What Are Some Safety Precautions for Riding a Bike at Night?

What Are Some Safety Precautions for Riding a Bike at Night?

Safety precautions for riding a bike at night include using bicycle lights, wearing reflective clothing and following the rules of the road. Recommended precautions fall into two main categories: things that make the rider and bike more visible and things that increase a cyclist's general safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends watching for and avoiding hazards, using bicycle reflectors and wearing safety equipment such as helmets. Broken glass, potholes, puddles and dogs can all be fatal distractions. When riding a bike at night with a group of others, the lead cyclist should shout and point to hazards to ensure the safety of others traveling behind.

Reflectors need to be placed on the front and back of the bicycle. In many U.S. states, cylists are required by law to display white lights on the front and red lights on the back end. Additional reflectors on tires are also advised, and flashing lights increase the chances of other road users noticing the bicycle in poor light conditions.

According to BikeTexas.org, drivers are unable to see the same contrasts and colors at night, and traffic-related death rates are three times higher when it's dark. To avoid accidents, wear the brightest clothing possible. Many cyclists choose to wear fluorescent yellow, orange or green jackets with reflective strips for added security.

To maximize safety, the same rules of the road should be followed both night and day. Properly signal left and right when turning, and don't weave around parked cars. When it's dark, it is advised that cyclists try to stay in the center of the lane they are traveling in as this is the most visible part of the road.