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Did you see that biker?

The days are getting shorter and darkness is descending earlier now that we are well into fall here in Missoula. For bicycle commuters and recreational riders, this means it's time to get serious about lighting up your bike. Riding after dusk without proper lights is hazardous - for you and for other road users. Having the right bike lights serves the dual purposes of helping others see you while also illuminating the road and path ahead. Follow these tips to "be bright and be seen" when riding at night.


Investing in a quality lighting system for your bicycle should be a top priority. Bright LED headlights and taillights offer maximum visibility and battery run-time. Position headlights low to avoid blinding oncoming traffic but still high enough to spread the beam. Taillights should be mounted high on the rear of the bike. Flashing modes will catch the eyes of motorists most effectively. Reflectors on pedals, wheels and body provide enhanced passive visibility. And don't forget the value of reflective and light-colored clothing. When riding at night, look like a well-lit Christmas tree!


Clark Griswold, from the movie Christmas Vacation is riding a bike at night.  He is covered in a ridiculous amount of Christmas lights.
Okay Girswold, I didn't mean it literally.

But lighting up your bicycle is only one component of safe night riding. We all share responsibility on the road, whether we are cyclists, motorists, or pedestrians. We need to look out for each other and make smart, cautious choices.


Here's a great local video on the topic.



Check our more local Missoula biking safety videos here: https://www.ci.missoula.mt.us/CivicMedia?CID=Road-Safety-Channel-6



Drivers, be alert and distraction-free when behind the wheel. Avoid mobile devices and keep your eyes scanning for vulnerable road users like bicyclists and pedestrians. Motorists should drive sober, obey speed limits, and double check for cyclists before turning. Give bicyclists ample space when passing.


Cyclists, ride defensively and follow traffic laws. Use hand signals, yield to traffic when appropriate, and avoid weaving between cars. Assume you are invisible to drivers and ride cautiously. Travel single file and wear bright clothing. And of course, properly outfit your bike with lights and reflectors.


Pedestrians should utilize crosswalks, make eye contact with drivers before crossing, and keep alert for silent bicycles on shared use paths. Reflective clothing is a plus.


At the end of the day, we're all just trying to get to our destination safely. This time of year, we need extra care and communication to look out for one another. Drivers, keep your eyes peeled for bicyclists and walkers. Cyclists and pedestrians, make yourself visible and stay alert. If we all do our part, we can enjoy the fall season with evening bike rides and commutes made safe by proper lighting and safe practices.

But lighting up your bicycle is only one component of safe night riding. We all share responsibility on the road, whether we are cyclists, motorists, or pedestrians. We need to look out for each other and make smart, cautious choices.





The Drive Safe Missola.com logo which is a black Montana License Plate with a license plate frame that states, "Because you Drive Safe Missoula We are all safer."
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