Bike Safe: Tips To Ride At Night

As the fall creeps toward winter, cyclists find themselves riding in more and more hours of darkness.

urban850_night

As the window of daylight shrinks, the vulnerability of cyclists swells and so does the importance of being visible to drivers. I spend hundreds of hours on a bike each winter, and these are some of the tips I use to stay safe and visible.

  • Always wear a helmet (duh)
  • Listen for cars approaching (leave the earbuds at home)
  • Ride in a bike lane or path if available
  • Assume a car cannot see you (imagine you are invisible)
  • Make yourself very visible (remembering the above invisibility)

Gear For Night Biking

The author's bike is a masterwork in visibility
The author’s bike is a masterwork in visibility

Here’s some of the gear I trust while riding in the cold and dark. Got a favorite product we’re missing? Let us, and your fellow riders, know in the comments below.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O Barrier WxB Gloves ($100)

Pearl Izumi glove

The reflective elements for low–light visibility of these gloves is the best I’ve seen. Not just a little strip but a healthy swatch of reflectivity across the top of the hand. The Outdry® will also keep your hands dry in inclement weather. More Info/Buy Now

Nite Ize HelmetMarker Plus ($11.99)

Not a bullseye for cars but a beacon in the dark at head-level. I like the options you have with this one little red blinky light. You can attach to the back of your helmet, your pack, your rack, or seat post. More Info/Buy Now

RydeSafe ($9 – $13):

An investment of $30 worth of stickers placed artfully (or in my case, plastered) on your bike will transform you into a two-wheel freak show. When car lights hit it, your bike illuminates like a Tron bike. What motorist isn’t going to take notice? More Info/Buy Now

Sugoi Zap Bike Jacket ($150)

sugoi zap

The fabric is a polyester-polyurethane blend with thousands of embedded glass beads. In daylight, the Sugoi Zap bike jacket looks like any normal bike jacket. But when darkness falls, and headlights strike, the glass beads work like tiny mirrors to reflect light and turn the cyclist into a moving disco ball. You’ll never be mistaken for a skunk in this jacket. More Info/Buy Now

Nite Ize See’Em Mini Spoke Lights ($6.99)

These nickel-sized lights clip onto your spokes to create a rainbow of color in the dark. Not super bright but bright enough to catch the attention of drivers, especially if you do a cool color scheme. More Info/Buy Now

Light and Motion Taz 1200 ($240)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Considering that a car’s single headlight is roughly 700 lumens (give or take a few), the 1200 lumens of the Taz are obnoxious enough for all riding in the dark adventures. There is no text, Facebook status, or Instagram upload that cannot be distracted by the Taz 1200 on flash mode. More Info/Buy Now

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