Each year I am perplexed at the number of people who take to the roads of London, in the winter, in dark clothing and no lights. Expecting to stand out against the darkness of the evening. Cold, wet evenings, slippery roads, ignoring red lights, barreling through junctions. OK they are not all that bad, but surely it is worth being seen, whatever kind of cyclist you are?
With lights getting better and better, and much more affordable, as well as so many options of hi-vis clothing out there to be chosen from. Anything from lycra to casual / fashionable, there is no real reason not to at least make an effort to stand out from the darkness of the night.
This time last year I took up cycling in a more serious way than ever before. Choosing carefully, I have made sure I have the right gear to be seen, regardless of what environment and conditions I am riding in. Busy roads, to country lanes, I am aware of what I need to do to be seen and give myself a better chance.
Sadly, as the year has progressed, and my cycling has increased, so has my frustration. Firstly for having to share the road with such mindless imbeciles, refusing to stop at crossings, putting rear lights on the front of their bikes, and even riding with a helmet on.... the WRONG WAY AROUND! Yes, its true. They went to all that trouble to buy one, and can't work out which way it goes on!
Then of course there are helmet carriers. Bought a helmet, never leave home without it, but just carry it as an accessory on their handlebars. Go figure!
Then when I am driving, especially in the evening in traffic, there are the cyclists who just don't want to be seen. Checking mirrors like a paranoid freak won't help you spot one of these idiots. Weaving through traffic, no lights, dark clothing, then just swerving across your path to keep moving. I admire the fact that they are willing to ride in such conditions. I for one would not put myself there. There is no enjoyment in commuter cycling, especially in town. Buy some bloomin lights for heaven sakes!
Here, save yourself some money AND your life at the same time.
Amazing value from Chain Reaction Cycles Front and rear lights, Lezyne 400XL and the Lezyne Micro Rear light... Fantastic lights, huge saving, and maybe an early Xmas gift to yourselves Just £19.99
Take a moment to think how quickly you can change direction and speed on your bike. Now consider how quickly that picture with you in it, with no lights on, is changing for the motorists your are mixed in with. With lights, they can see you and will take a second look. Without, you are just part of the darkness, and pose no risk. Small lights give you a chance of being seen. Lights like this set make you far more noticable, and I say that as a motorist who is constantly looking around me for fellow cyclists, not wanting to endanger them. But still they come, and surprise me with their ability to pop up like a duck at a fairground shooting range.
Even hi-vis clothing doesn't cost a fortune, certainly not an arm and a leg, the price you physically may pay if you get tangled in a car.
So please, as a cyclist, motorist, and street runner... Make yourself visible to everyone you share the road with . "It wasn't my fault" doesn't repair broken bones, bring you back to life, or change what happened. Give everyone a chance to get home safely this winter. Be seen!