Recent statistics indicate most bicycling deaths occur between 6 pm and 9 pm. The good news is there are precautions you can take to make riding at night significantly safer.
From falls to crashing onto vehicles, bike accidents in St. Louis are very common. Unfortunately, when they happen, they can be traumatic and fatal. This is because bicycles lack the protection of an enclosed vehicle. What’s more, recent statistics from the NHTSA indicate that most bicycling deaths occur between 6 pm and 9 pm. The good news is the following steps can make riding at night significantly safer.
1. Wear a Helmet
When cycling, wearing a helmet adds a protective layer that reduces the impact of a collision on the head. This, in turn, reduces the risk of death and serious brain injuries.
2. Install Rear-View Mirrors
Mirrors on your helmet or handlebars will allow you to see what’s behind you without swerving. This will increase your safety by allowing you to cycle without looking over your shoulder.
3. Install Appropriate Lights
Every cyclist is required to have their lights on when cycling at night. The recommended lights are a white light for the front and a rear red light which you can blink as you cycle.
These lights enhance visibility and make it easy for you to cycle without bumping into pitfalls. They also alert other road users that you are approaching, allowing them to make way for you.
Still, it’s important to have your lights fully charged before heading off at night. This ensures that at no point of your journey will you be stranded in the dark. It would also help to have an alternative battery power such as a modern dynamo—it’s efficient and lightweight.
4. Avoid Dazzling Oncoming Cars
While having a headlight is an important step to safe riding, you should avoid dazzling oncoming cars. Doing so can distract other drivers and can pose an imminent danger to yourself and other road users. Instead, focus your light on the road. You can also reduce your brightness if you are in a well-lit neighborhood.
5. Add Reflectors
In Missouri, the traffic laws are very clear; you should have reflectors when riding at night. Reflective gear such as vests and gloves enhance your visibility and help other road users see you.
Additionally, reflective pedals make you stand out and allow other road users to note your up and down cycling movements. Also, adding reflective tapes on your mudguards or helmet may help up your visibility.
6. Be Vigilant
While cycling at night is an exciting and relaxing activity, it calls for caution and vigilance. Being vigilant and cautious will allow you to be aware of things around you that would go unnoticed if you were distracted. For example, you’ll be able to note intoxicated drivers running red lights, road rage, potholes, or unexpected opening doors. These tips will enhance your safety and help you enjoy cycling at night.
However, if you are involved in a bike accident despite taking the necessary precautions, it is highly recommended to speak with an experienced St. Louis bike accident attorney to ensure your legal rights are protected. An experienced attorney can ensure you do not end up settling for less than you are entitled to.
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