By guest blogger Andriy
How many times have you heard the story of the invisible bike? The one that came out of nowhere, and appeared too late for a driver to stop. The one that should have been more visible than it was. The one who left it too late to do something about their bike lights. Too many times, I’m sure.
Cycling accidents, according to ROSPA, hit a 5-year high in 2012, and over 19,000 road traffic casualties admitted to hospital or reported to the police in 2012 were cyclists. This number is expected to rise as more people turn to cycling to cut costs or stay healthy.
Cycle safety is something that is taught in primary schools these days. Children from 8 years old are taught to signal, know when to pull out at a junction and know road safety, but as the years wear on, although the rules of the road still remain, there is one thing that is never focused on quite so much, and that is visibility.
A high visibility jacket is no longer enough. Many of our roads are unlit at night, and particularly in the country, where half of cycling accidents end in fatalities, a high proportion of these accidents happen at night.
Purchasing a good quality bike light is imperative to protect cyclists from the dangers of invisibility. It’s possible to purchase good quality lights at a very reasonable price, and those cyclists that purchase quality lights are arming themselves with something that will help to make sure they ARE visible. Combining these lights with reflective, highly visible clothing may make you stand out, but as far as safety is concerned, that’s what you need.
According the RVLR (Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations), a cyclist must have
- A front lamp and rear lamp capable of producing a flashing or steady light. (Of course, a steady light is safer, but if you choose a flashing one, it must emit 4-candela minimum.)
- A rear reflector
- Four pedal reflectors.
However much you comply with the RVLR by ensuring that you have the correct bike lights affixed, if they don’t work properly, or they fail whilst you’re in motion, then effectively you are invisible again. Therefore, using high quality, long lasting batteries is a must, and you must ensure these are replaced regularly to avoid being the invisible bike that cannot be seen until it is too late.