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What is Safer? Riding at Night or the Day

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What is Safer? Riding at Night or the Day

Old 08-15-04, 11:44 PM
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What is Safer? Riding at Night or the Day

Knowing the route and being lit-up like a christmas tree. I say riding at night because I can see the cars and they can see me. What do you think?
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Old 08-16-04, 08:45 AM
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I think early morning (4 to 7 a.m.) is the safest because there are fewer vehicles around and fewer drunks.
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Old 08-16-04, 09:30 PM
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I say riding at night for no reason other than the fact that the temperatures are *usually* (but not always) cooler. The biggest risks I find in cycling are heatstroke, dehydration and skin cancer.
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Old 08-16-04, 09:49 PM
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I am usually a mid afteroon-evening rider. Now that the days are getting shorter I usually catch some nice sunsets, of course im out biking during rush hour, but im in a quiet little town where traffic is light most of the time so I never worry.
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Old 08-16-04, 09:56 PM
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I prefer night too, and not just because I work third shift. It is SO much easier to see the cars - you can tell there is one a block out of view coming up on that next intersection. Pretty hard to do that during the day...
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Old 08-16-04, 10:58 PM
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As long as your lit up well then night or day is about the same. During the night time I find most drivers give me a wider girth when they pass, during the day I find some drivers try to see how close they can come to you. But during the night you will find more trouble makers driving and may throw things at you or scream etc.

Speaking of lighting up at night, I use a Cateye LED taillight AND those new LED lights that plug into your handlebar ends. Of course I use a headlight as well.
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Old 08-17-04, 11:54 AM
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Reflective bands make you really stand out under car headlamps.
I think I am harder to ignore at night.
Riding at dusk is the worst, esp into a low sun.
There are streets with too much "visual noise" in the form of street-lighting, neon signs, traffic lights, signposts. Its very easy for a cyclist to get lost in the glare. I prefer streets with simple lighting and fairly dark bits so I have good contrast.
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Old 08-17-04, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Kathleen
Knowing the route and being lit-up like a christmas tree. I say riding at night because I can see the cars and they can see me. What do you think?
sunday morning is by far the best\safest for me. there is a strange calm that settles over manhattan early on sunday. everyone is moving at a slower pace, much less traffic, and drivers seem more willing to share the road. monday morning is the worst.

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Old 08-17-04, 03:04 PM
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It's the same as driving or walking - Riding a bike at night is more dangerous than riding during the day.

There are definitely more drunks on the road, it's harder for motorists to see you and/or identify you as a bicycle, and it's much harder for you to see and avoid road hazards.

It can be done, but it is distinctly more dangerous than riding during the day. Here's a web page that analyzes this issue (among others...scroll down to "Night vs. Day"):

http://www.zzapp.org/rileygea/itsa/bikefat.htm
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Old 08-17-04, 09:07 PM
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Originally Posted by SSP
It's the same as driving or walking - Riding a bike at night is more dangerous than riding during the day.

There are definitely more drunks on the road, it's harder for motorists to see you and/or identify you as a bicycle, and it's much harder for you to see and avoid road hazards.

It can be done, but it is distinctly more dangerous than riding during the day. Here's a web page that analyzes this issue (among others...scroll down to "Night vs. Day"):

http://www.zzapp.org/rileygea/itsa/bikefat.htm
SUMMATION:
Figure 23 demonstrates that adult urban cyclists now constitute the dominant modality among bicycle traffic fatalities in general, and that nighttime fatalities comprise at least half the problem in this class. This is out of all proportion to the amount of urban cycling actually being done at night, and strongly suggests more attention needs to be given to the entire nighttime bicycle conspicuity problem. The new flashing red LED taillights that have been developed over the past decade appear to offer an excellent technological solution to the problem, but in the absence of any real effort to educate cyclists as to their need, much less any effort to enforce nighttime safety equipment standards among cyclists out riding after dark, it is questionable how much progress can actually be made in curtailing these imminently preventable fatalities.
These statistics do no take into consideration the current safety features available to cyclists at night. I just got back from a ride at night. My Xenon Strobe was flashing from my seat pack and a red led from my helmet. I also had two bright halogen lights on the front. I would bet you money that most of the people referred to in that report were not adorned in anything near that bright.

This is a flawed report. Obviously anyone in the dark whether walking or cycling is more vulnerable then the day if they do not take the available precautions.
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Old 08-17-04, 09:58 PM
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I agree with Andrew P. The safest time appears to be in the early morning before rush hour traffic. I cycle at night, and with school out the teenage boys are a pain in the butt. I have worked midnights for over 20 years. There are a lot of drunks out there. On Friday and Saturday evenings, no one drives the speed limit. They either drive real slow, or real fast and pass on the right. I have had my car totaled twice by drunk drivers. I cycle at night, but I watch for lights in my mirrors and ride on the far, far shoulder or even the sidewalk. I'm a little more fragile than automobiles.
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Old 08-17-04, 11:05 PM
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Night has its benefits in respect to visibility - but they are greatly outweighed by the drink'n'drivers and hoons especially if you start heading out to the 'burbs.

Apparently, US and most EU countries don't have random breath testing ? It's not uncommon heading home once a month to pass a 'booze bus' setup to randomly sample drivers sobriety.

I also make a habit to stay away from the courts near Victoria Square in Adelaide. It seems to attract lots of drunk lawyers
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Old 08-17-04, 11:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Ranger
These statistics do no take into consideration the current safety features available to cyclists at night. I just got back from a ride at night. My Xenon Strobe was flashing from my seat pack and a red led from my helmet. I also had two bright halogen lights on the front. I would bet you money that most of the people referred to in that report were not adorned in anything near that bright.

This is a flawed report. Obviously anyone in the dark whether walking or cycling is more vulnerable then the day if they do not take the available precautions.
I'm sure that riding with modern lighting and reflectors can improve upon safety. And, a lot of night time cycling accidents involve drunk cyclists (most of whom have no safety equipment whatsoever).

But, night riding is, and probably always will be, more dangerous than riding during the day. Cars have very powerful lighting systems, and yet the accident and injuries rates for automobiles are still higher at night...the same issues apply to cycling.
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Old 08-18-04, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Kathleen
Knowing the route and being lit-up like a christmas tree. I say riding at night because I can see the cars and they can see me. What do you think?
While you will get many answers based on personel preferances
the facts are.......

Mankind doesn't have good night vison. All the lights in the
world will not compensate for this fact on a vehicle as small
as a bicycle.

People don't expect to come up on a bicycle at night so they
will not ,as rule, be looking for a vehicle as small as bike.

That said I DO NOT ride at night ,dawn or dusk. It's just not
worth the risk of injury to me. Am I a fair weather rider?
Yes, I suppose I am. However, until bicycles become MUCH more
common in the U.S.A. as they are in the rest of the world I
will confine my rides to daylight hours.
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Old 08-18-04, 10:25 AM
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I don't know about the safest but in my mind the most dangerous times are the morning and evening when the sun is approaching the horizon blinding those driving into it.
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Old 08-18-04, 10:31 AM
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During my commute, I have had several close calls during my afternoon ride home, and none during my early morning pre-dawn ride. So, I would say pre-dawn is safer.
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Old 08-18-04, 11:24 AM
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http://www.ncbikeclub.org/documents/Night_Cycling.htmlNight Cycling
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Old 08-18-04, 11:41 AM
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When I used to commute by bike, I found that adding some 3"x1" strips of 3M "Scotchlite" reflective material on the front and back sides of my crank arms proved very effective.

It's about the same color as most cranks, so it's not very noticeable during the day. But, at night the effect is a very noticeable "flash" with each pedal stroke. This flashing helps to quickly identify you as a bicycle to overtaking traffic (the same way that pedal reflectors on low-end bikes work). Ankle reflectors (especially the yellow ones) are also effective in this regard.

IMO, it's critical that an overtaking driver quickly recognizes that you are a bicyclist because then they know that they will probably have to swing around you. With many lighting systems (especially steady-state red taillamps) there is nothing to alert the overtaking driver that you are a cyclist in the roadway, and not somebody's mailbox reflector.
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Old 08-18-04, 12:08 PM
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Merely anecdote: I ride each weekday morning/evening, year long, and I have been hit 4 times by automobiles -- All in the evening, and all during sunlight hours. I have never been hit at night. I wear brightly colored, reflective clothing at all times (daylight/darkness). I also use 2 headlamps, 2 rear lights and 3 rear reflectors.

I am guessing that the lights make me more visible during darkness than bright clothing during daylight, therefore I don't get hit. But it's just a guess.
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Old 08-18-04, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by SSP
When I used to commute by bike, I found that adding some 3"x1" strips of 3M "Scotchlite" reflective material on the front and back sides of my crank arms proved very effective.

It's about the same color as most cranks, so it's not very noticeable during the day. But, at night the effect is a very noticeable "flash" with each pedal stroke. This flashing helps to quickly identify you as a bicycle to overtaking traffic (the same way that pedal reflectors on low-end bikes work). Ankle reflectors (especially the yellow ones) are also effective in this regard.
Where did you get said reflective material? I've been looking all over, I asked my LBS if they sold any reflective tape, all I got was a terse 'no'. End of disccussion. Ok there.
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Old 08-18-04, 02:53 PM
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$1 per foot is what my bike shop gets for reflective tape. Here's an online source with various grades and colors:

Reflective Tape:
http://www.identi-tape.com/safetyonetwo.htm
http://www.identi-tape.com/hi-intensity.htm
http://www.identi-tape.com/conspicuity.htm

More choices available if you google on 'reflective tape'
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Old 08-18-04, 03:28 PM
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I thought this was a silly question, but after reading thread I think there's reasons to believe it is safer at night in certain areas. The stats showing a greater risk for urban night riding may be due to drunk riders, more than drunk drivers. I know drunk driving is a problem, but I also know many urban bikers who get smashed in bars then get smashed again on the ride home. Lots of lights and reflectors and less traffic may offset dangers of darkness and drunks (drivers) in many cases. Night riding on country road (no street lights, no shoulder, fewer cars = faster speeds) no thanks! City can be scary too, gangsters took my friend out on purpose for fun (he survived and almost fully recovered). Killers like to practice, be careful!
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Old 08-18-04, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by randya
$1 per foot is what my bike shop gets for reflective tape. Here's an online source with various grades and colors:

Reflective Tape:
http://www.identi-tape.com/safetyonetwo.htm
http://www.identi-tape.com/hi-intensity.htm
http://www.identi-tape.com/conspicuity.htm

More choices available if you google on 'reflective tape'
Good links! A combination of the Silver and Gold high intensity tape on each crankarm would be very noticeable, and easily identified as a bicycle due to the left/right up/down motion.
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Old 08-18-04, 03:56 PM
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I think that different time frames have their own unique dangers.
Nighttime with very little traffic can be much safer overall - unless there's an impaired aggressive idiot driving. Rush hour dangers, yes, but then everyone's doing pretty much the same thing, with little room to be independently stupid.
I've found that, where I commute, the least desirable times can be between the rush hours, when everybody's doing something different, and there's more room for people to do dumb things.
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Old 08-18-04, 08:29 PM
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Check with your city's transportation or streets department, whoever is responsible for road signs. Most traffic signs are steel or aluminum with a reflective adhesive material, similar to Scotchlite, stuck onto them. Most such signs are also rectangular, so there's little of the material wasted. But the "internationa symbol for school crossing" signs are shaped like the profile of a house; think of a square with a right triangle on top of it. Rather than alternating the cutting of them, they just cut off the two smaller triangles in the top corners in order to cut the material for signs of this size. They donated all the leftover triangles to our local bike advocacy group, which in turn gives them out at events, to new members, etc. Who knows, the sign-making agency in your local jurisdiction just might have a bunch of this stuff they're wondering what to do with. Only thing is, it isn't as flexible as Scotchlite. So it sticks well on things like helmets, crank arms, etc., but not as well on "tight" curves like frame tubes, or flexible surfaces like panniers.
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