Biking is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle and can easily be incorporated into one’s life. There are many benefits of biking, including improved mental health, stability, and is great for beginners. But is it really safe to ride your bike at night?

According to bicycle accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most bicycle deaths occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. If you plan on commuting home from work, or biking after daylight, make sure to take safety precautions to protect yourself and others on the road.

Plan Your Route

If you plan on riding at night, it is important to bike on a route that you are familiar with, is well lit, and has low traffic. If your route is driveable, it may be a good idea to get in your car and drive beforehand to determine how safe the route really is. According to personal injury attorneys at BMW Law Group, one of the three common causes of bicycle accidents is poorly maintained roads and paths. If you are taking the same path at the same time every day, you may get used to normal amounts of traffic, but the condition of the road may change. Ask yourself:

  • Is there construction in this area?
  • Is the condition of the road okay?
  • Is there a biking lane?
  • Is the road well lit at night?
  • Is the traffic heavier in this area at night?
  • What is the speed limit for vehicles?

Asking yourself these questions and scoping out the route beforehand will make you less likely to make the wrong turn and determine whether the route is safe to bike at night.

Use Reflective Gear

Drivers find it hard to see pedestrians during the day, so it is important to make yourself visible at night time. Invest in reflective, high-visibility clothing as well as proper lights on your bicycle to show other drivers and pedestrians that you are there. Test out your reflective gear with your friends and family at night to see whether or not the gear is working. As a cyclist, sometimes a blinking light is not enough for a vehicle to see you on the road. Reflective gear including straps, tape, tags, and clothing paired with lights will help attract more attention to you and your bike.

Follow All Rules of the Road

By law, cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motor vehicles do on the road. Bicycle laws vary state by state, so it is important to follow your state guidelines when hitting the road. For example, in Georgia, bicyclists are not allowed on the sidewalk and are required to ride in the bicycle lane unless one is not provided. As a cyclist, you should also always follow traffic laws in your state, which include stopping at a red light or stop sign, even if no other vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists are around.

Stay Alert

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people began to bike as a fun and safe outdoor and indoor activity. As a cyclist, it is important to be alert while riding, but it is even more important to be alert while riding at night. While riding at night, there may be more obstacles that you can’t see versus riding during the day due to low visibility. After a long day at work, you may be less focused and just ready to get home. Avoid listening to music or using your cell phone while riding. Make sure to keep your distance from other vehicles and be ready to maneuver quickly if necessary

Final Thoughts

Remember, as a bicyclist, it is important to ride responsibly and follow the same rules and responsibilities as motor vehicles do. If you have to ride at night, take the necessary precautions to keep you and others safe on the road.