Tips for cycling at night

With a few essential items such as a good set of lights, some reflective clothing and reflectors on your bike there's nothing to stop you peddling the night away. Follow these helpful tips to stay safe when cycling in the dark:

  • In order to cycle in the dark you will need a set of lights. This is the law. You will need a white light for the front and a red light for the rear. Firstly, consider what you want to use the lights for… Do you want to see with them or do you want to be seen, or both? There’s no point buying a small flashing light if your commute takes you along unlit roads where you would benefit from extra illumination! Your local bike shop will be pleased to advise.
  • Check your lights work before you set off and wipe the lenses clean to ensure they are as bright as they can be. Also check how many batteries your lights take: that cheap bike light you bought could cost you a fortune in AA batteries! Consider investing in rechargeable batteries. If you go for long rides, carry a spare set of batteries in your pocket, bag or pannier.
  • Go on; add another item to your list of fashion disasters. Wear reflective clothing or other items at night. Hi-Viz clothing will normally use a combination of fluorescent fabric and reflective strips and really does work! Again, your local bike shop will be able to supply a range of such clothing.
  • It is illegal to cycle on the road without a rear red reflector on your bike. Make sure that it is clean so that other road users can see you. In addition to a rear reflector and front and rear lights, newer bikes usually come with white reflectors on both wheels and amber reflectors on the pedals.
  • Traffic isn't the only hazard at night... animals, pedestrians and cyclists heading in the wrong direction with no lights might surprise you in the dark. Look for them carefully, and give them ample space when you see them.
  • Take account of the conditions when you are cycling. It’s more difficult to see potential hazards ahead in the dark, so account for this by cycling more slowly and allowing yourself more time to take action if you need to.