Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Phoenix night biking problem

Bob, after the recent Jerry Seinfeld show in downtown Phx.  Note the NiteRider Mako 3.0 on his handlebar.  His B&M headlamp was burned out so we attached battery lighting.
Bob and I were about to leave for the gym the other night but discovered that his tire was completely flat, apparently the result of a section of street we passed earlier in the week with a lot of broken glass.  So we hopped in the the Element and drove to our exercise.  Ho-hum.  Along the way, he commented on the surprising number of people biking busy city streets without any lighting on either the front or back of their bikes.  I'm not one to perseverate on the "dangers" dangers of cycling but good grief, would they drive after dark with out head and tail lights?

Because the B&M headlamp was dim, we added the Nite Rider Mako 3.0.  180 degree of visibility!
Seems like quite a risk you consider how relatively inexpensive bike lighting really is.  Planet Bike lighting provides a lot of bang for often less than $15.  As we were having this chat, a guy on a bike pulled up next to us at the light with no lighting and wearing ear pods.  I'm just going to make a declaration here: even dumber!

Waiting at a light in busy Saturday night traffic. The rear red tail light is indispensable. 
Maybe long-time Phoenicians have some insight into this but I get a lot of questions about whether or not I bike at night and worry about my safety when it's more difficult to see.  No, I've got lighting for all my bikes so I can see and be seen.  Do people just not think about lighting as much here.  I see a lot of cyclists in my neighborhood coming home from wherever after dark and most don't seem to use lighting  - and they are on nicer bikes, too.  I'll have more on this topic later since I have a lot of lighting options to share.  Meantime, for heaven's sake, get a light!

9 comments:

bikeolounger said...

Bob's Breezer headlight isn't working? That's odd, especially for a dyno-powered light (which it appears to be).

"Ninja cyclists" are a problem in many places. For some, it's an "I got caught out later than I intended" thing. For too many, they see themselves as neither motorist nor pedestrian, and thus not subject to the laws that govern either class's movements. Still others just don't think about the consequences of not being seen.

Fernando Ma said...

The absence of lights is also abundant in Tucson, which I imagine is a much darker city at night.

Dan said...

While driving home last night, I passed a young man with only a dim blinking BLUE light on his seat post, and nothing on the front. His reflector was brighter than the blinky.

She Rides a Bike said...

Bike o'Lounger: Absolute Bikes where we purchased our Breezers tell us that the only issue they get with Breezers are the lighting. I think the big problem is a result of the wiring. My tail light doesn't work so I have to use a detachable red blinky.

Fernando, Tucson is probably a dark skies city, no? As is Flagstaff where we just moved from. We had the same issue there and it frankly scared the bejesus out of me. As cyclist, one of my worst fears is hitting a cyclist when I'm driving. In a dark skies community a cyclist without night time lighting is invisible.

Marsha said...

No lights on bikes after dark is pretty common in Florida, too. Cops will ticket them, but that's not a real solution to the problem. (Too many idiots; too few cops...)

Fernando Ma said...

I don't know if we're an "official" dark sky city, but I'm sure we have ordinances to limit light pollution since we are a pro-astronomy town.

She Rides a Bike said...

Fernando, that is one thing that Flag and Tucson have in common - they seem to like science and scientists! Always a plus in my opinion.

Erica S. said...

The cyclists should know better, absolutely... but another big problem is that most bike manufacturers (especially of department store bikes which, face it, comprise the majority of "everyday" bikes at least in my city) consider lights to be an "add on." And in my experience most big box stores (which is where you probably bought the bike from) don't carry anything remotely adequate. Neither do sports stores, usually. I had to buy my headlight at a bike store, and it was pretty expensive. It's certainly worth every penny, but I can see someone saying "I already forked out $500 on the damn bike, I'm not buying that. If it was really important, then the bike would come with one."

I really think we need to pass laws requiring all bikes to ship with at minimum battery-powered lights. Only then will people realize that they're not an "accessory" but a necessity.

She Rides a Bike said...

Good point Erika, and one I hadn't considered. A bike light is a necessity. We just pedaled back from an evening movie this evening and passed a person biking the opposite direction on an accessory ladden bike - but no lighting at all. Requiring bike manufacturers to include lighting in the total package is a great idea and considering that even a $15 headlight provides pretty decent illumination the extra cost would hardly break a cyclist. Much cheaper than a serious or fatal accident.