How to safely ride a night bike?
To the question, "how did you run over this cyclist", the driver replies: "I hadn't seen him!"
Who has never been surprised by a cyclist in the middle of the night ? Stealthy and poorly lit, safe cycling at night requires vigilance, respect for safety rules and visible possible. In winter during your daily trips or when returning late from your activity ... Do not let yourself be surprised by at night by bike . Let's see how to do it in practice.
Equip yourself by bike at night to see and be seenWell equipped, cycling at night is as safe as pedaling in broad daylight. To do this, don't skimp on the equipment for you and your car.
Compulsory cycling equipment
The recommendations of the highway code with article R313-4 oblige cyclists to be visible for at least 10 meters. To do this,
- Install a position light in front of the type of white or yellow non-glare lamp of 400 to 800 lumens.
Adapt the power according to the lighting provided by public roads on your route. Because, a journey in the heart of the city will be more illuminated than the roads in the countryside.
- At the rear, place a red lamp or a dynamo above your wheel or on the saddle. By combining the two, benefit from the powerful lighting of the LED to see up to 100 meters and, if discharged, the dynamo takes over with each pedal stroke.
To be seen on a bike , flashing LEDs are still authorized and very useful on any other medium. Only the front light is not allowed to flash.
- On each wheel, 2 reflectors are also required to ensure your lateral visibility. As well as reflective devices on the pedals.
At night and outside built-up areas, a reflective jacket (like the safety vest) must be slipped over your clothes.
As a reminder, this equipment is compulsory, under penalty of a fine, in the event of an inspection.
> Discover our lights for bikes approved .
More accessories to show off on a bike
Beyond the road obligations, take advantage of the surface of your cycle and your body to optimize your visibility.
- Fluorescent, light reflective armbands clip easily onto your ankles and arms. The movement of your legs thus noticeable signals your presence to any motorist.
- For more trendy cyclists, clothing lines including reflective parts, or even LEDs, exist.
- Fluorescent sprays allow you to customize your old bike to make it more visible.
- LEDs on your pedals and wheels finish off decorating your car for a look as fun as it is foresight.
- Reflective backpacks covers is also recommended
- The headlamp, added to the helmet, provides:
- additional visibility for users who pass you
- precision comfort for the cyclist who lights his way according to his head posture
Check the extra weight added to the helmet in order to stay comfortable and well maintained.
Ideal if you have to buy a helmet and choose it already equipped with leds, like this . More models technical features stop lights and indicators.
Pedal in the evening while respecting the rules of the road
Keep your safety distances
Once equipped and clearly visible, the hardest part is yet to come: overcome the vagaries of traffic at night.
When following cars, such as bicycles, the surrounding darkness decreases your responsiveness and perception of danger. While maintaining one's distance is valid during the day, it must be reinforced in the evening.
Even if you know these routes by heart, the mere fact of being on a bike and in the dark , changes all your bearings. The context differs, your size vis-à-vis other road users is less imposing. So:
- Drive less than one meter from the sidewalk.
- Move away from parked vehicles or not, subject to inadvertent door knocking.
- Avoid overtaking a stationary vehicle without anticipating a pedestrian crossing or the appearance of obstacles ...
As for the countryside, the roadsides are full of deformities, gravel and holes that can surprise you in the twilight and cause you to fall. So move away from the shoulder.
The reflective hazard spreader attached to your left wheel keeps a visible lateral safety distance for those passing you.
Night cyclist but careful
Anticipate hard knocks
Bike rides sometimes promise many (bad) surprises. A flat tire, the brakes fail or the chain derailed ... A real pain when these unforeseen events arise in the middle of the night! To avoid bad luck, remember to have your bike serviced regularly before any night outing on two-wheelers .
For the less fortunate, always slip a few tools in your backpack. On site, they will be able to help you quickly. If this happens to you, be sure to isolate yourself from road traffic.
Sounds logical, but forget about the earbuds and handling the phone while riding. In addition to risking a fine of 135 euros, you lose your concentration. Because, at night, your ears can distinguish the noise of a car more or less close to you ... While your eyes have trouble distinguishing movements or judging its speed.
Adapt your path according to traffic and lighting.
School and work trips are peak hours when traffic becomes denser and increases the risk of an accident.
Depending on where you travel, public lighting is not enough, or even does not exist. In the twilight, the human eye perceives less and less the details around a silhouette.
Preview too late, the poor appreciation of distances in the dark favors clashes and frights
Finally, as accidents are more and more frequent among cyclists, keep your phone charged before hitting the road. In this way, you notify your family or roommates of your departure so that they anticipate an unusual delay.
60% of accidents involving cyclists and pedestrians occur due to lack of visibility.
A finding that increases as soon as the hour change strikes. The days are getting shorter: it is dark in the morning when you leave the house and in the late afternoon when you return home. While it is important to be seen, cycling at night requires extra caution. So, day or night, discover our essential accessories for cyclists..