Safety and Education Committee Report

Bicycle Running Lights

In 1969 it was ascertained [The Hurt Report] that left turning vehicles were the #1 cause of motorcycle fatalities. To address this problem all new motorcycles sold were required to have their headlight always on and this change reduced this cause to the 8 th position last year. This dramatic increase in safety helped to get running lights required on all new motor vehicles. Obviously, [as just another vehicle] bicycles will also be safer with always on lights.

Most motor vehicle/bicycle collisions are the result of improperly accommodating the situation at hand. Bicycling's article [sponsored (biased?) content, June, 2017] was very informative regarding visibility enhancement. Bright [Hi-Viz] clothing makes one easier to be seen and the use of blinking lights increases the recognition factor by 10x. The Queensland Report #39 VIEW HERE found that always on bicycle lights reduced crashes by 30% and recommended requiring their use but enforcement of bicycle infractions is a very low priority that primarily discourages greater bicycle usage. We cannot protect others from themselves but it is our duty to set a good example. A growing number of cyclists are now using always on blinking lights but there are still too many that would rather die than think. With adequate lighting available for less than $20 there is little reason to “die in the dark” but insurance premiums that exceed asset value are a waste of money.

I'm sure that the visibility enhancements added to my bicycle make me safer but they're there primarily out of respect for other users. Even with the increased levels of distraction and impairment the chances of a serious crash are still quite low. The distracted [and impaired] “cannot escape the consequences of their actions” and deserve their fate but others should not suffer. Time is the only thing of value and a minor collision or just a confrontation can snarl traffic that steals it from all users present. As a slow moving vehicle I cannot help but inconvenience those over-taking but when they it's obvious that I'm doing my part for safety. We must act predictably and the sooner others see us the easier it is to be accommodated.

Whenever discussing near misses or others colliding with cars; we should ask about lighting, HiViz, and cyclist behavior. The law abiding cyclist is 20x safer than the average motorist but 85% of those crashing broke the law. Anything can be safely done if the risks are properly accommodated but many people shun using safety equipment as a statement of their courage. Are they “Brave warriors facing the dragon without a shield” or “clowns running barefoot through the snow”? Your level of protection makes a statement; those that are overly cautious are ridiculed as fearful and the well prepared are treated with respect. In order to be safe you must act that way and every near miss is a warning that you need to do something different

Bill Fisk
Safety and Education

REMINDER: BE SEEN!

Make sure to wear at least one item of reflective outerwear apparel, such as a reflective vest, jacket, or helmet strip, during the period from 1/2 hour after sunset to 1/2 hour before sunrise.

Safety and Education Coordinator


Biking 101