Riding your bike during the day is safer, but sometimes a busy schedule or late commute can make riding at night necessary. Though it may be more dangerous to ride at night, you can take many steps to make it safer. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to make your night riding safe and enjoyable.
1. Invest in a High-Quality Light Setup
Though many e-bikes like the Espin 21 Sport come with a headlight, if you plan to ride in the dark often, investing in additional lights is a really good idea too. For lights, you should buy a high-quality front and backlight set at the very least.
Most good bike lights are LEDs, but try to get a set with at least 1,000 lumens of light output. Generally, for long night rides, it’s best to have two front lights. One light should be mounted to your bike, and the other mounted to your helmet.
A bright, wide beam light mounted to the e-bike’s handlebars can illuminate the road or trail in front of you to help you spot any obstacle as well as raise your visibility to other drivers. A helmet-mounted light can help raise your visibility as well, but its most important use is helping you see around twists and turns on curving roads and trails.
Rear lights are also an important component of any light set because these ensure you are visible to any other road users.
2. Use Reflectors
Make sure you use reflectors on your e-bike. Aside from being a legal requirement in all states, reflectors help cars notice you. This is all the more vital at night when you want to do everything you can to ensure cars see you. Many people have a reflector on the front and back of their bike, but you can improve your visibility further by having reflectors on your pedals. Car drivers tend to notice the movement of these reflectors as you pedal.
3. Wear Visible Clothing
Use your clothing to make yourself even more visible. During the day, increasing your visibility often means wearing bright fluorescent clothing. But, at night, bright colors don’t help due to the lack of UV light. A better choice is to wear reflective clothing. You could even add extra reflective strips to your clothing or gear to increase your visibility further.
4. Take Extra Care
Of course, you always want to be careful while biking, especially when you’re around cars. But, caution is even more vital at night when there is a much higher chance of drivers not seeing you. Pay careful attention to the road. Be aware of cars coming up behind you or approaching any intersection you are about to cross. Don’t assume any car can see you. Also, be more careful at intersections and be prepared to move off of the road if a car seems to be too close. Even objects on the road and bumps can be more dangerous at night because it’s hard to see them. So, go a bit slower to allow yourself to react with reduced visibility.
5. Inspect Your Bike
Although it’s always a good idea to check your bike over before riding, it’s especially vital when biking at night. It’s a lot harder to do even minor maintenance on your bike at night; even simple repairs can be a challenge. Also, it’s much harder for cars to see you at night, making it potentially dangerous trying to repair your bike along the side of the road. However, even with the best preparation, something could go wrong, so have extra lighting and basic repair supplies with you.
6. Ride in Familiar Territory
Night isn’t a good time to try out a new route. For your own safety, pick a familiar route. Choose somewhere not too far from your home. This way, you can get home pretty easily if you need to. Try to keep your ride well within your limits as well. Going on a ride at night can be pleasant, but take it a bit easy since it’s not the best time to test your abilities. Just find a safe road or trail and enjoy yourself.
7. Carry Basic Tools
You’ll want to make sure your bike is in good shape before riding at night. However, you can never be 100% certain your bike won’t break down. So, you’ll want to bring along enough basic tools to fix any minor problems you may encounter on your ride. You don’t want to be stuck along the side of the road or on an empty trail for a long time at night. You may already carry an assortment of tools with you since it’s a good idea even in the daytime. However, if you don’t, try to bring some tire tubes, a tire pump, a chain breaker, and a multi-tool.
8. Bring a First Aid Kit
Accidents can happen anytime you bike, and the decreased visibility of night makes that possibility more likely than ever. If you’re not a confident biker, it’s always a good idea to wear extra safety equipment like knee and elbow pads. But however skilled you are, it’s always possible to be grazed by a car or take a tumble over an unseen pothole. Be ready for night-time spills and scrapes by carrying a first aid kit along with your tools. If you have a kit with bandages and antiseptic wipes handy, you’ll be prepared for any minor accidents.
9. Don’t Ride Alone
When riding at night, it’s always a good idea to try and ride with someone. Bringing a friend or family member along is especially important if you ride in a less populated area, such as a trail. Your light could die, or you could have an accident since it’s easier to run into objects at night. With no one around, you could easily be stuck waiting a while for help, even with a cell phone signal. So, try to take someone along for your ride. You can help each other out if needed. If you can’t bring someone along, at least tell someone where you’ll be.
Night riding is more hazardous than biking during the day, but with some basic preparation, you can ensure your night-time ride is safe and enjoyable. Always make sure to bring ample lighting and ensure your bike has front, back, and pedal-mounted reflectors. Try to remain in familiar places and, if possible, bring a friend. Finally, try to bring basic repair items, dress visibly, and keep your e-bike in good working order. Taking extra care may be some more work, but it’s a lot better than getting stuck without a working bike or, worse, getting in an accident. So remember, ride safe!