Viewpoint : October 2014

Being visible at night:
A responsibility that every cyclist must assume!

How often have you come upon a cyclist speeding along a bike path at night - whom you happen to notice at the very last minute? Too often! Once October arrives, it is already dark by 6 p.m.  While some decide to stop biking once the sun goes down, many of us continue to use our bikes after dark. I must confess that I am amazed each year at how few cyclists circulate at night with proper lighting. Is it not contradictory to demand to the right to bike on the road and be treated with respect when we don’t take basic measures to ensure that we are visible at night? I still fail to understand why 75% of cyclists travel at night without lighting. These cyclists are perceived as showing a disregard for traffic rules and certainly do not help the cycling cause by acting in such a nonchalant manner.

Remember this statistic: even though only 2% of the total kilometers travelled by cyclists are covered after nightfall, 30% of fatal bike accidents occur in the evening, when natural lighting disappears. The numbers say it all!

Vélo Québec’s recommendations are simple.
1. Equip your bike with active lighting (while light in front, red light in rear).
2. Equip your bike with reflectors, especially on moving parts. They are particularly effective on the wheels, making your presence on the road easier to detect.
3. Choose accessories equipped with reflective tape (helmet, saddlebag, pant clip, self-adhesive tape to affix to the bike, reflective sidewall, etc.).

Don’t forget: just because city lights help you see the road clearly doesn’t mean that you can be seen clearly by cyclists and motorists! At night, a cyclist without lighting is invisible.

Happy fall biking!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO

Check out our awareness-raising campaign Être visible, c’est lumineux on our Web site.