Be Safe, Be Seen.’ Nowadays, the slogan is Be Bright, Be Seen but the message hasn’t changed since the 1980s. With dark winter mornings and the evenings continuing to draw in, it’s more important than ever to be seen to be safe when you’re bike commuting or simply out for a leisure ride.
Rules of the road
It goes without saying that riding at night should be handled with care. First, think about the frame you intend to ride – night time riding is not the time for a pared down racing frame, as you’ll find it difficult to fit the lights you’re required to ride with by law.
Plan your route carefully. It goes without saying that you’ll need to ride with extra care, attention and vigilance. Hang back from overtaking lorries on the inside, and equip yourself with a cycling cap under your hi vis helmet, and clear shades – these are essential for shading your eyes from bright oncoming headlights (cap) and from rain, wind and potential debris (clear or yellow/rose tinted glasses).
Above all, don’t be put off cycling in the dark. It’s great exercise and the greenest form of transport. Just don’t forget that hi vis vest or other high visibility clothing, and more lights than a Christmas tree
How on trend are you?
Statistically, you are four times more likely to be knocked off your bike in the dark than during daylight hours. Of course, that’s not to say that you should abandon your hi vis during daylight hours because it can be vital in any situation, particularly bad weather and poor visibility, to be bright and be seen.
Fluorescent colours are the smart choice during daylight hours as the sun makes them really pop, but at night your high visibility clothing needs to be reflective too. A simple solution is to add reflective tape to a hi vis vest, but the more reflective clothing you can pile on the better – including your socks. If you’re carrying a bag, don’t forget to add reflective tape to that, too.
Look for the CE mark of either Standards EN471 or EN1150 to ensure your hi vis clothing complies with safety standards.
Light your way
Hi vis vests and high visibility clothing are only half the equation. The most important safety measure is your lighting. You’ll need at least one light that flashes, and it’s always sensible to look for pairs of lights for front and rear that use the same charging system.
By law you’re required to have a front and rear lamp, conforming to safety standards BS6102/3 (front) and BS3648, or BS6102/3 (rear) emitting at least four candela. You’ll also need a red rear reflector (safety standard BS6102/2) and four pedal reflectors, coloured amber and conforming to BSS BS6102/2.
Be bright, be seen and follow these guidelines. You may feel you’re lit up like a roman candle but you’ll be seen and you’ll stay safe.