1. Avoid wearing headphones to enhance your hearing.
Nighttime cycling reduces your visibility, making your sense of hearing more critical. It's not advisable to wear headphones for listening to music as they can block out the sounds of other vehicles on the road. For example, on certain roads with heavy truck traffic, wearing headphones may prevent you from hearing a large truck approaching until it's very close, increasing the risk of accidents due to sudden surprises.
2. Increase side visibility with reflective measures.
Many cycling accidents don't occur from front or rear collisions but from side impacts since the sides of bicycles often lack proper lighting. To improve side visibility, consider adding reflective elements like reflective strips on your tires or wheel rims, and reflective stickers.
When applying reflective stickers, it's important to place them strategically. It's recommended to stick them on the left side of your bike frame (where the top and down tubes meet) since cyclists typically ride on the right side of the road, and vehicle headlights primarily approach from the left. Avoid placing them where they may be obstructed by your legs.
Additionally, you can invest in a product called "Croc Lights," which can be attached to your bicycle or mounted on your safety helmet. These lights offer strong battery life, long-distance illumination, and are IPX68 waterproof-rated, making them essential gear for outdoor cycling.
3. Avoid riding on unfamiliar or isolated routes at night.
Riding on roads you're not familiar with can be dangerous, especially at night when visibility is reduced. Relying on old memories of the route can lead to accidents. Additionally, there may be safety concerns in unfamiliar areas. Even if you carry self-defense items, they may not be effective in sudden situations. Carrying a whistle can be a useful tool as the high-pitched sound can startle potential attackers. Keep it easily accessible, but not near your collar.
Riding in a group can also deter theft and misconduct.
4. Adapt to road conditions and maintain a slower pace.
While road conditions may be clear during the day, they can be less visible at night, even with streetlights. Some cyclists maintain the same speed at night as they do during the day, but nighttime riding requires longer reaction times due to reduced visibility. Particularly on roads with minor potholes, cyclists can easily be thrown off balance if they aren't cautious.
Many riders only realize the need to reduce speed after an accident occurs, either to themselves or someone else. Always remember to be prepared to reduce your speed to around 70-80% of your daytime speed, as indicated by your bike computer.
5. Avoid training rides during nighttime.
Training rides often involve steep hill climbs where cyclists ascend slowly and then descend rapidly. This can be risky, especially when it's dark outside. There's no need to compete in terms of speed with other road users, as this can lead to risky maneuvers and a negative image for cyclists. It's strongly recommended to prioritize a safe and enjoyable ride over an intensive training session. Stick to flat roads rather than hilly ones.
6. Maintain a relaxed and easygoing mindset.
Many cyclists who enjoy night rides do so for relaxation. They might not have the energy to ride in the morning or are in a hurry to get home for dinner. This sense of urgency can lead to impatience and a casual attitude.
In conclusion, night mountain biking has become a popular choice for many working cyclists. As long as you keep these night riding considerations in mind, it can be a great option for relaxation and exercise.