With two high-profile cycling accidents on UK roads this week it has got me thinking about the importance of standing out and safe cycling when commuting in these dark evenings.
The below infographic a has some quite start statistics
When I took the decision that cycling to work would be the most cost-effective option for me I knew that an investment in some good quality hi-viz gear and lights would be a must.
My set up is as follows:
- Hi Viz jacket
- Hi Viz rucksack cover
- Hi Viz bands on my ankles
- Flashing LED on the rear of my helmet
- Flashing LED on the seat post (main rear light and the brightest)
- Flashing LED on my jacket (built-in and lower brightness)
- Static LED replacing the bar end on my drop bars (gives my bike width and as its different encourages drivers to give a bit more space)
- Flashing LED (low brightness)
- 300 Lumen LED static LED light (on roads runs at 100 lumens, on roads with no streetlights at the max)
- LED on helmet giving static spotlight
- Forward facing static white LED on the drop bars (part of the same rear facing light)
I have also added some reflective Scotchlite material to my seat stays in order to add a bit more visibility. This maybe overkill in some people’s eyes but I would rather be too visible that not visible enough.
Change is needed
As cyclists we have a responsibility to encourage a better attitude towards us, to many times I see almost invisible cyclists cruising along with no helmet and complete disregard for any road signage, running red lights as they see fit. It’s this minority which gives other road users a poor view of us cyclists, so make yourself visible as possible, respect the highway code, what is the point in running a red light and getting flattened under a car, does that get you to your destination any quicker?
It’s not all a one way street though, motorists need to understand that a bike has as much right on the road as they do, that some cycle lanes are so poorly maintained that it is safer for us to cycle outside these. I have had polar opposite experiences with motorists, some giving ample space when passing or slowing to let me pull out from a junction, to others who I have had to emergency brake lest I hit them simply because “they couldn’t wait to get past me” only for me to catch them up at the next set of traffic lights. A bit more patience from motorists would do an awful lot to save lives.