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Am I mad?

Old 01-08-20, 02:35 AM
  #1  
Amt0571
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Am I mad?

Yesterday I posted a picture of me cycling in a pitch dark road at night on Instagram. And it caused quite a stir among some familiars and coworkers who told me I'm mad and I'm going to be run over.

I've been commuting at night for 3 years, and I always use 2 front and 2 rear lights. I mount one light on handlebars and another on the helmet. On the rear I have one light fixed and the other in blinking mode. I have enough light to descend at 60km/h without feeling unsafe. And I have always felt safer on the night (relative to cars), since it seems it's something drivers don't expect, so they pass way more cautiously than during the day.

I haven't found almost anyone else riding on the night, and the feedback to my Instagram post has worried me somewhat. Am I really mad? Does someone else think it's really that dangerous?

Last edited by Amt0571; 01-08-20 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 01-08-20, 02:43 AM
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Night is OK. Sunset and sunrise not so much.
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Old 01-08-20, 03:51 AM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
Night is OK. Sunset and sunrise not so much.
QFT
When I commuted, I found traffic gave a wider berth at night, than during the day. I ran ample lighting, and some reflective tape on the wheels and crank arms.
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Old 01-08-20, 04:04 AM
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"We're all mad, we've always been mad!
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Old 01-08-20, 04:57 AM
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I usually end up riding at night. I like the fact the traffic is at a lower volume. I might get passed 4 times in a 20 mile ride. I do not like, however, spotting hazards. Maybe its a light issue for me, but when I ride at night I have to focus really hard on the road to make sure I dont hit anything which takes away from the joy of riding. My light seems to be pretty bright, but I also know there is always something better.
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Old 01-08-20, 05:16 AM
  #6  
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I have limited experience riding at night. Cars weren't what scared me, it was not being able to see potholes and junk in the roads, and on the the roads I typically cycle on, not being able to see the nocturnal varmints (especially deer) that were always crossing the roads, I assume to get to the other side...

Lights today are way better - in recent years I've bought a good set for going through some tunnels on rail trails around here and was pretty impressed. But, not many tunnel-crossing varmints to worry about...
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Old 01-08-20, 05:23 AM
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I think you are ok.
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Old 01-08-20, 05:45 AM
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There is a lot more contrast between the dark and your taillight, than in the day. Some of the tail lights are bright enough to be used at noon, and still be worthwhile.
When my headlight is on high, it's brighter than my car on low. Good reflectors work great if the car lights are aimed at you. I do a few hours a week in the dark, been dong it since about 1995. The same model, but newer lights are much brighter than my 10 year old headlight.
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Old 01-08-20, 06:17 AM
  #9  
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When I ride at night commuting home,I am more worried about hitting pedestrians/evening joggers than I am about getting hit by cars. Pedestrians don't have lights, often cross roads at odd angles, and are near invisible until they step into the relatively narrow field of light my bike lights create. I have had a number of near misses with joggers, whom I didn't see and who didnt see me despite my lights, suddenly crossing my path
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Old 01-08-20, 06:33 AM
  #10  
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It sounds to me that you are taking the necessary precautions.
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Old 01-08-20, 07:35 AM
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As sort of mentioned, the problems at night are people walking or on bikes--or driving--who do not have lights on or refelctive material/reflectors of any kind. Other than that, as long as you have good lights, the clear advantage of riding at night/esp. middle of the night, as I usually do, is less traffic. If you ride out of town in a more rural setting, as I also do, wildlife can be a danger. A decent sized deer hit at 20 mph can kill. I have literally run right into an entire pack of coyotes while running at night. Had I been on my bike, I definitely would have gone down. So, pluses and minuses.
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Old 01-08-20, 08:19 AM
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https://www.desmoinesregister.com/st...sh/2823501001/
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Old 01-08-20, 08:23 AM
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Answer: No, but...

I get the willies riding in the dark and have had a few close calls. Assuming good lights, I think the main danger is one's own signals getting lost in the light clutter of auto traffic. For instance, the worst night incident I've had in the past few years was taking a left turn with the green arrow across a 2-lane road and having someone in the oncoming lane take a right on red on top of me. I managed to swerve around him, but just barely. The driver was clearly terrified and abjectly apologetic and I think my pretty-bright LED light simply got lost among the headlights surrounding it. Anyone who has ever tried to pick out the lights of ships and navigational aids against the lights of a city while entering a busy harbor at night knows the problem. In sum, the darker it is, the safer I feel.
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Old 01-08-20, 08:25 AM
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It seems we live in a culture where projecting your fears on others is a hobby. This is usually done by people with no direct knowledge about the subject. I have always felt safe riding at nights, because of reasons already mentioned. So I have direct knowledge and I dont think your mad. Ive found its best to not tell other non cyclists about my cycling activities, it usually results in exactly what happened to you. Something along the lines of telling your wife about your girlfriend, not really any upside to this either.

Last edited by Baboo; 01-08-20 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 01-08-20, 08:53 AM
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you are in good company

https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/
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Old 01-08-20, 08:53 AM
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Are you mad, bro? I don't know you well enough to judge.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:02 AM
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"I want you to get up right now. Sit up. Go to your windows. Open them and stick your head out and yell Im as mad as hell and Im not gonna take this anymore!'"
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Old 01-08-20, 09:07 AM
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Not mad, angry!


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Old 01-08-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
Well, I commute on a road bike. Exactly the same bike I use when I ride for pleasure, and ride it exactly the same way. It's just a road bike after all. So I thought it was relevant to post it on this forum.

I wanted to make sure I didn't get so used to it that I don't notice the risk anymore... It seems I scared more than a couple of family members and coworkers, and just wanted to make sure I was calibrating the risks correctly.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Well, I commute on a road bike. Exactly the same bike I use when I ride for pleasure, and ride it exactly the same way. It's just a road bike after all. So I thought it was relevant to post it on this forum. I wanted to make sure I didn't get so used to it that I don't notice the risk anymore... It seems I scared more than a couple of family members and coworkers, and just wanted to make sure I was calibrating the risks correctly.
a man has to do what a man has to do ...

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Old 01-08-20, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
And I have always felt safer on the night (relative to cars), since it seems it's something drivers don't expect, so they pass way more cautiously than during the day.

I haven't found almost anyone else riding on the night, and the feedback to my Instagram post has worried me somewhat. Am I really mad? Does someone else think it's really that dangerous?
When I commute it's always hours before sunrise. Come October through March, any riding, recreational or otherwise is going to have a strong after sunset component.

After dark, drivers tend to have a lot less visual "clutter" they need to process. I find that for that reason alone they seem to be more attentive & make safer/better decisions with how they operate around cyclists.

Obviously, appropriate lighting that signals to be "not clutter" or "worthy of attention" earlier rather than later helps them a lot with their duty to operate their vehicle in a manner that respects the rights of others.

Maybe you should ask your instagram family why it is they drive in a manner that could be unsafe or presents risk to those outside their vehicle.

20181019_042927 by Richard Mozzarella, on Flickr
Here is my commuter/primary night bike. 3M retro-reflective tape makes it glow like fluorescent tubes using light from their own headlights. They're going to have a hard time getting anyone to believe whatever story they come up with if they do hit me "by accident."

Last edited by base2; 01-08-20 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 01-08-20, 09:50 AM
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Old 01-08-20, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
a man has to do what a man has to do ...

https://youtu.be/V-6m9zpfJt4
I wouldn't ride at night in traffic with that ridiculous light. I may be mad, but not that mad!
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Old 01-08-20, 10:00 AM
  #24  
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You’re fine.
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Old 01-08-20, 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
ridiculous light
what's ridiculous about it?
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