Riders in the Dark

Once again with the gathering gloom of winter, the matter of cyclists visibility increases in importance.  This year I’ve been generally impressed, even dazzled at times, by the improved standard of bike lights.  LED lights have revolutionised bicycle lights. 

But there remain those for whom,

  •  riding in the dark must be a challenge
  • can’t afford or have not thought to put new batteries in their tired lights
  • believe that as long as you have a light working somewhere on your bike, even if it only visible by passing spacecraft, that’s ok.

I’ve seen all three this year, and they are not just the riders of cheap bikes.  Riding along Curtin Avenue I was overtaken by a cyclist on an expensive racer.  He had no lights, no reflectors and black nicks.  I watched to see for how long I could see him and after about 20 metres his disappeared into the dusk. 

Given that

  • the most common collison between cyclists and vehicles is where the car runs into the back of the cyclist
  • the fine for riding an unlit bike after sunset is $100
  • your family will probably be traumatised by the event even if you survive. (I told you cycling was dangerous!)
  • the car driver will be traumatised by the event

One would think that spending a mere $15.00 on at least a rear flasher and making sure it could be seen, would be a no brainer, but for some clearly not.

And now for some thing completely different – I notice that  many of the new bright LED lights carry a warning not to look directly into the light, presumably because the bright light may damage the retina in your eye.  How easily could this happen I wonder, especially as riding along the cyclepaths towards a cyclist with a bright and badly adjusted LED headlight, it is very difficult to avoid being dazzled.

About Peter Bartlett