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.