29 Oct 2012

Light up for winter- 5 things to remember

Now that the clocks have changed it's time to remember visibility after dark. Here are five things to remember:

1. Use lights! Make sure you use lights after dark or when visibility is bad. Too many people don't use lights or have dim/inadequate lights. Check your lights work if you haven't used them for a while and make sure they're are aligned properly. CTC has some good advice here

If you ride late at night, remember that many streetlights are turned off after midnight- you will be invisible if you're not lit up.

2. Think about the lights you use. Small blinking lights are legal, but not much good- they need to be bright and are best backed up with a steady 'normal' light. Basic bike lights are very cheap, especially from ebay or your local bike shops.

3. Reflectors. The law requires you to have a red rear reflector and reflectors on your pedals. The law also requires bikes to be sold with wheel and front reflectors, but does not mandate their use. Reflectors  mounted to things which move are good since the movement is more obvious. You can also get reflective stickers to attach to frames and tyres with reflective material built into the casing.

4. Clothing. Light colours help, refelective clothing is better. Tabards, jackets, cycle clips, 'Sam Browne' belts, rucksack covers and patches on panniers and bags are great ways of standing out in car headlights.

5. Road positioning. Make sure you ride in a position where drivers can clearly see you. Usually this means riding about three feet (one metre) from the kerb, something you should be doing in daylight too!

There's a good blog post on the legalities of lighting and refelectors here

Enjoy winter riding- if you wrap up well enough it's not that cold!

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