It has been one full year since “Chops” Ramirez was hit in early October 2012, when Brian Lindquist was run over from behind and left for dead by the deeply drugged hit and run driver, and where Cody Johnson lost his life also, run over from behind by a drunk driver. None of these cyclists share any responsibility for their fate. They each shared at least four things in common. All three men, rode a bike, in the fall, in Austin, Texas. What does this have to do with riding at night? Only highlights the fact that, at this time of year, with cooler temps, and earlier night fall, there are a few more things riders should consider when blasting out into the great big open on their favorite two wheels.
Every rider out there knows that with cooler days and nights, riding is pure joy after excruciatingly long hot summer days. If you are a new rider, know someone just starting out and picking up their first bike at any of our amazing 40 bike shops here in town, or new and joining your organized ride, lend a hand or a bit of knowledge where you know it might be needed.
I know nobody wants to sound like a killjoy and or take the initial “whee” out of those first rides for any enthusiastic newbie rider. If you see someone doing something though and you know it could get them killed or harmed, just take a sec and with whatever tact you have, share with that rider a better, safer way.
Using reflective tape on clothes, attaching reflective stickers to your bike where it is visible from all directions, your helmet, glasses arms (thank you Andrew McCalla for this little gem) and even water bottles can increase your visibility.
If you see a rider without lights and dusk is approaching, make sure you share your knowledge about how important it is to be seen and if you have a spare light, help the rider in need get home and pick it up from them later. If not, take the lead and keep them on the inside of the bike lane so they remain visible with you until you get to the shop to buy a set of front and rear high lumens lights- or, until you are all safely at the destination. We mention high lumens lights because it is super important you not only have a light that will allow you to be seen, it is equally important that your light show you where potential road hazards are ahead of you.
Now that night is falling earlier, anyone staying or “caught” late at work could end up in the dark on the way home. Please stay safe, think ahead, and brighten up that ride. No need to be any more vulnerable of a vulnerable road user.