How To Be Seen And Stay Safe On Your Bike In Low Sunlight

How To Be Seen And Stay Safe On Your Bike In Low Sunlight

If you ride your bike to and from work day in, day out, when it comes to the late winter and early spring, you’ll no doubt be aware of how low the sun gets in the sky.

How To Be Seen And Stay Safe On Your Bike In Low Sunlight

Riding late or early in the day on a bicycle can be dangerous. Here are some tips to make sure you can be seen.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Common License

And no matter what your viewpoint as you’re travelling along our busy roads, it’s very likely that you’ll find that, at such times, the sun can easily hamper your vision.

Dazzling

Other people may already consider you to be brave if you cycle to work at most times in these days of ever-busier roads. But when the days of the sun staying low in the sky come around, you have to consider that motorists could be suddenly distracted by the sun unexpectedly appearing from behind a cloud and right at their eye level.

When this happens, it’s more important than ever that your road positioning is as good as it can be. That doesn’t mean you have to ride in the gutter, of course, but you should try not to make any changes in your positioning without first checking thoroughly around you that every driver can be as clear as possible that you are in their sights.

Low light conditions

Of course, reflective cycle clothing is the main means by which you can help ensure that you’re seen in low light. This applies not just in darkness, but on other occasions when road conditions aren’t at their best.

A problem which can arise when wearing hi-vis clothing, though, is that the reflective strips which are an essential part of these items can itself cause the sun to glint strongly off it. As a result, it’s a good idea to keep the amount of reflective material which you wear to a minimum.

Avoid Black

Instead, you should do the next best thing, and don the lightest clothing you think you can get away with. Don’t just stick with those black trousers or jogging bottoms – swap them for the brightest pair you can stomach, especially if you’re going to be changing them when you arrive at work, as you’ll be helping make yourself much more easily visible.

And all the time you need to tote a waterproof jacket, you should also make sure that this is of the lightest materials which you think you can get away with. A good alternative option, though, if you don’t want to look like a ghost is to wear a top layer of strongly contrasting colours, which again will help ensure that you give as much notice of your presence as possible. And if you wear this gear day after day, be sure that it is kept clean.

 Keep your lights working properly

The same advice also applies to your bike’s lights. While many car drivers don’t think ahead sufficiently to consider cleaning the lenses of their headlights, such a step is vital if you’re on two wheels. The latest generation of LED bicycle lights is very effective, and there are variants which can not only be attached to your bike’s front and rear, but also to parts of your own body, to help reinforce the message that you need to be given the appropriate amount of room to stay safe on your bike.

This guest blog was contributed by Shauna Williams a keen cyclist who wants to help you stay safe on the road with appropriate cycle clothing.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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