For me, the first bike ride home from work after Daylight Saving Time always comes as a shock (and makes me a little sad) at how dark it is after work. As my eyes adjust to the nighttime environment, I have to pay a little more attention to avoid potholes, bumps and other obstacles that are so clear during the day. I also try to make it a lot easier for drivers, pedestrians and other bike riders to see me – I wear my bright reflective jacket, several lights on the front and back of my bike, one on the back of my helmet and battery-operated motion sensor lights on my tire gauges.
Turning back the clocks an hour yesterday means the evening commute is going to be a whole lot darker for everyone. It’s especially important for all road users, drivers, bike riders and pedestrians alike to be a PAL: Predictable, Alert and Lawful, as they leave work and head home for the day. Whether it’s making sure you are as visible as possible to others, or going a little slower when turning through intersections, there are many ways that commuters can make the trip home a safer experience.
Photo Credit: Elizabeth Denton/TinLizzieBikes
Visibility is key in the evenings, no matter what type of transportation mode you use to get home. For bike riders, it is required by law in Virginia to have a front white headlight and a rear red light on your bike when riding at night. Wearing bright, reflective clothing is also important for both bikers and pedestrians, in addition to reflectors on your bike, purse, backpack, etc. I know most people think of bright neon construction vests when it comes to reflective gear, but as our colleague Elizabeth has shown, being reflective can also be fashionable!
While we probably won’t see cool bike lanes like this in the Netherlands this winter, local organizations are helping make the transition to riding at night easier. Today, from 5 to 7pm, the BikeArlington crew will be giving out free bike lights and reflective vests at the Bikeometer in Rosslyn at Lee Highway and Lynn St on the Custis Trail. They’ll also be at the intersection of Columbia Pike and the W&OD Trail on Thursday at the same time giving out lights. Be sure to stop by if you’re not prepared for the darker ride home!
Lastly, giving out bike lights, flat tire kits and other bike accessories to your employees or tenants can be a great way to earn a Bicycle Friendly Business designation. Arlington Transportation Partners can provide materials and giveaways that your company or property can use to encourage and promoting bicycling – contact us about doing a lobby event or lunch seminar!