Bicycle Safety: Nighttime Riding Increases Hazards | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Low light and dark conditions make bicycle riding more dangerous than usual.  Consequently, cyclists should exercise additional caution and make certain that their lights are in good working condition.  According to a recent article in the Medford (OR) News Tribune, bicycle lights serve three primary purposes:

  • To help the rider see the road ahead.
  • To be seen by others quickly and easily.
  • To help oncoming motorists identify the direction the cyclist is traveling in (white lights are on the front of the bicycle, red or yellow behind).

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires all new bicycles to have a forward facing white reflector on the front of the bicycle, sideways facing white reflectors on each wheel, a red reflector mounted on the rear, and yellow reflectors mounted on the front and back of each pedal.”

Other recommendations by the CPSC include:

  • “Be sure your bike has reflectors required on all new bicycles by the CPSC bicycle regulation. Each bike should have front and rear reflectors, pedal reflectors, and side rim or wheel reflectors. Use front and rear lights (as required in many States) to help make your bicycle more noticeable to cars at night. Small battery-operated lamps strapped to your legs also help.
  • Wear reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to automobile drivers. Wear a reflective vest, reflective bands on arms and legs, and reflectorized tape on helmet.
  • Always wear a good helmet with a rigid (but crushable) interior material which may help absorb the force of an impact. (This is important for daytime riding, too.)
  • Never allow children to ride at night.
  • Avoid riding on dark, narrow roadways where the posted speed limit is more than 35 mph.”