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What safety gear can protect cyclists at night?

Cyclists don't lose their right to the road just because the sun went down. They can still safely share the road with cars, following traffic signals and being given a safe distance by faster-moving vehicles.

Of course, night driving naturally comes with more dangers. Drivers tend only to look for headlights from oncoming cars, so they may completely miss smaller bicycles. This can lead to accidents where the driver simply never sees the bike until the crash has already taken place.

To prevent this, cyclists may want to consider the following gear:

  • A steady tail light, preferably in red. To increase visibility, drivers may want to add a bright strobe light near the tail light. Remember, since bikes go with traffic, this is what most drivers see while overtaking.
  • An LED front light. This helps the cyclist see, but it's also a bright beacon to let oncoming traffic know a bike is coming. This is especially helpful when drivers are waiting to turn left.
  • Bright clothing. Riders shouldn't wear black or gray, which blends into the night.
  • A reflective vest. This is even more effective than the above. Not only is it bright -- orange or a yellow/green, typically -- but it catches the headlights from the cars and reflects them back. These are similar to the vests road workers wear.

This equipment can help and it does save lives. However, it doesn't prevent 100 percent of accidents. That's why cyclists should carry identification, pack repair kits and make sure they know their legal rights if they're injured and need to see out financial compensation.

Source: Velosurance, "Riding a bicycle at night - see and be seen," accessed Feb. 01, 2018

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