Even though biking is usually done during the daytime, some people like to add a little thrill to their experience by cycling during the night time too. Not only that, but night riding can also result from an urgent requirement. For example, if you use your bike to go to the grocery store or it is your only medium of conveyance to travel around, you will have to set on a night ride. Bike lights can prove helpful during bicycle riding at night, but you will need some other accessories. Even though there are proper street lights in the area, you will need additional lights on your bike for a safer riding experience.
Various bike accessories can prove helpful during riding at night time, and you can equip your bike accordingly. Also, if you bicycle at night, make sure to stay in bike lanes or bike routes in addition to having proper lighting to avoid any inconvenience or accident. You can also follow street signs while biking at night to ensure that no one has to face any inconvenience because of you and you also remain safe throughout.
Tips for Riding Bike during Nighttime
We have listed below some tips that can be helpful for you if you are looking to start riding in the dark or during the nighttime. So, without wasting your precious time, let’s get to the central part of our cycling at night guide.
1. Use Proper Lighting
Whether you are riding on a well-lit road or street with proper lights, you will still have to put on enough lighting on your bike so that other vehicles can see you. And in case you are riding in unlit country lanes, you will need to know the pathway and be seen. Front lights and rear lights are the most important, and you should never sit on the road without them in the dark. But it cannot be denied that the lighting requirements on the bikes differ depending on conditions and the routes. For example, you will need different lighting if you are planning on riding off-road or in a shady country area that you will need for hanging on a well-lit road with proper bike lanes.
Similarly, you will need different types of light while riding in a country setting than in an urban environment. Moreover, if you are more into mountain bike riding during the night, you will need more powerful lights ranging between 400 to 800 lumens. In this case, you must indeed have red rear lights. The variety of lights extends more as you choose between a constant glow or a blinking one.
Another main accessory when it comes to choosing light is a helmet light. This light is mounted on your bike helmet and gives you a clear vision of the pathway, especially when riding off-road or on unlit country lanes. The helmet-mounted light efficiently illuminates your line of sight and guides any bike maintenance. While choosing this light, make sure it is lightweight and comfortable.
2. Improve your Visibility on Road
When cycling, you must be seen when riding in the dark. It is necessary for your safety and responsible for preventing clashes or significant accidents in the fast pacing traffic. Along with having appropriate lighting, you must make sure that you are riding in the drivers’ line of vision. And as the drivers usually have all their focus and attention in the front, you must try to keep yourself there.
To be in the drivers’ line of sight, you will have to ride a little way out into the road, around 70cm to 1m. This will also help prevent any obstacles you must otherwise encounter on the roadside, such as drain covers and potholes.
When riding in the dark, you must make sure that the natural traffic sees you and clear your intentions. If you want to take a turn, make sure that you give appropriate signals to the vehicles coming behind you to avoid any inconvenience. You will indeed have to put in more effort than you do while riding during the daytime.
3. Use Reflective Accessories
The reflective accessories are a part of legal requirements in the UK as you must have a white light, white and red reflector, both front and rear reflector, along with a pedal reflector if you are riding in the dark. Reflective accessories are a great way to enhance your visibility during the nighttime. Especially if you have reflective clothing or tape on your bike, you will be easily seen from far behind by the vehicles coming behind you.
If you plan on riding your bike in the dark, you must consider the bike that comes with reflective detailing while choosing the ideal bike. Usually, the reflective detailing comes on the kit or the backup that improves your visibility efficiently while riding in the dark.
Another multiple reflective gears is the gloves with reflective detailing. Reflective gloves will automatically improve your visibility when performing hand signals for the traffic coming behind you.
4. Don’t Use Dazzling Lights
There are a variety of bike lights available in the market that are too powerful while riding in everyday traffic as they have brighter beams than the car’s headlights. Even if you have strong lights, make sure they are faced towards the road’s surface so that they are not dazzling the drivers driving with you.
Road-specific lights are also explicitly designed to avoid dazzling the drivers as they have a unique beam pattern.
If you have an intense light for off-road riding, you must lower its brightness if you pass through a well-lit road with traffic. You can also put it on flashing mode to avoid blinding other drivers. It will not prevent any inconvenience but will also help you preserve some battery later on.
3. Equip Backup Lights
It is always wise to equip your bike correctly before setting up on a night journey. Even if you believe in your lights, choose a light mode that will efficiently help you complete your trip, and the battery will not run out. You might already know that the claim run by manufacturers are not always accurate, and you will have to make an extra effort on your behalf to ensure that your lights are always well-lit when on a dark road.
It is a great option to have backup front and rear lights so that you can turn them all on particular settings to avoid running out of battery. You can lower power settings on your leading bike light so that you have the power saved and will run for a longer time. It is also intelligent to dim the sunlight and the backup lights when riding on less complicated and well-lit terrains and save the higher power for rough terrains.
If you plan on cycling during the night regularly, you can invest in a dynamo front wheel and light set, which will release your stress about the battery running out.
4. Be Careful while Riding
As paths can seem a little different during the dark, you might get confused by the pathway you already know well. Also, it is most probable that cyclists tend to hit obstacles frequently during the nighttime. Therefore, if you are new to all this, make sure that you are cautious of your moves.
Make sure to look for any hazards or obstacles coming on the road and try to ride on familiar roads and less complicated terrains. You must also use pathways that are well-lit and avoid darker ones.
If you are riding with a group, make sure that you leave enough space for your fellow riders to keep them safe from the shadows of your powerful lights. Also, avoid blinding the riders with your high-beamed rear light.
As exhilarating as it might sound to ride during the night, it might require your extra attention and some extra effort. You will have to take appropriate measures and equip your bike accordingly before stepping up onto the road in the dark. It is essential to consider all the factors to ensure your and the whole traffic’s safety when you are on the road.
Also, it is always a wise call to let somebody know beforehand where you are planning to go and when you will be riding. This is a good step as not many people will see you on the road in case of an accident or if you are passed out or injured on the side of the road. So, it is wise to let someone know about your plans.
Moreover, to make the whole experience more successful and worth all the struggle, choose appropriate clothing according to the weather conditions of your region. The temperature in any region at night is different from daytime, so dress accordingly. If it is cold, remember that you will not have a roof over your head and might require additional clothing. Now that you have a highly equipped bike and proper clothing, you are good to experience the thrill of night riding.