Nov 18, 2013
As winter approaches, the days get shorter and daylight diminishes, especially during our commuting hours. This seasonal shift is a great opportunity for you to evaluate your personal visibility factor, and perhaps take a more active role in becoming more visible to both drivers and other cyclists.
Being seen out there by our fellow road users is not only safer for us, it's also a courtesy to them. As a slower moving vehicle, we want to give the drivers of faster, larger vehicles extra time to negotiate and pass us safely. More importantly, being highly visible helps remove the “startle factor” that drivers experience when they suddenly come upon a cyclist. I believe that it is the startle factor that creates the most hostility and frustration between road users. If all road users can see each other, then everyone is given a fair chance to react, respond, and share the road amicably.
As well as having the legal head and tail lights on our bikes, using reflective material is one way to enhance our visibility. To get the best results out of reflective wear, whether it’s on your clothing or your bicycle, make sure the reflectors are on parts that show movement. Having reflective material on your spokes, shoes, legs, arms, pedals etc., attracts the most attention. This communicates that you’re on the road and moving. Reflective material can reflect light from very far away. This is key to establishing your presence as soon as possible, ensuring that both parties can prepare for sharing the road.
At Adventure Cycling we offer a few different products that can help you be seen on the roadways after dark.
Another great product that only Adventure Cycling carries is the Jog-a-lite Cyclist’s Safety Pack. This package contains our famous yellow and orange reflective triangle as seen on touring bicycles across the USA. The package also includes a bright orange vest with reflective strips, two reflective leg bands, and a package of dots and dashes that can be put anywhere on your bike, helmet, or clothing.
Here's a quick video that shows how my reflective gear outshines my bright taillight:
Reflective gear is like having free lights on your bicycle. So stay bright, stay safe, and remember that being seen is a courtesy for everyone who shares the road.
CYCLO NOTES is brought to you every Monday morning by Adventure Cycling's Cyclosource team — Teri, Patrick & Geoff.