The other night (before all the snow) about 7PM, I was approaching an intersection when something caught my eye to my left. I had to look twice, first to acquire the object, realize it was moving and then second to identify what it was. All dressed on dark clothing face covered against the cold was a bicyclist. There was absolutely no lights, reflectors, bright clothing or because of the cold skin showing. Nothing on to help mark this person, just their dark light absorbing clothing. The truth is my wife spotted this person first and I am not sure I would have seen them before it would have mattered. And I think I am very observant and always looking for cyclists.
Now my first thought was, that person is in a dangerous situation, moving about in an urban area at night etc. etc. Then I thought, given the outcomes of many car vs. bicyclist crashes just how unfair was this person on that bike being!?!? I mean even a reflector or one piece of bright colored clothing would be better than nothing. When a bicyclist gets hit by a vehicle it ruins more than the just that bicyclist day.
There are so many ways to improve the visibility of a rider and their bike. It is crucial to be seen as far away as possible to give drivers time to react to what they see, make a judgment and then act. This is especially true during the colder months and winter it is paramount to be seen because drivers just don’t expect to see a person on a bike when it is 15 degrees out and or there is snow on the ground. The use of rear and front blinking lights, side visibility issues, reflective clothing, vests, the list goes on and on! There are many web sites you can Google Bicycle Visibility for and check out for ideas and products.
Certainly there is no “Silver Bullet” that will protect you 100%, but you sure can increase the odds of NOT getting hit, especially at night. Complacency is cause for more accidents than any one would ever want to truly admit.
Safe Cycling - Act Accordingly..........Cyclist Visibility - 'Survival of the Brightest'