As Autumn moves on, and the days get shorter, you may have found yourself riding home from work in the low light of dusk. With daylight savings ending this Sunday, it’s going to get darker earlier in the evenings.
Be safe and be visible and follow our six tips for riding in the dark:
When riding at night or in hazardous weather conditions you are required by law to have a forward-facing flashing or steady white light and a rear-facing flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres. You must also display a red reflector on the rear of the bicycle that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres.
Read more for an overview of road rules for cycling in the ACT from our Cycle Works sponsors Snedden Hall and Gallop.
If you are riding regularly in low light conditions, whether it’s early morning bunch riding or winter commuting, it’s worth investing in good quality lights.
Canberra’s streets and paths are not as well lit as other cities, so you will need a front light that doesn’t just make you visible to others, but is also strong enough to light the way ahead. You will need a light that can pick up potential hazards such as cracked paths, gravel, glass or wildlife!
Consider investing in lights with batteries that can be recharged rather than replaced, and look for a sturdy mounting that will withstand bumps. Multiple sources of light can further increase visibility, whether that’s an additional front or rear facing light on the helmet or extra flasher on the backpack.
See your local bike shop about the best lighting options to suit your budget and the kind of riding you do.
Nothing is worse than getting on your bike and realising your lights don’t work! Making your lights are always good to go can take a bit of organising. Thinks about the steps you need to take at home and at work to get into a regular routine, like testing your lights in the morning or setting aside a regular charging station.
Get in the habit of turning on your lights at the beginning of the trip, while it’s still light, so the change in light doesnt catch up with you.
Many riders recommend riding with lights on at all times to increase visibility, just as many drivers do.
Whether you are riding mostly on paths, or on the road, you’ll be interacting with other roads users including vehicles, people walking, and other riders. Dress to be seen by avoiding dark colours, and consider outer layers that are brightly coloured, hi-vis or reflective. Reflective fabrics are increasing popular in cycling clothing and can substantially increase your visibility when illuminated by headlights.
Whether you are riding during the day or at night, never assume that other road users can see you! Ride safely and predictably, and be respectful of the people you share the road with.
Daylight savings ends Sunday 7 April – don’t forget to put your clocks back!
Read more on surviving a Canberra winter on your bike