Every year, about this time, I begin to experience dim bicycle riders, who do not appreciate the inability of drivers of four-wheeled vehicles to see them in the dark.
During the “rush hour” of 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. each weekday morning, it is currently dark, and will continue to get darker. Throw in some river fog and cloud and the headlights from oncoming vehicles, and the world outside the immediate area in front of you is plunged into darkness.
For all bicycle riders who choose to ride under these conditions, let me be clear: we can’t see you, unless you are lit up like Christmas tree. Period.
We don’t know you are there. For those very few of you who actually indicate what you are about to do via hand signals, well done. But we can’t see you.
We don’t know where you are, nor what you are about to do. Please do not assume that we can.
For those of you who are considered to be adults by law, it is your responsibility to ensure that you can be readily seen by vehicle operators. This is basic common sense, and even if you don’t care about your own safety, you should be concerned about the poor vehicle-bound schlepper who, through no fault of their own, might run you down and have to deal with the life-long consequences.
For those of you who are considered to be minors by law, your parents should be held liable and accountable for not making sure that you are exhibiting substantial illumination while riding during darkness. This is inexcusable. There should be legal requirements for this, and fines should be levied for those, or those legally responsible for your safety, who do not comply.
This is a serious, dangerous endeavour, and I grow weary of bicyclists emerging from the darkness just a few feet away, mostly without illumination of any kind, or even reflective strips. And pedal reflectors won’t do it. You have to ensure that you can be seen. Otherwise, do not presume to enjoy any reasonable expectation of safety.
It’s a simple matter: if you are dressed in dark clothing sans lighting or even reflective material, you will not be seen until the vehicle is right on top of you. This is your responsibility. Turn the lights on – both inside and out. We will all be a lot safer. Let’s be careful out there.