Assume they don’t see you, no matter how lit up you are at night

Two flashing tail lights, one flashing front light, one steady. Yes, I’m visible as I head down the road. Visible enough that the car that cut me off at the intersection either wasn’t looking or just didn’t care.

Does this mean it’s unsafe to be out riding at night, or in the daytime for that matter? If you aren’t paying attention, sure. But it’s unsafe doing lots of things if you aren’t paying attention. But let’s think about what we’re seeing here. A car is illegally (I think) exiting the gas station and crossing a solid double yellow line to try and head north on Alameda. I believe the only legal exit from this gas station involves making a right turn onto Jefferson. OK, I’m seeing this one from a block away and it’s already played out in my mind, pretty much exactly as it came down. The car is stuck behind another car until the light changes, and then he just goes… turning right in front of me, as if I weren’t there. Sometimes you just gotta wonder. But if you always assume they don’t see you; if you look ahead and anticipate the worst, you should be able to ride almost as safely at night as in the daytime.

Ride report from this morning? Kevin stayed home (not feeling well again), so just me, the other Kevin, Eric, JR, Jan, Mark P and JR. A bit on the cool side; first time I’ve seen 30-something show up on my computer. That’s ok; you warm up quickly when you hit the hill, and it’s a bit warmer up on top. Nobody was racing today, but Jan was getting over something and not feeling so hot so I stayed back to keep an eye on him and make sure he was OK. It’s a whole lot easier for me to check up on the rear than the front! At Skyline Jan sent us on, preferring to ride a bit more slowly as he recovered from his bug. Along the way (on Skyline) we picked up Milo, who hasn’t been with us in ages. He says he now remembers why he hasn’t been riding with us; something about wanting to enjoy riding at a bit more reasonable speed going uphill. My guess is that he’s not quite as addicted to Strava as some of us are!

3 thoughts on “Assume they don’t see you, no matter how lit up you are at night

  1. What % of drivers check their right side view mirror for traffic before turning? I know I check for bicycles and anything else, but it’s not something most people even think about (it didn’t matter that you were brightly lit up or not).

    1. Jay: When the car cut across the road in front of the intersection (illegally), he/she should have been looking to see if there was any oncoming traffic, lest they get hit. We were extremely well-lit and presumed observable and, once observed, one would expect that the driver would continue to keep us in mind. Of course, you can’t expect that to happen if you want to live very long! Whether driving, or riding a bike. Ride a bicycle the same way you drive a car and you’ll likely survive. You know, when driving a car, that you have to watch out for idiots. No different on a bike. Except that, on a bike, you’re likely more vulnerable. You’re also more maneuverable (you can fit into smaller spaces), which you need to use to your advantage. –Mike–

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