Light it up

It’s that time of year when darkness comes earlier and earlier. Make sure you can be seen by cars, other riders, and pedestrians by using reflectors and lights, both front and rear.

I love riding at night. The world is quiet. There are fewer cars. It’s a very calming time to be out. When I get the chance to do it, I make sure I can be seen.

When we first moved to Northampton we took a ride along the Norwottuck Rail Trail over to the malls in Hadley with my brother-in-law and niece. By the time we were going to start home it was getting dark. We had to buy little flashlights to make our way home. Now, I always take lights with me in the Fall.

Last night, I was riding home from son #2’s soccer game. I knew I’d be riding after dark, so I had brought front and rear lights along. My ride took me mostly down the bike path as it was a direct shot from the field to home. While not completely dark, it was dark enough that cars had on their lights when I started out. By the time I got home, it was too dark to see without the headlight. Certain sections of the trail were extremely dark as the tree cover blotted out what light sunlight was left.

I’m happy to say I wasn’t the only rider with lights. Most everyone I passed on the bike path and on the road had nice bright lights. Many I could see from quite far away. It always distresses me to suddenly come upon a rider who does not have lights. It’s very disconcerting to have someone appear right in front of you. Being disconcerted on your bike can land you in the hospital.

Lights don’t cost much, and being seen by others is very important. You can find them at any bike store, and even large box stores have them. Get the brightest lights you can afford. It could save your life.

If your ride is going to have you out past 5 p.m., take your lights with you. Get in the habit of carrying them until next April.

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About Pedal Paradise

Cyclist, Mom, Travel Nut, Bike Riding Empower-er!
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6 Responses to Light it up

  1. Heidi says:

    I remember that ride well. What started as a carefree ride alongside pumpkin patches on a bright crisp Fall day ended with a lot of angst for getting that beloved niece home safely. It doesn’t take long to go from enjoying an ice cream cone at a trailside stand to vanishing beneath the trail-darkening tree cover. Lights indeed!

  2. Spending $30+ on a light might seem like a lot – until you are out on the road or trail and hoping desperately that the cars whizzing by can see you.

    Get some lights and enjoy your nighttime rides.

  3. Dinah Mack says:

    Last November, in the Netherlands, I learned that all bicyclists must have a light or they will get a steep ticket. Bicyclists here need to remember that even if they can see, cars can’t see them. I suddenly drove by a man riding on route 9 the other night with no light at all.
    Incidentally, this is a great blog on one of my favorite subjects! Avery gave me your card today at school- I was happy to get on and see what you are working on.

  4. Thanks for coming by for a look. Bikes are my favorite outside topic, too.

    You emphasis the point – lights serve the two purposes, seeing and being seen. Both are important, and provide something reflectors alone can’t.

    Lucky you to ride in the Netherlands!

  5. Pingback: Let’s Be Safe Out There! | Pedal Paradise

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