Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 77
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,955

    nighttime commuting concerns

    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.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,643
    Please describe what you are currently doing to be seen. My experience has been that I get better behavior at night.

    BrianMc

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,955
    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.

  4. #4
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,614
    I have one of these on my backpack and am happy with it. For some reason it only has a velcro loop on 1 corner, I use those office spring clips for paper to secure it.
    Aardvark Reflective Yield symbol 7x7" with Velcro Strap in Tree Fort Bikes Reflectors (cat699)
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  5. #5
    Anchorage, AK
    Reputation: Lars_D's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    722
    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
    --Peace

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: junior1210's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,106
    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.
    The ridiculousness of cycling clothes increase exponentially in relation to the distance from your bicycle.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    376
    Quote Originally Posted by ziax01 View Post
    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
    That sounds a bit extreme.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    11,297
    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    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.

  9. #9
    Unhinged Aussie on a 29er
    Reputation: hunter006's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    449
    Quote Originally Posted by jeffscott View Post
    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.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,643
    Some good info here:

    Another commuting thread about lights...

    Mechbegon's posts may be of particular interest.

    BrianMc

  11. #11
    Moderator Moderator
    Reputation: mtbxplorer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    5,614
    I've used a strobe like this for extra visibility in bad weather. It's meant for kayakers out in the ocean fog or needing rescue. Only blinks every few secs, but it is very bright.

    http://shop.vtarmynavy.com/aqua-stro...FUid4AodAmsAIw
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  12. #12
    Rep Power: Infinity
    Reputation: NateHawk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    12,027
    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.

  13. #13
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    198
    Emulate the UFO Bike P1220812 | Flickr - Photo Sharing! although you don't need the Klingon name.
    2009 Redline Conquest Pro, 2008 Trek Fuel Ex8
    2007 Kona Cinder Cone utility bike
    Yes I spent too much on bikes.

  14. #14
    I need skills
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Posts
    1,023

    triple it!

    Google map your route, choose bicycle as your form of transportation. Worst case, triple your ride. That would still be only 9 miles.

  15. #15
    Monkey Junkie
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    593
    Sounds like you are already very visible. I'd also like to hear more about these roads. If they are too busy/narrow/dangerous to ride then I'd just take the longer route.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: christopherscott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    9
    I heard there is a kind of lighting bike lane if anyone knows

  17. #17
    weirdo
    Reputation: rodar y rodar's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    5,729
    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).
    Recalculating....

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation: mack_turtle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,955
    Quote Originally Posted by cjohnson View Post
    Google map your route, choose bicycle as your form of transportation. Worst case, triple your ride. That would still be only 9 miles.
    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.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    1,052
    Wheel lights/ more side lighting. Bright front blinking light.

  20. #20
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,380
    Quote Originally Posted by leeboh View Post
    Wheel lights/ more side lighting. Bright front blinking light.
    ditto

    Plus...

    Tires with reflective sidewall.
    Reflective tape all over the bike and reflective clothing.
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  21. #21
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,380
    I think my ultimate goal is to look like a wayward blazing alien spacecraft riding down the street.
    Phillipians 2:3-8 "...but (Christ) made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant..."

  22. #22
    Bicycle Radical
    Reputation: scorchedearth's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    276
    Glowsticks in your spokes. Raverbike!
    Free people must travel the road to productive social relations at the speed of a bicycle.- Ivan Illich

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,643
    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    I think my ultimate goal is to look like a wayward blazing alien spacecraft riding down the street.
    Oh! You mean like this:


    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    James Doohan once did a documentary on Dad's farm when I was about 6. So maybe the warp lines of the Enterprise changing to light speed had a bad influence on me as I was a fan from the pilot, on. Or maybe Mel Brooks did it with Spaceball's going to plaid at ludicrous speed. Obviously cloaked Klingon Birds of Prey or Romulan Warbirds were not my models.

    One thing that still amazes me. Is that reflective stuff does not show well in the absence of street lighting or a following vehicle to light them up. (I used a car to light the road at right angles to the bike with the bike dead ahead as it passes in and out of view to or from the left. The camera is aimed to the right like a driver looking in that direction, and at the height of a Ford Ranger driver (higher than sedans, lower than most SUVs). Of course they are only going to stare that way if nothing is coming from the right and they are mesmerized by the UFO. It does let you see what a quick look at amy point would look like.) Note that the cyclist is almost directly in front and only a second away and the speed is in the 16 mph range before the passive stuff does much. With low beam the yellow jacket is not seen.

    I also ride under street lights so I have some reflective stuff as it weighs little, maybe as much as a pair of AAA's total.

    Drivers share the road most generously. Be advised that very drunk drivers are attracted to flashing lights. So heading to the ditch or a lawn or bunny hopping to a sidewalk may be required. Two flashing lights of even the same make are never in sync for long and the disharmony is very attention getting. Provided they look up from test screens of course. ;(

    BrianMc

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3,643
    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    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.
    Understandable. Side collisions are the most likely, statistically. More so at night. But there is a data bias because of poor bike lighting, in most collisions. However, throw in alcohol and inattentiveness by drivers. Add in a lot of traffic to block driver's view of you and things can get dicey fast. Though rarer, rear run overs are more deadly. Most are of poorly lit cyclists or 'well lit' drivers. Right and left hooks into such places are also an issue.

    Adjusting departure times to avoid traffic peaks, pulling off to let a clump of traffic by, and other tweaks can help but my be of little use to your exact situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    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.
    While illegal most places, if the sidewalk is a good one and little used, it can be the safer if illegal option. However, every driveway and cross street is a very dangerous situation requiring a lot of attention to avoid right and left hooks.

    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
    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.
    Sitting like a car for a left turn will allow a late responder to hide you from the tailgating driver behind them. Not good. Is there a light further up the road where you can U turn or get turned around another way so it is a right turn?

    BrianMc

  25. #25
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    89
    NateHawk, how well does reflective tape hold up long term? I live in hot & wet central FL and I find that most tape tends to peel back after being wetted and soaked with road debris, and this process continues over time. Eventually I have to remove all the tape and start over. Can you recommend a brand of tape that will avoid this?

Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •