James Yaffa discusses rider safety and pitches a simple but potentially life-saving visibility initiative.
Rider Safety needs to improve, and we riders absolutely need to wake up! As we head into another winter cycling season, and further into 2023, the harrowing subject of cyclist safety needs consideration and serious discussion.
Yes, it’s an ongoing issue and, sadly this year, there seems to have been a lot more bad crashes, serious incidents and rider fatalities.
Life seems to gain a greater pace month by month! Everything is moving at warp speed. Take technology as a prime example, fridges, heaters and home security can be switched on or monitored while you are walking down the street. Google reminds us of the most menial tasks such as ‘It’s Sunday, take the rubbish out!’ Even our phone screens wish us ‘Good Morning!’
Putting this technology to potentially life-saving use, maybe it’s time our beloved road bike manufacturers integrated high-quality and super-durable front and rear bike lights in the road bike sector.
Pro riders are pushing the ‘Be Bright, Wear A Light’ message and maybe it’s time the industry’s key players did as well!
Attention all industry players – keen to talk more about this? You are very welcome to call me anytime and tell me why this is not possible. Is it a risk to the structural integrity of the frame? Is it adding too much weight? Is it the complexity of charging the lights and adding more wires? Let’s discuss this.
In this day and age, cars can park, steer, and drive themselves, surely bikes could be fitted with in-built visibility to help riders stand out and be seen, particularly in our crazy busy, ever-expanding cities.
Potential barriers from riders and manufacturers may be concerns about the look or weight of a bike fitted with front and rear lights. Well, I say an extra 50 to 100grams for the peace of mind of being seen out there is a very small price to pay.
As for bike aesthetics, looks and ‘The Rules’, it’s your life that is clearly more important. Play it safe, be bright, be seen and ride on!
OK, so lights are sorted and you may even find your new winter lighting solution in our light guide inside this edition … now let’s turn to the sensitive subject of riders going down.
From time to time we all experience that dreaded message from a fellow riding mate …’Did you know (insert name) was hit by a car this morning?’
The more we can do to avoid these very unfortunate incidents the better.
Of course, drivers can do a lot more by looking out for cyclists, having more patience, and showing more respect to all road users and particularly bike riders.
Governments can do a lot more by funding bike rider awareness initiatives and creating more bike lanes and paths.
The police can do a lot more by taking complaints more seriously, acting upon cyclist-related infringements, enforcing close-pass legislation, and actively policing heavily bike-trafficked routes such as National Parks close to our cities.
And of course, riders can most certainly do more, and yes, our bike manufacturers!
Cyclists of all abilities need to make sure they are also doing the right thing on our roads, like adhering to bunch etiquette or reading up on Top 10 safety tips is a good way to keep abreast of ride safety protocols.
Riders need to take responsibility, not only in fitting those quality front and rear lights to their bikes, but wearing brightly-coloured kit as well!
The number of times I see fellow riders out on a dawn ride in the dark mist of a winter’s morning with a non-charged front and rear light … Or ride with a front light that puts out less than 400 lumens and a dark-coloured jersey or gilet is beyond silly, it’s just outright madness!
Some lights are simply not good enough these days and they should be binned tonight.
Finally, to kit, and I have some good news and bad news here. The bad news is that black cycling kit has had its day, well at least for those who share the roads with motorists. Gran Fondo, race and crit riders – you’re OK … black kit is timeless, but only in the right conditions.
The good news is there is more and more bright cycling kit available! No, you don’t have to wear daggy flouro yellow or high-vis orange, but yes there is some stylish, colourful and very eye-catching cycling apparel on the market.
It’s high time we all take a close look at what we wear, and have a good think about how well we are seen out there.
Stay safe, be bright & stay visible, and enjoy your winter riding!