With winter heralding changes in riding conditions, cyclists are being urged to light up and brighten up. Cycling Advocates' Network (CAN) spokes person Stephen McKernon says, “Cyclists should light up for morning, evening, and bad weather riding. Cycling fatalities have declined over recent years, at the same time as high-visibility riding gear and brighter lights have become more popular. Safety-focused attitudes and good safety equipment work."
CAN strongly recommends high-visibility reflective gear such as fluorescent clothing, pack covers, and extra reflectors. "The use of high-visibility gear and stronger lights has become more popular over the last decade," McKernon says.
"We suspect this may be why cycling fatalities have declined since 1998. Bike sales are up, our roads are busier, and cycling accidents have increased, but brighter cyclists are far less vulnerable at night, which can be the most dangerous time for sharing the roads".
The NZ Road Code says that bikes and cyclists out at night must have:
- a steady or flashing rear-facing red light
- a steady or flashing forward-facing white light
- a rear reflector on the bike
- reflectors on pedals, or reflective clothing.
"And have a bicycle bell or horn," adds Mr. McKernon "Use it to let cars and pedestrians know where you are!"
He also has advice for drivers. "At this time of year look out for the flashing lights of cyclists. Give them plenty of room when overtaking, as required by the road code. A clearance of a metre and a half is recommended."
You can contact a local CAN group to arrange a photo of well-lit local cyclists by visiting http://can.org.nz/local-groups
Facts about cycling
- Cycling is among the ten top leisure activities in New Zealand, and it's increasing in popularity every year.
- At present over 20% of New Zealanders enjoy cycling every year – that’s about 750,000 cyclists.
- One million bikes have been imported to New Zealand since 2001, about one bike for every four people.
- There are about 1.4 million bikes in New Zealand, about one bike for every household
- The Road Code rules for cyclists' lights can be found at http://www.ltsa.govt.nz/road-user-safety/walking-and-cycling/lights.html