-08, 12:22 PM
  #18  
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With enough light I'll ride anytime. My biggest concerns are drunk drivers, and riding through bad areas. I ride through the ghetto in the day all the time, but at night it might not be the smartest place to ride. It usually just means I have to take a rather indirect route to get to my destination.
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Old 09-23-08, 01:02 PM
  #19  
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Darkness really isn't a factor, since as many others have said, I have a setup where I am probably more visible at night. Since I live fairly far north, my commute for much of the year is in the dark - both ways. For me the worst times to ride are during rush hour - morning or evening. Motorists seem to have even less sense than usual when they are on autopilot going to work or home - you see fewer of those late night.

FWIW my commute is 1/3 urban - well lit streets etc, and 2/3 rural with no lights, little or no shoulder.
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Old 09-23-08, 01:13 PM
  #20  
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I have concerns about riding the MUPs after dark. It's not legal here, so they're pretty deserted, and if anything ever did happen to me, either from some assailant (which is pretty rare around here, I think, at least on the MUP), or from my own stupidity (more likely), no one would come by me until morning.
But, other than that, I enjoy riding later more than earlier. I prefer daylight, but, failing that, I prefer dark and very few cars to dark and lots of cars. We have a monthly ride to a midnight movie in town, and the ride home at 2:am is very peaceful, much more peaceful than the 10m ride to our starting point.
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Old 09-23-08, 01:16 PM
  #21  
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I don't really have a problem with too late (or too early), but I generally stay off MUPs that are segregated from roads. I just picture something (man or beast) jumping out and knocking me off my bike! Plus, I know of a few spots on one of the MUPs I frequently use where there are homeless campsites, and I don't want to disturb them at night...
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Old 09-23-08, 01:40 PM
  #22  
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In the city it's either daytime or nighttime. Streetlights pick up where daylight leaves off. I've ridden at night on a fairly busy street, not more than a couple of kilometres at a stretch. I haven't been on the road past 9 pm. There are a lot of streetlights, all the storefronts and bars are lit up, and there are fewer cars than there are at rush hour.

As an astronomer I'm well aware that more light does not necessarily mean better visibility or safer conditions; bright lights can make you less sensitive to seeing detail in areas that are not directly lit, so it's important to watch for those sharp shadows and what might come out of them.

I've never yet ridden on a road surface that I couldn't see. My headlight is probably not strong enough to illuminate the road for me, and probably does more good in making me more visible to others.

Once it's dark, I think my criteria for whether to ride would have more to do with how many people are around and how safe I feel from crime. I wouldn't ride a MUP after dark even if I had a good headlight, because of the desertedness and opportunity for a mugging.
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Old 09-23-08, 01:54 PM
  #23  
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1921. Any later than that and the volume of traffic is just way too high for safe commuting.

bf
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Old 09-23-08, 01:57 PM
  #24  
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FWIW my commute is 1/3 urban - well lit streets etc, and 2/3 rural with no lights, little or no shoulder.

Same here.

I leave my home at 3:30am, so I ride one way in the dark every day! I use the PB Superflash in rear and reflective triangle and accents. L&M Solo Logic and LED back up in front. I see very little traffic in the morning and enjoy my morning commute much more than the evening trip home. With proper setup I think you are safe at all times of the day and night. You can never guard yourself against the random acts of idiots though!
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Old 09-23-08, 02:04 PM
  #25  
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Use your judgement. The fearless "anytime" crew may have fewer motorized, druken hazzards in their area. Or maybe they're lucky or just more situationally aware (some people are natural predators, someare downright oblivious). Everyone should remember suggestions here are exactly that, and each cyclist must evaluate the practical safety limits of their route. Evaluate your route based on geography, local demographics, traffic patterns, and your own capabilities.

I bike to work in total darkness, about 20 miles, but I start at 4:30am, a full two hours after the bars close. I would think again if I had to leave two hours earlier. When I go on salary and leave later in the morning I'll drive the first 5 miles and bike the remaining 15 just to avoid the half-asleep, late-for-work, texting idiots. I barely survived the "research" and have made an informed decision on that.
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