As winter arrives, more and more cyclists will ride home from work in the dark, especially with daylight-saving time ending this past Sunday. Low visibility is one of the leading causes of bicycle crashes, and distracted drivers can miss cyclists in the dark.
Most accidents happen during the day, but nighttime collisions are more dangerous. Only 22 percent of all injuries occur at night, but more than 45 percent of those injuries were fatal or permanently disabling.
Do I Need Lights to Ride My Bike at Night?
Visibility is the key to staying safe while riding in the dark. The state of California has laws requiring cyclists to use lights and reflectors while cycling at night, which are highlighted in the diagram below. We also have much more information available about the California cycling laws if you click here.
- A white headlamp that lights at least 300 feet into the front and side of the roadway
- A red rear reflector visible for a distance of 500 feet
- A white or yellow reflector on the bike pedal or the cyclist’s shoe visible from 200 feet
- A white or yellow reflector on each side of the bike, forward of the bike’s center
- A white or red reflector on each side of the bike, behind the bike’s center
Blinking lights can save a life, so riders should make sure they are working before they begin a ride. Rearview mirrors also help cyclists merge and turn more safely by providing a view of drivers behind them.
Bicycle accidents are most common from 4-8 p.m., around rush hour and sunset. If you are riding at these peak hours, it is safest to assume that drivers do not see you. Whether they are blinded by the sun or simply distracted, their mistake could be the difference between life and death, so make sure you protect yourself.
Bicycle Accident Attorney in San Diego
Attorney Frederick M. Dudek is an avid cyclist who knows the dangers facing San Diego riders. He provides local news, safety tips and legal counsel to keep local riders safe from reckless drivers. For more information on our firm and our efforts, follow Dudek Law Firm on Facebook and Google Plus.
Dudek Law Firm, APC—San Diego bicycle accident lawyer
[Did You Know: In 1999, 39 percent of deaths on bicycles nationwide occurred between 6 p.m. and midnight.]