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3 essential tips for bicycling at night

With winter in full swing, night creeps up a lot faster. When you get less daylight, you may end up unexpectedly biking in the dark. Riding your bike during the night is riskier than riding when it is light out, but it may be the only way you can get home sometimes. 

If you are not accustomed to cycling after dark, you should keep some tips in mind to stay safe and avoid getting into an accident with a car. Here are some guidelines you should follow. 

1. Lights

According to night-cycling tips from Active.com, California law states that your bike needs to be well-lit during the night. Here is what you need:

  • A white front light
  • A red rear reflector
  • Yellow or white reflectors on both sides
  • Yellow or white reflectors on both pedals

However, you may want to go above and beyond to ensure your safety. Consider equipping your bicycle with a flashing rear red light or a strobe headlamp so everyone can see you. 

2. Reflective gear

When you bike in the dark, you want to ensure that you are noticeable. Increase your visibility by wearing retro-reflective clothing. You may also want to invest in some reflective tape to apply to your helmet, clothing or parts of your bike.

3. Vigilance

If you think navigating traffic in daylight can be scary sometimes, night riding is a whole other experience. Ride a little slower and stay alert for any bumps, potholes or other potential obstacles. Never make the assumption that motorists see you. Cross intersections and make turns with a healthy amount of paranoia because you never know when a distracted or negligent driver could cause an accident. 

Bicycling in the dark can be intimidating at first, but it can be peaceful and rewarding once you get used to it. If you remain alert and adhere to these guidelines, you can enjoy the experience.

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