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5 Safety Tips for Biking at Night in California

Biking as a commuting method is a fantastic way to exercise and reduce your carbon footprint. For some, a night bike commute is a necessity. For others, a night bike ride can be a source of pleasure; the cool air, the quiet roads, and other factors can make it a form of mindfulness and meditation. 

With all the benefits cycling has for you and the environment, it also comes with a few risks, especially if you have to bike at night. If you suffer in a bicycle accident, contact a lawyer as soon as possible to seek justice for your injuries.

5 Safety Tips for Biking at Night in California

Whether you are leaving work in the late evening, participating in an evening group cycling event, or simply enjoying the silence of some night cycling, staying safe should be your top priority. Here are five tips to ensure you stay safe on a night bike ride in California:

Stay Visible and Observant

One of the biggest challenges of a night bike ride is visibility. Your bicycle (and, by extension, you) are less likely to be noticed in the dark. California Vehicle Code Section 21201(d) requires that any bicycle being operated during a time of darkness should be equipped with the following:

  • A white light/lamp should be visible from a distance of 300 feet in front and the sides of the bicycle. Most bike lights meet this standard, even the smaller ones.
  • A red reflector or a rear light that should be red and have a blinking function. It should be visible from 500 feet to the rear.
  • A white or yellow reflector on each pedal, shoe, or ankle should be visible from the front and rear of the bicycle from a distance of 200 feet.
  • If a bicycle doesn’t have front and rear reflective tires, then a white or yellow reflector must be placed on each side—at the front of the center of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side at the rear of the center of the bike.

Having the above will significantly reduce the likelihood of encountering a severe accident.

Wear Reflective Gear

As mentioned earlier, visibility is one of the main concerns regarding night riding. Many drivers who end up causing injury to a cyclist will say that they did not see the biker because of how dark it was. Wearing bright colors will not cut it if you’re riding at night. Apart from wearing a protective helmet, wearing bike gear with reflective surfaces will ensure you are safe and that your bike is visible to other motorists in the dark.

Map and Familiarize Safe Routes

Exploring unfamiliar routes during the day is one thing, but riding at night requires planning out safe biking routes beforehand. Determine the safest trails by cycling on them in the daytime. This will eliminate any surprises, such as lack of bike lanes or proper lighting, and ensure that there are no hazards, such as potholes, fallen tree branches, or road work debris.

Obey the Rules of the Road

As much as possible, obey traffic laws and stick to bike lanes. Because of the size and mobility of a bicycle, cyclists may weave in and out of traffic or ignore traffic lights. Avoid fitting yourself into small spaces. You may get clipped by passing vehicles, especially since they might not be able to see you clearly.

Stay Within the Headlights’ Range

When cycling at night, be sure that oncoming motorists can spot you quickly. Cycling a meter toward the middle of the road makes you more visible, asserts your presence on the road, and gives you more space to fall in, in case of a crazy or distracted motorist passing too close to you.

The state of California provides all bicycle accident victims up to two years from the date of the incident to pursue a legal claim for damages. After this, one loses the legal ability to get compensation for injuries related to that specific accident.

Securing Compensation for Personal Injuries Resulting From a Bicycle Accident in California

Suppose you have been hurt in a cycling accident with a car. In that case, you should speak with a California personal injury attorney to determine possible options for moving forward with a lawsuit or reaching a settlement. Medical costs resulting from such accidents can be excessive. 

The qualified and professional attorneys at Setareh Law will help you get the compensation you deserve. We have years of experience and are dedicated to guiding you to the compensation you’re entitled to by law. Contact us at (310) 659-1826 or fill out our contact form for a free consultation.

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