Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Hey, your rear light doesn't work..."

I often say that to fellow cyclists who obviously have lights on their bikes but don't want to use them in the night.

Recently I got a very nice answer to that: "Shit, that one too. Thanks a million!"

The guy was really grateful that I told him as he had only recently replaced his front light but not noticed that the one in the back was also broken. Well, how should he? A bicycle does not have a flashing warning lamp in case something is damaged...

I hence encourage everyone who sees a cyclist with a non-working light to tell them. It can be life-saving. Not every cyclist recklessly and purposely cycles around as a bike ninja.

What you can do as a cyclist for your own safety? Check your lights every time you set off in the dark! And make sure you carry spare batteries if you use battery-driven lights.


Steve A said...

I always run my commuter bike with two lights in the back plus the reflector. One light flashes to assist motorist recognition. The second light is steady to assist motorist depth perception. Should one go out, as happens, I've still got one operating. At that point, I will usually set the surviving light to blink mode since the reflector will perform the function of the steady light. I keep spare batteries in my office desk. I guess you could say my other spares are in the second light.

John in NH said...

I have a front rechargeable 1/2-watt planet bike light, works wonderfully :) I charge it up every week just to make sure it’s topped off, the batteries I use have a long life and the light is very efficient. In the back I have 1 reflector plus double blinking lights, maybe I should do one blinking, one steady... but since about half my commute is on a 50mph rural highway I prefer to be seen as far away as possible. My new bike has front and rear solid dynamo lights, so when riding with this I have a short throw and long throw front light, duel blinkers and one steady on the rear. Not to mention my reflective vest (yeah it looks like I am on a construction site, but I don't mind)
I carry an extra set of rechargeable for the front and one for the rear lights in my bike bag.

cycler said...

Yea dynamo lights!!
I do carry a small blinkie though just in case. I've already worn out one LED tail-light and a generator pedal light.
Beyond alerting people to dead rear lights, I am prone to telling people if their batteries are low (often a low battery will look OK for the 30 seconds it takes to turn it on and turn forward) and when their lights are in a location that they aren't visible.
I also often see people who have a light on the top of their backpack that isn't visible from behind when they're down on drops, or a seat mounted light hidden by coattails. I try to let them know, but it's a bit too complicated just to yell out.

ibikelondon said...

That cartoon is ghoulish! I do love Yehuda Moon though...

I think your point about telling other cyclists about dodgy lights etc taps into something bigger that we all as cyclists can do and that is: Talk to other cyclists. The fact is that you can ride on the roads without any formal training, and whilst I wouldn't necessarily change that I think it's always worth remembering that there can be less experienced riders on the road with you and if you see them doing something daft it's worth telling them: just the other day I was hanging back behind a lorry at traffic lights and saw a cyclists start to cycle down the inside of the lorry, I cried out "Stop" and "Don't cycle down there" - they had no idea why I would say such a thing so pulled over and when I explained the danger they were putting themselves in they were really shocked.

Sharing knowledge and making pals out on the road is a good thing: we should all look out for each other!

anna said...

Good point, Mark. I agree.

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