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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been riding to work a lot lately and I would like to make riding to work something I do every day except for extreme weather. as the days have gotten shorter, especially after the daylight savings change, I have to ride home completely in the dark. it's only 3 miles total each way along busy city streets but i don't feel safe on these roads, even when I have my body and my bike lit up like a Christmas tree. anything else I should consider to make my ride home safer? I cannot seem to find an alternative route that does not involve tripling my commute distance.
 

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Please describe what you are currently doing to be seen. My experience has been that I get better behavior at night.

BrianMc
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have a Planet Bike Superflash blinky on the back of my helmet, a red Frog on my seatpost, a Solarforce flashlight on my helmet, a Niterider Minewt 750 on my handlebar, a white Frog wrapped around my front hub and a hi-vis vest on, but my backpack covers a lot of my vest from behind. i HATE riding with a rear rack. I have a bright blue frame.
 

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You have to assume no one can see you. If you can't make the commute safely with that assumption, then your route is unsafe. Sorry.

--Lars
 

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If at all possible try to time your commute to lulls in traffic patterns. When I go in at night (@19:30) I leave at that time since it's after "rush hour" (such that it is down here), and when I head home if I'm on time it's @ 06:00. If I'm late getting out, I'll wait and have breakfast or read a book for a little while so I'm not riding during peak morning traffic. It stinks having to cool my heels, but it takes a lot of the tension out of commute home.
 

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I have to ride home completely in the dark. it's only 3 miles total each way along busy city streets but i don't feel safe on these roads, even when I have my body and my bike lit up like a Christmas tree.
Well I am in the same situation...dark in and dark to home....

I ride about 8 km (short route is 5 km)...

So you could be safer if you rode 9 miles that is 15 km.

Since it takes me about 4 km just to warm up....I would definately consider the longer ride at least some of the time.

Especially if the route is much safer.
 

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Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
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Well I am in the same situation...dark in and dark to home....

I ride about 8 km (short route is 5 km)...

So you could be safer if you rode 9 miles that is 15 km.

Since it takes me about 4 km just to warm up....I would definately consider the longer ride at least some of the time.

Especially if the route is much safer.
I have several routes home.

16 miles is the shortest route. It takes dangerous surface streets. I only take this route if it's after midnight, and I do full speed the entire way home (~20-25 mph).

19 miles is the next shortest. It takes less dangerous options, but is still dangerous. I broke a wheel avoiding a car and ramming a curb at high speed because it is that dangerous. To be safe, I have to descend a 30 mph zoned hill with manhole covers in the middle of the road at over 45 mph or face the prospect of getting rear ended.

The longest route that I use is also the safest. It's 30 miles each way, but it's 27 miles of closed trail. Most of the time I take the 30 mile route home.
 

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since 4/10/2009
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consider a taillight that is daylight visible, or nearly so.

A Dinotte, or a Magicshine, or something like that. Pack the lumens. I have found that the Magicshine taillight I added seems to be the single most important component of getting cars to give me space at night.

Also, as much reflective tape as possible. I have a very large area of red on the backs of both of my fenders, and bits around my chainstays. I have bits of white on my fork legs and the fronts of my brake levers. I also have both red and white reflective tape all over my helmet, front, back, and sides. My pack, an Osprey Talon, has reflective bits on it, too, but I like that reflective triangle. Right now, I toss a blackburn blinkie on my pack, but I'm not a fan of how it hangs from the pack.

In addition to what you are doing, how about describing the route you ride? You say busy city streets but that can be a lot of things. how many lanes? speed limits? are there shoulders or wide lanes? My route is about the same distance and the way I drive is down busy streets more than 3/4 of the way there. however I take a different route when I ride. speed limits are lower (about 2 miles are neighborhood streets where I pass a school and a hospital with 20mph zones), so traffic is lighter, and incidentally, the lanes are much wider even though there's no paint on the roads there. The better route adds about half a mile, but it turns out to be faster because there are fewer lights and stop signs.
 

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weirdo
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A lot of good suggestions- hope you`re able to make use of some :)
One that didn`t get mentioned above (pretty sure it came up in the thread that BrianMc linked, though) is reflective stuff on moving parts: tape on crank arms, tape on rims if they`re deep or reflectors on the spokes, reflective leg bands and jacket cuffs.

kind of OT for your case, but I think I`m actually more visible lit up at night than I am in the daytime whith so many other distractions. That`s for mostly rural riding, probably different with more lit up stuff around (cars, streetlights, signs, and what-ever else).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Google map your route, choose bicycle as your form of transportation. Worst case, triple your ride. That would still be only 9 miles. :D
tried that. it tells me to take the route I am already taking.

the first half of the trip home is four lanes populated by strip clubs, Ethiopian restaurants full of cabbies, and gay bars. i don't trust the drivers pulling out of those establishments. fortunately, most of it is lit up and there are four lanes. then I have to make a right turn onto a two-lane street with zero shoulder and a wide sidewalk. shortly after that, I have to make a left turn onto a neighborhood street and I have home-free because that last third is easy. there is no traffic light at that last left turn so I have to sit there for several minutes and then sprint across on foot. it's that busy intersection and subsequent stretch of narrow, busy road and that left turn across traffic that freak me out.
 
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