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Cyclists aren’t helping themselves

March 2, 2010

You would have thought that the best way, as a cyclist, to avoid any form of collision is to ensure that you’re as visible as possible. That’s the prime purpose of lights on bikes – to be seen by other road users.

Well I think that. But clearly there seem to be other cyclists who believe camouflage and invisibility are their best friends!

Not only have I seen cyclists (at the last moment admittedly) in the dark dressed in black with no lights on front or back, but I’ve seen those with lights covered by their anorak, or the stuff in the basket at the front. For crying out loud, think about whether your lights can be seen.

But most exasperating of all are those cyclists with lights on their helmets! WTF? Who’s looking there? Not even me, another cyclist looks there. Certainly car drivers and those pedestrians that bother looking at all (see my post: Look Both Ways) are  looking for lights at about the level of car headlights. Putting your only light on your helmet just isn’t going to work.

The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations, at least here in the UK, state that a light attached to a bike must be between 35cm and 150cm from the ground and the rear red reflector must be between 35cm and 90cm from the ground. Makes sense to me. That’s where people are looking.

So if you’ve got a light on your helmet – it’s not a problem – so long as you’ve got another one on you, or preferably on the bike, at the right height. Then I, and the other road users, can see you.

If you cycle in the dark without lights – make sure you’ve written your will, ’cause I for one don’t expect you to live long, so you’ll be doing your relatives a favour.

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