Viewpoint : October 2013

Being visible at night and at dusk

Fall is already here, but that doesn’t stop us from biking.  Many beautiful weeks of cycling still lie ahead for those who bike until the snow falls, while the season never ends for those who bike year-round.

Every fall, we emphasize the importance of being visible at night or at dusk (most accidents occur at evening rush hour). Unfortunately, barely 25% of cyclists who travel at night are equipped with active lighting.  This is particularly disturbing at this time of year, when the days are getting shorter and there are still many cyclists on the road. In addition, it is a violation of the Highway Safety Code. Even though several articles of the Code regarding cyclists are outdated, this one is not! So needless to say, biking at night without being visible is asking for trouble!

Here’s a friendly reminder. First, equip your bike with a white front light and a red rear light (having an extra rear light on your helmet doesn’t hurt either). Then, put reflectors on the movable parts of your bike, so that your presence on the road will be more obvious. Reflectors are particularly effective on the wheels or pedals, as are reflective bands on the pedal cranks; also, consider tires with reflective sidewalls, as well as reflective pant clips. A wide range of reflective accessories is available on today’s market. They often cost virtually nothing and, in addition to active lighting, make us visible to motorists. Bright or florescent clothing has relatively little impact, according to a recent Australian survey of cyclists who had been involved in car accident. So focus on what works: active lighting and reflective accessories.

Happy autumn and don’t forget to vote, since you will not be as well-placed to criticize your municipal administration if you don’t take the time to participate in this fundamental democratic exercise.