Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Riding at night any more dangerous?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Riding at night any more dangerous?

Old 08-02-11, 04:43 AM
  #1  
rolliepollie
Flying Pig
Thread Starter
 
rolliepollie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 319

Bikes: 06 Specialized Allez Sport, '10 Trek Fuel EX 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Riding at night any more dangerous?

Seems like everyone thinks night riding is more dangerous than daytime, but is it really? Are there studies or statistics on this? Anyone here ride so late?

I'm beginning to enjoy night riding around 9-midnight when the sky is completely dark-something about my 750-lumen headlight blitzing the dark that's gratifying to me. But I keep thinking I'm taking a significant risk going out that late - whether from drunk/tired drivers, thugs, muggers, boogeymen, etc. There will be times when I imagine I'll ride much past midnight. This is in San Francisco, and for now usually ride from Sunset district into Golden Gate Park, through Presidio into Marina. At times I see some loiterers, and there's always some dude with a flashlight walking around on the road in the Presidio...As I get more fit will also be heading across the bridge into Marin.

I got a red blinkie in the back and about to get a reflective ankle band so visibility shouldn't be an issue. I also bring pepper spray.

Get me out of this suicide run mindset everytime I step into the shadows...unless it's justified?

Last edited by rolliepollie; 08-02-11 at 10:34 AM.
rolliepollie is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 04:54 AM
  #2  
Shytheed Dumas
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 62

Bikes: Trek 7000, Road Bike TBD

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I start most of my rides before sunrise and do worry about riding in the dark, but mostly about distracted sleepy drivers heading to work. Blinkies are always on and I wear bright yellow or white, but I am curious on the statistics as well.
Shytheed Dumas is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 04:57 AM
  #3  
STP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 302
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll let someone else speak to urban night riding as I don't do that. Rural night riding, on the other hand, is fine. No statistics, of course, just first hand experience. I worry less about loiterers and criminals and more about wildlife and poor gravel road conditions. Good luck, because I DO find night riding to be a nice diversion from day riding. Too bad there's no scenery to look at, though. It's just the constant patch of planet earth sliding beneath you illuminated by your light.
STP is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 05:43 AM
  #4  
kstephens
Senior Member
 
kstephens's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Western Ky
Posts: 347

Bikes: Trek 1.5, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Trek

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I did some night riding this summer. I always felt a little more visible at night (head light/flashing light). I don't go as fast in the dark after a few close encounters with deer. Also, dogs seem to be a bit more interested in chasing you at night.
kstephens is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 05:52 AM
  #5  
pmt
Experienced
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,036
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For most of the year, our daily morning club ride starts in the dark, and it finishes in the dark for several winter months. Nobody has a problem as we're all lit up with good front/rear light kits and wear reflective gear. I've also done brevets that start in the early morning, and a 200k ride that we started at 2000 and rode all night until 0400. No trouble there, though it was quite rural. Night riding can be a lot safer as the cars can see you from much further away, assuming you have proper lighting.

Of course, I'd avoid a route that passes by a bunch of bars at midnight, 0100 or 0200, as those are common closing times.
pmt is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 05:59 AM
  #6  
banerjek
Portland Fred
 
banerjek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,504

Bikes: Custom Winter, Challenge Seiran SL, Fuji Team Pro, Cattrike Road/Velokit, РOS hybrid

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
I ride thousands of miles in the dark every year. I personally think it is safer than a lot of daylight riding. If you are properly lit, you are far more visible and recognizable as a cyclist than you are on a sunny day.

You need real lights and good reflective gear to be visible. I think that most blinkies are completely inadequate. The way to know if yours is good is if it's easily visible in broad daylight.

If you ride on paths rather than roads, my comments do not apply as darkness cloaks your threats, and the issue is not being seen but rather not being ambushed.
banerjek is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 06:08 AM
  #7  
StephenH
Uber Goober
 
StephenH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Dallas area, Texas
Posts: 11,651
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 154 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Back when I was hiking, I'd always read the advice, "Never hike alone!" Only they never told you who the heck you were supposed to hike with, and since I didn't know anyone else or any club that went to the same places at the same time and speed, I just hiked by myself all the time.

It's similar with the "Never ride at night!" advice. It may in fact be more dangerous, but it'd be hard to show. Probably 2/3 of the cyclists that are killed at night don't have ANY lights. For people properly lit, the hazard seems to be drunk/sleeping/texting drivers that are just completely oblivious to their surroundings. Anyway, there is lots of night riding done, and I have yet to find a good alternative. It's not like my boss is going to let me work the night shift so I can ride in the daytime all year.
__________________
"be careful this rando stuff is addictive and dan's the 'pusher'."
StephenH is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 06:39 AM
  #8  
Northwestrider
Senior Member
 
Northwestrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 2,466

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'd suggest you find something stronger for the rear light than the blinky you have now. I'm not riding in the city, but feel riding at night is over all safer than during the day. Fewer cars, less pollution, no statistics, it's my impression after a period of a few years.
Northwestrider is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 06:45 AM
  #9  
daven1986
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: UK
Posts: 2,324
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you have good lights then I say it is often safer than cycling during the day. A directional light on your helmet also works very well.
daven1986 is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 06:49 AM
  #10  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Got a castle in - er, Minneapolis, that's where I dwell!
Posts: 24,862

Bikes: 2016 Diamondback Haanjo, 2018 Trek Domane SL5 Gravel

Mentioned: 298 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8896 Post(s)
Liked 141 Times in 85 Posts
Stats (though I don't remember where I got them) - only 3% of bicycle riding happens at night, but 50% of cyclists fatalities happen at night, primarily from cyclists without proper lighting.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 07:08 AM
  #11  
ErichM
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 790
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
I ride thousands of miles in the dark every year. I personally think it is safer than a lot of daylight riding. If you are properly lit, you are far more visible and recognizable as a cyclist than you are on a sunny day.

You need real lights and good reflective gear to be visible. I think that most blinkies are completely inadequate. The way to know if yours is good is if it's easily visible in broad daylight.


If you ride on paths rather than roads, my comments do not apply as darkness cloaks your threats, and the issue is not being seen but rather not being ambushed.
I've been thinking of getting a couple lights so the hours I can ride are expanded a bit. Make a suggestion on front/rear lights?
ErichM is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 07:37 AM
  #12  
patentcad
Peloton Shelter Dog
 
patentcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Chester, NY
Posts: 90,401

Bikes: 2017 Scott Foil, 2016 Scott Addict SL, 2018 Santa Cruz Blur CC MTB

Mentioned: 70 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1027 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
No, it's perfectly safe.

Wear black.
__________________
http://www.cotsiscad.com
patentcad is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 07:39 AM
  #13  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 14,952

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 338 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
I'm pretty well lit up when I ride at night, so I feel like I'm no more likely to get hit by a car. But for me the real danger is not being to adequately see road debris, pot holes, large ruts and other road hazards.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 07:44 AM
  #14  
Hunt-man
Tete de Couch
 
Hunt-man's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: West Linn OR
Posts: 1,488

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
No, it's perfectly safe.

Wear black.
And drink a lot of beer first...
Hunt-man is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:00 AM
  #15  
Scorer75
Senior Member
 
Scorer75's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New York
Posts: 1,945
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
From personal experience, I find riding at night slightly safer. Let me first say that I have a number of lights on my bike.

Rear blinkie, helmet blinkie, headlight, and front blinkies. Also have rear facing blinkies in the ends of my drop bars.

My experience is that during the day cars can see you and are unafraid to buzz you, relying on their "awesome" driving skills to come within inches of you without hitting you.

At night, when they cannot clearly see your outline, rather just a bunch of lights, so they give you more room.

Just my opinion.
Scorer75 is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:00 AM
  #16  
pallen 
Descends like a rock
 
pallen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 4,022

Bikes: Scott Foil, Surly Pacer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yeah, I think the stats on night riding are skewed by many factors - alcohol (drivers and bikers), improper lighting, etc...

Right now, I would say its much safer since your risk or heat stroke is diminished greatly by riding at night.
pallen is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:17 AM
  #17  
Homebrew01
Super Moderator
 
Homebrew01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Ffld Cnty Connecticut
Posts: 21,046

Bikes: Old Steelies I made, Old Cannondales

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 800 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 22 Posts
My night bike also has reflective tape on the crankarms, a couple of pieces on the rims, and the fork blades & seat stays. I think the movement of the cranks may alert drivers a bit more than just a blinkie. I sometimes wear a reflective vest over my clothing. I get fairly Freddish when it comes to night riding, unlike my usual daytime roadie outfit.
__________________
Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike.

FYI: http://www.bikeforums.net/forum-sugg...ad-please.html
Homebrew01 is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:40 AM
  #18  
eippo1 
I like beans
 
eippo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Meffa, MA
Posts: 3,353

Bikes: Tarmac Pro, Bianchi Zurigo, Raleigh Gran Sport, Fuji Del Rey, Ironman Centurion

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Get this for the rear. It's on sale now and one of the brightest around.
http://www.dinottelighting.com/LED_b...-taillight.htm
__________________
You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

2009 Dean El Diente Superlite
2011 Bianchi Zurigo CX
2005 Specialized Sworks E5 "Calamity"
2007 Fuji Thrill LT1.0
199? Tommasini ? (pending build)
2001 Della Santa
eippo1 is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:45 AM
  #19  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 30,981

Bikes: 2010 Expedition, 03 GTO

Mentioned: 15 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 709 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by eippo1 View Post
Get this for the rear. It's on sale now and one of the brightest around.
http://www.dinottelighting.com/LED_b...-taillight.htm
No Longer on Sale
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"
10 Wheels is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:46 AM
  #20  
FrenchFit 
The Left Coast, USA
 
FrenchFit's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 3,709

Bikes: Bulls, Bianchi, Koga, Trek, Miyata

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 325 Post(s)
Liked 12 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by banerjek View Post
I ride thousands of miles in the dark every year. I personally think it is safer than a lot of daylight riding. If you are properly lit, you are far more visible and recognizable as a cyclist than you are on a sunny day.

You need real lights and good reflective gear to be visible. I think that most blinkies are completely inadequate. The way to know if yours is good is if it's easily visible in broad daylight.

If you ride on paths rather than roads, my comments do not apply as darkness cloaks your threats, and the issue is not being seen but rather not being ambushed.
Agreed. I am strickly on the road and urban pass-thrus. I think you are genuinely noticed if you are well lighted. My concerns are limited to runners, walkers, and road hazards. I've charged up on people in the dark, wearing dark clothes and no lights while walking or running on the shoulder or in the bike lane. Occasionally I'm surprised by rocks, branches, car parts in your line ...not much time to adjust. So, you have to be observant.

I do avoid late nights, past a certain hour you are on the road with the drunks rolling out of the bars.

I use one of those superflashes for the rear, it seems to get noticed.
FrenchFit is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:49 AM
  #21  
eofelis 
The Rock Cycle
 
eofelis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Western Colorado
Posts: 1,674

Bikes: Salsa Vaya Ti, Specialized Ruby, Gunnar Sport, Motobecane Fantom CXX, Jamis Dragon, Novara Randonee x2

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by STP View Post
Rural night riding, on the other hand, is fine. No statistics, of course, just first hand experience. I worry less about loiterers and criminals and more about wildlife and poor gravel road conditions.
I generally like riding at night, but I'm more wary after an incident last summer. My bf, a friend and I were night riding (all lit up, etc) on a rural road. We were jra when a big racoon jumped out of a ditch next to the road right into my bf's back wheel. Knocked the bike right out from underneath him. He went straight down on the white line. Knocked him out. (He had a helmet on, helmet shattered as it should). Ambulance ride to ER, 2 cat scans. Grade 3 concussion, minor brain hemmorage(sp?)

The cars don't worry me as much as the unpredictable critters.
__________________
Gunnar Sport
Specialized Ruby
Salsa Vaya Ti
Novara Randonee x2
Motobecane Fantom CXX
Jamis Dakar XCR
eofelis is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 08:56 AM
  #22  
eippo1 
I like beans
 
eippo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Meffa, MA
Posts: 3,353

Bikes: Tarmac Pro, Bianchi Zurigo, Raleigh Gran Sport, Fuji Del Rey, Ironman Centurion

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
No Longer on Sale
Well this one then. Probably a better light (less blinding):
http://store.dinottelighting.com/sha...ount2=45890450
__________________
You got it buddy: the large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

2009 Dean El Diente Superlite
2011 Bianchi Zurigo CX
2005 Specialized Sworks E5 "Calamity"
2007 Fuji Thrill LT1.0
199? Tommasini ? (pending build)
2001 Della Santa
eippo1 is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 09:24 AM
  #23  
banerjek
Portland Fred
 
banerjek's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 11,504

Bikes: Custom Winter, Challenge Seiran SL, Fuji Team Pro, Cattrike Road/Velokit, РOS hybrid

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 205 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
Originally Posted by ErichM View Post
I've been thinking of getting a couple lights so the hours I can ride are expanded a bit. Make a suggestion on front/rear lights?
Depends on your budget. Because safety is so important, it's not a good place to cheap out. Besides, better lights make night riding way more fun.

For taillights, the Dinotte is fabulous but spendy. NiteRider universal tail is also excellent. Among the cheaper lights, most are junk. The PlanetBike Superflash is a very good value and is one of the few cheaper blinkies I can recommend as is the Radbot 1000.

Headlight needs depend on where and how you ride. I use a 13W HID system, but many of the new LED models are pretty decent. I think something that gives off 200 lumens is an absolute minimum, and more is better.
banerjek is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 09:29 AM
  #24  
OPC
ˇPura Vida!
 
OPC's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Chandler AZ
Posts: 279

Bikes: '04 Bianchi Giro, '05 Bianchi Virata, Electra Straight 8

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
A little out of date (2009 publication), but interesting:
"Almost three-fourths (72%) of the pedalcyclist fatalities were killed during the
daytime between the hours of 4 a.m. and 8 p.m., a 6-percent increase from the
previous year. The remaining 27 percent were killed during the nighttime hours, a
13-percent decrease from the previous year. Table 2 shows the pedalcyclist fatalities
by time of day for 2008 and 2009."


Source here: NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts
__________________
--José
'04 Bianchi Giro
'05 Bianchi Virata
'08 Electra Straight 8 Cruiser
OPC is offline  
Old 08-02-11, 09:30 AM
  #25  
Doohickie 
You gonna eat that?
 
Doohickie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Fort Worth, Texas Church of Hopeful Uncertainty
Posts: 14,681

Bikes: 1966 Raleigh DL-1 Tourist, 1973 Schwinn Varsity, 1983 Raleigh Marathon, 1994 Nishiki Sport XRS

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Riding through the hispanic neighborhood at about 11 pm. I used to think this area was not wise to go through even in daytime. Night or day, it's really a quiet area. I still keep my guard up, mostly for dogs, but I haven't had any issues at all.



As for lighting, 200 lumens is a good level. I've tried brighter lights and frankly I think they can be too much in that, sure, in a narrow cone of light you see everything, but then your night vision and therefore peripheral vision is compromised.
__________________
I stop for people / whose right of way I honor / but not for no one.


Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
Doohickie is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

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