Need to get from A to B this winter, but don’t like riding in the dark? Then this A to Z guide for adapting to the new season is just for you!
Fading light and slippery road conditions can be a challenge at this time of year, but preparation, the right kit and a timely reminder of safety tips you may have forgotten over summer can work wonders for your cycling confidence.
Pendle Bike Racks’ Night Riding Safety Tips A-Z
A Awareness - Pay close attention to your surroundings, especially in the dark when obstacles can appear suddenly.
B Bike buddies – Stay motivated, safer and enjoy your journey more in company.
C Coloured clothing – Wear bright, reflective clothing to stand out on dim, rainy or foggy days.
D Don't dazzle – Drivers need to see properly too, so avoid dazzling oncoming vehicles with your lights.
E Emergencies - Fixing your bike on the roadside in the dark should be avoided where possible by taking all the A-Z steps into consideration and moving deeper onto the verge or roadside where you can.
F Flashing lights – These are permitted on the roads and do attract drivers’ attention, but cyclists riding in areas without street lighting are advised to use a steady front lamp.
G Gutters – Debris in gutters is a major cause of punctures. Broken glass, sharp sticks and rocks can tear through tyres, so avoid cycling in the gutter at all costs.
H Hazards - Remember that some routes may include seasonal hazards such as fallen leaves and branches – especially in windy conditions.
I Inflate tyres - To avoid getting punctures, fit winter tyres to your bike and pump them up regularly.
J Journey hack – Use a bike rack to transport your bike part way on your route and then cycle the rest of the way to dodge traffic and inclement weather. You can also find out more about "hybrid commuting" in one of our earlier blog posts.
K Kid friendly lights – Fit child friendly bike lights for youngsters. Operated by touching the light, they’re much less fiddly for little fingers.
L Lights – It might seem obvious but do check that your lights and reflectors are clean and working properly.
M More time - Make allowance for extra journey times in tricky conditions.
N New routes – Consider different routes as the seasons change that may include better lit paths or roads.
O ON not OFF - If you’re unsure whether it’s dark enough for lights, it’s best to turn them on.
P Preparation - Plan and know your route
Q Quick check – As well as scheduling regular bike maintenance, conduct a quick check over everything before you set out.
R Rule 60 of the Highway Code - At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit.
S Shine - Add reflectives to your bike and clothing to maximise your chances of being seen.
T Tell – Let someone know where you’re going, your planned route and your ETA.
U USBs - There are many USB charged lights available that can be charged while you’re at your desk or at home over-night.
V Visibility - One of the most important factors for safe cycling in the dark. Take every step to see and be seen.
W Waterproofs – Cold, wet fingers aren’t as nimble at operating lights, gears and brakes, so reflective gloves are handy. Light waterproofs in bright colours keep you warm and dry for a more comfortable ride.
X X-pect the unexpected! - Obstacles, bumps in the road and sudden movements by people or wildlife close by can be startling. Stay alert to handle these potential hazards.
Y Your limits – Cycling in the dark puts an extra strain on our senses, concentration levels and ability to stay calm. If dark conditions test yours, then play it safe and leave cycling for the warmer, brighter months.
Z Zip up clothing – Extra layers can always be removed and placed in a rucksack and zips make it easy to adapt to changing conditions in a flash.