Can I see you?

I hope everyone had a great Halloween. I know my kids enjoyed it, maybe a bit too much.

Rhyley is at the age where she wants to get out with friends now, but Regan barely understands what we’re doing wandering around in weird outfits begging for candy. So we split up as a family for the night.

I drove Regan to my folks and a few friends’ houses for some minimal begging, and as I was driving home in the dark, with a bit of fog, I realized how many people are out with no lights, or reflectivity, or bright clothing.

I was being extra cautious due to all the kids, but on multiple occasions it was my second or third check at a stop sign before I saw a group of trick-or-treaters running through the streets. Most of these groups had parents along.

Even the odd group with glow sticks hanging off their wrists were almost invisible.

It got me thinking about how visible I might be when riding at night, or on cloudy days. I have front and rear lights and a reflective jacket, but is that enough?

I often see cyclists who have gone to the trouble to get lights, but then mounted the lights in a spot that is blocked by a tire, or their jacket hanging down.

So, this is my friendly reminder to get visible, and here are a few hints.

Use a bright front light. You’d be surprised how quickly a driver can cut you off from in front if they can’t see you. Even when you see it coming there may not be time to react safely.

Mount as bright a rear light as you can get, and leave it on flash mode. This is the best way to get a driver’s attention.

Mount one rear light on your bike and a second light on your back pack, or helmet. The higher mounting position will be more visible, and having two lights at different flash modes is so visible it’s annoying. Better to be annoying than dead.

Reflectivity is never enough on its own, but it doesn’t hurt, and it can make you more visible from the side when passing intersections.

And most importantly, check to make sure your lights are charged regularly. If you feel extra safe, because of all your lights, but your batteries die half way through your commute, you are in serious danger.

Use your lights in all conditions, day and night. Flashing lights will draw attention even when the sun is shining.

A lot of drivers don’t see bikes on the best of days, so we need to do our best to stay safe, and seen.

Have a great winter on your bikes.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…