21 Nov 2016

Road Safety Week - Tips for Cycling at Night

Now that the clocks have gone back and the evenings are drawing in, you may find yourself cycling to and from work or school in the dark.

As a cyclist, it is important that you can be seen on the road. Here’s some tips to ensure that you stay safe on the roads this winter:

Lighten up!

Not only are lights a necessity for cycling in the dark, but they are also required by law. In order to comply with the UK legal requirements for riding in the dark, you’ll need:

• A front white light

The type front light that you should have on your bike depends on your surroundings. If you’ll be cycling in well-lit urban areas, opt for lights which allow you to be seen by on-coming traffic. If you’ll mainly be cycling on country roads, or in areas that are not well-lit, opt for a brighter light which will help you to see the road ahead.

Consider having two lights, a bright flashing light, and another standard rear light which can serve not only as additional illumination but also as a backup light.

• A rear red light

In terms of rear lights, the importance of buying a good one – or two (and maintaining them) cannot be underestimated. Almost half of all serious cycling incidents occur when cyclists are hit from behind.

• Reflectors – these should come with your bike as standard

Stand out

Lighting up your bike isn’t enough. Make sure that you stand out on the roads by wearing bright, reflective clothing, which other road users will be able to see clearly on dark, rainy or misty days.

If you wear a backpack when you’re cycling, consider that this will cover a large area of your body – so even if you’re in high visibility gear, make sure your back pack stands out too.

Be prepared

Maintaining your bike across the winter months is essential, as trying to fix a puncture or mechanical issue on the side of a road on a dark, cold night is less than ideal.

While sometimes it isn’t possible to avoid a puncture, fitting winter tyres can be beneficial in the winter months, as you’ll be much less likely to get a puncture in the first place.

Checking your tyres regularly for cuts, lumps and pumps could help you to avoid having an issue with your tyres while on the roads.

Monitor your break pads on a regular basis and replace them if required, and keep your chain well-greased.

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