Important Safety Tips To Keep In Mind While Biking At Night

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Biking at night can be more fun in some ways than biking during the day. However, it can also be more dangerous, which is why bike safety is essential.

There's nothing like the feel of the cool night air on your face while riding down the street.

However, it would be unwise not to take proper safety precautions while biking at night. While visibility is an obvious hazard, there are many more considerations to keep in mind.

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Essential Safety Gear For Biking At Night

When biking at night, you can better protect yourself by having appropriate safety gear both on your person and bike. These tools not only keep you safe but can make your experience more enjoyable as well. Here is a list of some of the essential safety gear for biking at night.

Lights


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Perhaps one of the most critical pieces of gear you can have on your bike are lights. However, you need to be careful when selecting bike lights, because they're not all made equal. The best bike lights are going to be weatherproof and more durable than cheaper lights.

Think about it: Your bike does a lot of bouncing around, and many lights are not designed to withstand that type of movement.

You also want to look into getting flashing lights for both the front and back of your bike, as these lights can be more visible to drivers than static lights. And some studies show how lights that trace the movement of your feet as you peddle catch the most attention from drivers.

Reflective Gear


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The Denver Post reports that the number of cycling fatalities increases every year. One of the worst mistakes cyclists make while biking at night is overestimating their visibility. And while fluorescents work well during the day, they just don't cut it at night. You want to make sure that you have reflective material on both your clothing and bike. You can purchase items such as reflective shoes, vests, and tape, which you can put on your helmet as well as your bike. Of course, you can never really have too much reflective gear.

Here's a video guide to lighting and reflective clothing.

Helmet


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A helmet is just one of those things every cyclist should always wear day or night. However, this piece of equipment might be more important to have on for biking at night. The chance of you crashing at night is definitely higher than during the day when you have better visibility, which is why head protection is a no brainer.

Charged Cell Phone


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Many folks consider a cell phone a distraction whenever they go out biking at night. Understandably, you would want to enjoy some peace and quiet by unplugging from technology. However, leaving your cell phone behind isn't a luxury you can afford.

Should you become injured in a remote area, you're going to need the means to call for help. No one ever plans to be in an accident, but you can plan to bring your lifeline just in case.

First Aid Kit


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Keeping a basic first aid kit on your bike or person can prevent any scrapes or cuts you get on your ride from getting infected. It's always a good idea to have on hand just in case.

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Bike Bell


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It may sound old fashioned, but having a bike bell can really save your bacon when biking at night. Anything that lets drivers know you're there works to your benefit.

Bike Radar


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Biking technology has come a long way. Now you can use bike radar, which detects when a vehicle is coming up behind you. The detector will alert you of a car coming up behind you as well as notifying the driver of your presence by flashing a bright light.

Bike GPS Computer


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A bike GPS computer is a handy device to have on a ride. These devices can provide updated bike routes, turn-by-turn navigation, and allow you to chart your progress. Plus, they can alert your friends and family to where you are in real-time.

The 13 Best Safety Tips For Biking At Night

Here are just a few safety best practices you can use while biking at night. Here's a video with a few tips on night riding.

1. Assume Drivers Can't See You

No matter how much reflective gear you have on or how many lights you have, never assume drivers can see you. Keep in mind that many people driving at night might be tired after a long day of work, and their attention span isn't what it should be.

Always assume they can't see you and ride accordingly.


2. Use Hand Signals

Believe it or not, hand signals while biking is still a thing. You can use these signals to alert drivers that you are turning, slowing down, or stopping. Here's an illustration of the various bike signals you can use.


3. Carry Identification

If you don't want to carry a bulky wallet or purse, that's fine. But never leave home without some form of identification. As mentioned earlier, accidents can happen, and authorities may need to know who you are.


4. Ensure Your Bike Is In Good Condition

It's a good idea to make sure your bike is in satisfactory riding condition before biking at night. Ensuring that your bike rides smoothly, the tires are inflated sufficiently, and that your brakes are in good working order is always important, but even more so at night.

If it has been a while since you've ridden, and you're not familiar with bike maintenance, take it to a repair shop for a detailed inspection. The time and money spent can save you the headache of breaking down somewhere remote and having to hoof it back to town.


5. Observe All Road Laws

If you're biking at night in a city or town, make sure you're familiar with all the road laws pertaining to cycling. Believe or not, even cyclists have specific rules they must follow in certain cities. Practices such as weaving in and out of traffic or around parked cars can be especially dangerous at night.

Plus, it's no fun getting pulled over on your bike and getting a ticket, so make sure you study up first before going out. Here's a video that explains a few laws you need to be aware of.


7. Use Safety Mobile Apps On Your Phone

You can find some excellent free mobile apps on your phone. They may not be as comprehensive as some bike GPS systems, but they offer services such as bike routes and tracking your progress.


8. Plan Your Route Carefully

It's always a smart idea to know your route before biking at night. Riding the route during the day is an excellent way to learn of all the possible hazards and resources available on your route.

Most importantly, once you've charted your route, you want to stick to it. Going off your bike path at night can put you in some bad situations.


9. Choose Safe Routes

While off-road biking is a lot of fun, it's honestly not the best thing to do while biking at night. Even the best biking lights can't illuminate a path well enough to see all the dips, bumps, and hazards coming up, especially while you're traveling at high speeds.

It's much safer to choose well-lit biking paths that are also closer to resources if you need assistance.


10. Tell Someone About Your Route

Letting someone know what route you're going to take is very important, especially if you're going to be out in a remote area. Doing this represents a good safety best practice not just for biking at night, but for any outdoor activity that you're engaged in day or night.


11. Turn Off The Tunes

I have to confess that I'm guilty of blasting tunes in my ear when I ride during the day. However, when riding at night, especially on the road, you'll want to leave the headphones at home. You'll need your ears open to listen for oncoming vehicles or werewolves.


12. Bring A Friend Or A Couple Of Friends

As the saying goes, "there's strength in numbers." It's always safer when you have a friend or a few friends who can go riding with you. It doesn't hurt to have an extra set of eyes and ears looking for hazards, and dangerous predators are less likely to confront a group.


13. Keep Your Bike Safe

Some folks feel a false sense of security when leaving their bike unlocked at night. Just because you can't see anyone else around, don't assume that bike thieves aren't working the night shift. In fact, the vast majority of bike thefts take place at night.

However, merely chaining up your bike isn't enough, unless you have a really heavy-duty chain. Otherwise, thieves can use bolt cutters to steal your ride.

Enjoying Your Night Ride Safely

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All this information can make biking at night seem intimidating, especially if you're not used to it. But, there's something magical about enjoying a good night ride that daytime riding just can't match. It can be a peaceful experience that gives you time to think and reflect while getting in some good exercise.

Just stay alert and follow safety best practices, and you'll be able to enjoy the beauty and splendor that is night time riding.

Got any tips for biking at night? Share them in the comments below.

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