It’s not always enough to avoid the traffic that you can see – motorists need to be aware that you are riding along side them. High-vis clothing, while ideal for this during the day, may not be enough to exaggerate your presence. Be sure to wear clothing with reflective materials and panels, or opt for an overlying reflective garment, such as a vest. Reflective panels on the front and back of the bike, such as on the pedals, are highly effective while being convenient and inexpensive. While you’re at it, you may want to invest in some battery-powered blinking lights that you can switch on and off for your nighttime journey. A variety of bikes and accessories for your best protection can be found at http://99bikes.com.au/bikes/road-bikes .
Get out of the fast lane
If you’re doing the homewards commute after the sun has set, you might want to consider opting for less-congested routes, even using bike paths rather than main roads. Bumper-to-bumper traffic doesn’t always promote a safe environment for cyclists and unpredictable traffic will prove difficult to manoeuvre. You may want to take some quieter streets, though remain aware that you do not ride into darkened areas that may be hazards in themselves. Consider using paths and even pedestrian crossings when necessary; the overall trip may take a bit longer, but you’ll be secure in the knowledge that all parties can see you and you won’t find yourself in a tricky situation.
Be aware, be alert
The city by night, as pretty as it might be, can hide the obstacles that are easily noticed during the day. Be on the look out for changes in road markings (especially during road works or due to accidents), hazards (broken glass, fallen branches, personal effects) and maintain focus on drivers, pedestrians and other cyclists. Always follow road rules. The aim is to arrive at your destination safely and without incident, so always remain courteous and thoughtful towards your fellow commuters.
Personal safety starts by protecting yourself; while it’s important to avoid potentially dangerous situations, it’s of equal importance to be vigilant in donning the appropriate wearable safety items. A helmet is the absolute minimum. Elbow and knee guards, protective gloves, ankle guards, and clothing that covers your extremities are all worth considering.
Prevention is key
Maintaining your bike is important for any time of the day you may choose to ride. However, if you become lapsed with your bike maintenance, you run the risk of having to mend a flat tire in the dark, or even walking your bike home. Keep on top of rusty chains or punctured tires, even practicing changing them before a long night ride or just after your weekend ritual ride. Preventing an is-sue is far better than recovering from one, and leaves your mind free to concentrate on and engage in the journey.