Despite rain, darkness, snow and cold, we have to get from A to B. If you are also dependent on your bike in fall and winter, safety in the dark should be your priority. Find out what you can do to ride your bike safely in the dark in this article.
Cycling to work, school or university in the morning. It's dark. It's raining. Your favorite color is black and this is reflected in your clothes. Apart from your bike light, you're barely visible and you're starting to worry that you urgently need to change something. But what? And how?
1 Let there be light!
Of course, the front and rear lights on your bike should work and be correctly adjusted. Nowadays you can even get bicycle helmets with an integrated light in the back. Just don't forget to switch the helmet light on and off again, as many run on battery power. Cycling in the dark is best with plenty of light!
2 Reflectors are the new black.
When light shines on your reflectors, they shine back and you are seen 1A. There are reflector strips that you can strap around your arms and legs. Some even have small integrated lights, which we recommend. More light and "self-radiation" are always better than hoping that a beam of light will hit you and you will be seen. At this point, we'll just take the reflectors on your spokes for granted ;-)
3 Warning by vest.
Everyone has seen them before: those stylish construction worker vests in yellow and orange. They may be a fashion failure, but they are essential for your own visibility. Jump over your shadow (which you can't see in the dark anyway) and get yourself a high-visibility vest. If you prefer a slimmer model, there are reflective collars or belts. The disadvantage of these, however, is that you are clearly visible from the front and back, but less so from the side. This can therefore have a negative effect when cycling in the dark. We recommend that you go the whole hog and buy a vest (or even better, a fully reflective jacket)!
4 Show where you are with bright clothing
In addition to all the reflectors, lights and indicators, bright clothing is of course also a way of making you more visible in the dark. For example, the aforementioned reflective jacket, or simply a winter coat in non-black - that can make a big difference! Light-colored gloves, with reflectors if possible, also make your hand signals more visible to other road users.
5 The journey is the reward!
Choose paths and roads with solid cycle lanes and good lighting. The less you have to ride on the road, the better. Try to avoid country lanes, those ominous side roads and dark alleyways. That way you might not have to cycle in the dark at all!
6 Watch out!
Even if there are few cars on the road in the morning, keep an eye on your surroundings. Don't wear headphones so that you can hear other road users. This doesn't just apply to cars and anything moving on the road. Even your master and mistress on their morning walk can pose a danger if you (or both of you) are not paying attention. You should also drive with extra caution around schoolchildren. In difficult places, you should also slow down or even dismount completely. Riding a bike in the dark can have many sources of danger, so you should always keep your eyes open for them.
7 Let the bike bell ring!
Don't be shy about using your bell even in the dark! As a fully-fledged road user, you can (and should) keep to your right of way even in the dark. What else can ring: your smartphone! IF something happens to you, you can use it to call for help quickly. It's best to set 112 (the emergency number for the ambulance) directly to speed dial 1.
Don't let yourself be unsettled. Even if the weather isn't great, you know how to ride a bike in the dark. Don't cramp up, enjoy the ride - because cycling in the dark, especially early in the morning, has its own special flair. Relax!