Daylight Savings Time has ended and we’ve “fallen back,” relegating many of us to commuting home, training, and gathering for our favorite social rides in the dark. There is an added element of fun in getting on the bike when the sun is setting, or pedaling under a night sky. But the additional risks that accompany riding in the dark shouldn’t be overlooked.
Here are some important statistics to inspire us to a heightened state of awareness and proclivity for common sense:
- Last year, 45,000 bike injuries were reported
- Of those, nearly half occurred in the evening
- More than ⅓ of those 45,000 injured cyclists were struck by a motor vehicle
- 818 of those crashes were fatal
- That’s a 6% increase in the last 10 years
- 71% of those crash fatalities were in urban areas
- 22% of the 818 bicycle crash deaths happened between 6-9 PM
There should be no disagreement that the invention of the flashing/blinking red light is one of the most significant in modern bicycle history. Like riding with the direction of traffic and obeying traffic laws (more of that common sense stuff), installing and using lights when riding at dawn, dusk, or in the dark can be the difference between a joyful celebration on two wheels (or making it home to our friends and families from work) and an avoidable tragedy. Take the appropriate measures to make yourself as visible to traffic as you can. Bright/high viz kits and clothing, reflective materials when possible, and bike lights are all integral parts to cycling safely and responsibly in the dark. Just because the sun sets earlier these days doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have as much fun riding as often as we did when summer nights were bright well into the evening hours. We have to be smart. Your local bike shop should be able to provide a variety of lighting options. If they don’t, let us know. We’re always happy to help.
If you are interested potentially winning a sweet Bike Law kit including blinky lights? Check us out on Instagram.