Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Riding bike at night

Notices
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.

Riding bike at night

Old 06-19-10, 09:29 PM
  #1  
cytotoxictcell
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brockton Massachuetts
Posts: 36

Bikes: Some Mountain bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Riding bike at night

I plan to ride my bike at like 12:32AM in the mourning (train arrives there). What should i have on my bike to ride my bike at night. Its about 14 miles to my house. I did a test today during the day and it took me 67 Minutes to do 14 miles. Is a reflective vest good enough?
cytotoxictcell is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 09:41 PM
  #2  
Thomas Brock
Senior Member
 
Thomas Brock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Jacksonville, NC
Posts: 189

Bikes: 2007 Trek 7.3FX

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I always ride with my Planet Bike Super Flash rear light and at least one white front light. If it's really dark when I ride, I'll use two front lights (one on flash, one on steady).

I don't wear reflective vests, but have quite a bit of reflective tape on my bicycle's frame.
Thomas Brock is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 09:54 PM
  #3  
irclean
Born Again Pagan
 
irclean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Southwestern Ontario
Posts: 2,241

Bikes: Schwinn hybrid, Raleigh MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Active lighting is indespensible, but I also have a reflective sash, which is more comfortable and more easily stored than a vest.
irclean is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 10:03 PM
  #4  
xtrajack
xtrajack
 
xtrajack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Maine
Posts: 2,058

Bikes: Kona fire mountain/xtracycle,Univega landrover fs,Nishiki custom sport Ross professional super gran tour Schwinn Mesa (future Xtracycle donor bike)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cytotoxictcell View Post
I plan to ride my bike at like 12:32AM in the mourning (train arrives there). What should i have on my bike to ride my bike at night. Its about 14 miles to my house. I did a test today during the day and it took me 67 Minutes to do 14 miles. Is a reflective vest good enough?
Permaybehaps for you.
I personally wouldn't ride at night without my Magicshine headlight, lighted reflective vest and Planet Bike Superflash taillight, as a minimum.
I also have a four LED head light on the bike in addition to the Magicshine. I have a 105 lumen helmet light. I have a Down Low Glow as well as 2 generic blinkies on the rear. I have the CPSC required reflectors and have put reflective tape on the rear frame members of my bike.

BTW, I work third shift, so I do most of my riding at night. I have been doing this for two years now.
.

Last edited by xtrajack; 06-19-10 at 10:11 PM.
xtrajack is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 10:08 PM
  #5  
bhop
Senior Member
 
bhop's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 1,894

Bikes: Bianchi Via Nirone 7, Jamis Sputnik

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I ride with two headlights at night. Planet bike superflash in the back, another red blinkie on my messenger bag, which also has reflective strips sewn in. (Bailey Works Super Pro) Seems to work ok.
bhop is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 10:31 PM
  #6  
IanHelgesen
Riding the road to PARADISE...RIP
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Active lights are far more effective than reflectors. A Planet Bike Superflash can be had for under $20 dollars, and is extremely effective. For headlights, you'll need to decide whether you need a light you can see by, or if you can get by with one that's only intended to be seen. For seeing-by, I used an MC-E flashlight (until it got stolen last month) and was very happy with it. Many people here recommend the Magicshine headlight, which is basically a similar flashlight with a larger battery pack. The downside is that see-by lights generally cost $100 or more, and have battery lives measured in hours. Be-seen lights can be had quite cheaply, and will last for weeks or months between battery charges/replacement.
IanHelgesen is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 10:37 PM
  #7  
dahut
Ridin' South Cackalacky
 
dahut's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 1,918
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Great thread - l like the ideas!
dahut is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 11:05 PM
  #8  
mikeybikes
Senior Member
 
mikeybikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Edgewater, CO
Posts: 3,214

Bikes: Tons

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Reflective vest if you got it. Also, active lighting. Get a decent headlight and a decent tail light.

Above all, stay aware of your surroundings. At 12:23am traffic will be light, but it will be there. Constantly scan in front and behind for headlights.

I run my commuter with a dynamo and a bright headlight and a bright tail light. I also have front and rear reflectors (built into the lights actually), pedal reflectors, spoke reflectors and my tires have a reflective strip. Side visibility is just as important as front or rear visibility.
mikeybikes is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 11:26 PM
  #9  
Lot's Knife
Senior Member
 
Lot's Knife's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 522
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Where can you get a PB Superflash for under $20? Thanks.
Lot's Knife is offline  
Old 06-19-10, 11:50 PM
  #10  
azesty
Hot in China
 
azesty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: China
Posts: 961

Bikes: Giant Lava

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It depends on the road surface. If it is always good, and regularly cleaned, then I might be happy with only a blinky on the front. I generally like to have two on the back, and change their batteries at different times, that way I have a backup.

If the road surface isnt good, then how much light you need depends on your speed. If you ride quickly you need more light, to cover a larger area in front of you to give you the same amount of time to react. If you go slowly, you need less light.

z
azesty is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 12:03 AM
  #11  
RT
The Weird Beard
 
RT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: COS
Posts: 8,554
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Reflective ankle bands, one with my dog tag attached.
Magicshine headlight.
Three rear blinikies, one on seatpost, one on backpack, one in left mesh pocket of backpack, all blinking randomly.
White gloves.
Pepper spray.

I ride home at 1:30 a.m. through mostly residential neighborhoods.
RT is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 12:24 AM
  #12  
ptle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,453
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have two DX rear lights and a PB 1 watt up front. I live near/in the city so I don't need more than a flashing light for the front. The two lights in the back are blinking at random rates. I've also got reflective tape on my seatstays, chainstays, crankarms, seat tube, and fork. My bike is pretty reflective from the back and decent from the side. I've also got two reflective straps on my Timbuk2 and some reflective tape on my helmet.

I recommend the cheap <$4 rear flash light from Deals Extreme. Also if you can afford it a Magicshine P7 for the front. The tape I use is 3M SOLAS tape.
ptle is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 12:25 AM
  #13  
cytotoxictcell
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brockton Massachuetts
Posts: 36

Bikes: Some Mountain bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The roads are hilly the first 3 mile than its pretty much flat the rest of the way. Are pedal reflectors useless?
cytotoxictcell is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 01:24 AM
  #14  
colleen c
I am a caffine girl
 
colleen c's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Bay Area
Posts: 1,815

Bikes: 2012 Stumpjumper FSR Comp...2010 Scott CR1 CF...2007 Novara FS Float2.0...2009 Specialized Hardrock Disc...2009 Schwinn Le Tour GSr

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by cytotoxictcell View Post
The roads are hilly the first 3 mile than its pretty much flat the rest of the way. Are pedal reflectors useless?
Very useless indeed. When I am driving, I like observing other biker and how visible they are at night. Those reflectors on the pedal are absolutely useless. The only usefullness from them is that they are in compliance with the law in those area where you have to have the on the pedal.

My morning ride is always in the dark and several freeway overpass where cars are merging onto city street from sharp off ramp. Lights for me is critical in those area. Here is what I have:

One blinkin red Magic shine red tailight on bike pointed directly back
Two 5 led cuberider red blinkie on rack pointed 90 degree to side
One red PBSF on helmet blinking

One constant on white Magic shine 900 headlamp on handlebar
One 5 led white Powerbeam blinky on top of helmet
Two white mini blinkie on my drop bar pointed 90 degree

This setup is visible 360 degree and with a hi and lo position mounting of the lights. It may seem an excessive of lights but it does makes a difference. One coworker of mine just got off the freeway and was merging from the offramp and slowdown for me. Later at work , he confessed that he thought a law enforcement vehicle was approaching was his first reaction of all those red lights before he realise it was only me and my bike, however it did make him slow down. Many driver out here are not used to seeing a bicyclist with all those bright light and that helps because it makes you more unique from the rest.

Last edited by colleen c; 06-20-10 at 01:37 AM.
colleen c is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 03:32 AM
  #15  
b_young
Support JDRF
 
b_young's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Arkansas
Posts: 925

Bikes: Specialized Sirrus, Specialized Roubaix Elite

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 52 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
2 lights on back and 2 on front is my minimum. I have a cheap light on my helmet from lowes. I like it a lot.
b_young is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 04:31 AM
  #16  
referee54
Senior Member
 
referee54's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Columbia Station, Ohio
Posts: 249

Bikes: Just a Raleigh C-200 with many upgrades

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I look like the spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. I have a Planet Bike Blinky on my rear rack, and another flashing light clipped to my back pack. I have reflective tape on my helmet and I have two head lights---one flashes and one steady. You want your lighting to attract attention---while traffic maybe light at that hour, the peole probably won't be expecting to see a cyclist out at that hour, too.
referee54 is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 04:40 AM
  #17  
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 26,625

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8879 Post(s)
Liked 1,235 Times in 849 Posts
Originally Posted by cytotoxictcell View Post
I plan to ride my bike at like 12:32AM in the mourning (train arrives there). What should i have on my bike to ride my bike at night. Its about 14 miles to my house. I did a test today during the day and it took me 67 Minutes to do 14 miles. Is a reflective vest good enough?
No.

You need good lighting.
genec is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 05:21 AM
  #18  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,384
Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 800 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 161 Posts
Originally Posted by mikeshoup View Post
...Above all, stay aware of your surroundings. At 12:23am traffic will be light, but it will be there. Constantly scan in front and behind for headlights...
Active lighting and reflective wear are of course crucial, as is awareness. An adage I keep in mind though when riding in the dark is "Watch for cars not just headlights." I see cars without headlights on not infrequently on well lit streets, and if the driver is inattentive to his illumination, what else might he overlook?
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 11:38 AM
  #19  
RT
The Weird Beard
 
RT's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: COS
Posts: 8,554
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Active lighting and reflective wear are of course crucial, as is awareness. An adage I keep in mind though when riding in the dark is "Watch for cars not just headlights." I see cars without headlights on not infrequently on well lit streets, and if the driver is inattentive to his illumination, what else might he overlook?
This. After midnight the number of intoxicated motorists is significant. Also watch out for wildlife; rabbits, foxes, and mangy dogs.
RT is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 12:05 PM
  #20  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 20,119
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 528 Times in 390 Posts
it's amazing how bright a reflective vest and reflective ankle straps are. Randonneurs ride a lot at night, and when I volunteered on a ride, I was driving around and was a little worried about overtaking a rider without seeing them. No problem though, the vest and ankle bands are amazingly visible from a distance. It goes without saying that a good rear light is a good idea, but the reflective wear almost drowns it out.
unterhausen is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 09:37 PM
  #21  
Jim from Boston
Senior Member
 
Jim from Boston's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 7,384
Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 800 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 161 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
..."Watch for cars not just headlights." I see cars without headlights on not infrequently on well lit streets, and if the driver is inattentive to his illumination, what else might he overlook?
Originally Posted by Toddorado View Post
This. After midnight the number of intoxicated motorists is significant. Also watch out for wildlife; rabbits, foxes, and mangy dogs.
Thanks for the reply. As a predawn rider, I have a hypothesis about drivers in the dark. IMO, the crazies (at least around Boston) are off the road by 4:00 AM, and the crazy commuter lemmings don't get started until aroud 6:00 AM. In those two golden hours of 4:00 to 6:00 I think the best, most safe and courteous drivers are out. These are the people for the most part who get up early, such as newspaper deliverers, bakers, and in general those entrusted to get the world started for those of us who work in the daytime.

Besides that, drivers at that time are fewest in number too.
Jim from Boston is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 09:52 PM
  #22  
stringbreaker
stringbreaker
 
stringbreaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: wa. State
Posts: 4,453

Bikes: specialized crossroads hybrid 2006 Raleigh Cadent 2 1971 Schwinn Varsity, 1972 Schwinn Continental, 1977 Schwinn Volare (frame)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply. As a predawn rider, I have a hypothesis about drivers in the dark. IMO, the crazies (at least around Boston) are off the road by 4:00 AM, and the crazy commuter lemmings don't get started until aroud 6:00 AM. In those two golden hours of 4:00 to 6:00 I think the best, most safe and courteous drivers are out. These are the people for the most part who get up early, such as newspaper deliverers, bakers, and in general those entrusted to get the world started for those of us who work in the daytime.

Besides that, drivers at that time are fewest in number too.
I pretty much agree with you except there are some produce company delivery drivers around this area. (Duck produce delivery) that for some reason seem to think although there are two lanes in each direction one or two of the drivers never get all the way over. Semi guys ar usually great but someof these guys in the big cube style delivery vans just seem not to get the whole share the road concept. I'm loght up like a christmas tree and they still give me a buzz once in a while.
__________________
(Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)
stringbreaker is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 10:11 PM
  #23  
cytotoxictcell
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Brockton Massachuetts
Posts: 36

Bikes: Some Mountain bike

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks for the ideas people! When i get the money i plan to get both front and back lights.
cytotoxictcell is offline  
Old 06-20-10, 11:02 PM
  #24  
randomgear
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: beantown
Posts: 924

Bikes: '89 Specialized Hardrock Fixed Gear Commuter; 1984? Dawes Atlantis

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 39 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I disagree that pedal reflectors are worthless, they help drivers know that what they are approaching is a cyclist.
I believe that side reflectors on the sides of wheels also help drivers know what they are approaching, and that they work better than reflective sidewalls - brake grime from braking in the wet quickly covers the tires with grim reducing their worth. I'm a firm believer in both Active front, rear, and side lighting coupled with passive reflectors front, rear and sides.
Wearing white or light colored shirts or jackets also helps.
For a great site discussing both active and passive lighting, created by BF member Mechbgon, look here: https://www.mechbgon.com/visibility/index.html
randomgear is offline  
Old 06-21-10, 12:18 AM
  #25  
IanHelgesen
Riding the road to PARADISE...RIP
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 171
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Lot's Knife View Post
Where can you get a PB Superflash for under $20? Thanks.
I get mine from MEC, which isn't much help for non-Canadians. Our prices are almost always higher than in the States, though, so I'm sure you can find a similar deal. The big online sources (Performance, Nashbar, PBK, etc) would be a good place to start.
IanHelgesen is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.