How To Ensure A Legal And Safe Night Ride

Are you intimately familiar with the road laws as they apply to bicycles being ridden at night? Perhaps you assumed as long as you took the basic precautions to make sure you can be seen that would be enough? You might be surprised to discover there are some actual laws that say what you must do when riding in the dark.

It’s pretty obvious that the number one thing that will ensure a safe night ride every time you go out is to make sure that you are visible to all motorists. If every car, truck and cyclist can see you, there’s a lot less chance of you being involved in an accident. Most people wear high visibility clothing and attach some kind of light to their bicycle but here’s the list of all of the equipment you must use by law when riding at night:

  • Any lamp attached to your bicycle must be a white light. It must illuminate the area in front of your bicycle and be visible from the front and the sides for 300 feet. So you need a fairly decent white light.
  • You must have a red reflector fitted to the back of your bicycle which can be seen from a distance of 500 feet should a motor vehicle use their upper beam.
  • You need to have a lot of reflectors! Any pedal, shoe or ankle that can be seen from the front and the rear of the bike needs to have either a white or yellow reflector attached. These reflectors need to be visible for 200 feet.
  • You can decide whether you put side reflectors on your wheels/tires or on another part of the bicycle. If you don’t have them fitted to the wheels you must have them fitted in two places. Work out where the center of the bicycle is – then attach reflectors to the front and the rear of the center. The reflectors must be yellow or white towards the front and white or red towards the rear. Remember if you have side reflectors fitted to your wheels you’re not required to add any extra front and fear reflectors.
  • If you choose you can attach the white lamp mentioned at the start to your actual person instead of having it fitted to your bicycle. If you choose this option, the light must still be a white light and must still be visible from the front and the side from a distance of 300 feet.

As you can see the list above is fairly long but there’s nothing really complicated to be done. Get a decent white light and attach the right colour reflectors where they need to be and you’ll easily stay within the law. And of course, remember to keep your wits about you when you are riding at night. Even with reflectors and lights you need to make sure other road users can see you coming and are taking the required action to avoid a collision with you.
Remember we are here should you need assistance in the event of a bicycle accident. Grab our bicycle assistance app here and you’ll always have it on hand should you need it.