While fall is my favorite season of the year, it gets a little bleak when the days are shorter and it's dark so early. It can also be a safety hazard for active commuters, especially for people who bike and those who walk to work. It's also a time for people who drive to educate themselves on other modes for when conditions aren't as visible. When all road users know how to look out for each other, all people can be safer on their commutes.
Keep Bright When it Gets Dark
It’s important to make yourself as visible as possible to other road users, particularly during the darker morning and evening rush hours. Bike lights, including flashing lights, should be placed on the front and rear of your bike, as well as your helmet if possible.
Wear bright clothing such as vests, jackets, bike pants and ankle straps with reflective material. If you wear a backpack or messenger bag, you can make sure they're reflective as well with reflective tape. It's an affordable way to make any item reflective since it can adhere to a variety of surfaces. More is always better when it comes to visibility.
Not Just for People on Bikes
Even though pedestrians may have a little more control over their situation and reactions, it’s just as important to stay predictable and visible while walking or running. Avoid crossing streets when you don’t have the light, and never assume that headlights will make you visible to others around you. The easiest thing to do to stay safe at night is to stay on the sidewalk.
People driving can also ensure safe roads by moving predictably, obeying all signs and signaling ahead of turns. When entering parking garages, be mindful of bike lanes or sidewalks. Idling on these areas is dangerous for people as they will have to maneuver into traffic to pass you and your vehicle.
Everyone Can Make Streets Safe
Every time we step outside it’s everyone’s responsibility to share the street. This means being considerate of how others are getting around and being equal partners in each other’s safety. All road users—people in cars, on bikes, or on their feet—should abide by road signs and be predictable to ensure streets are safe for everyone.
Photo Credit: Sam Kittner/Kittner.com for Arlington Transportation Partners