Thursday, July 23, 2015

The red light goes in the back.....

I rode home late last evening after a long day at work.  I left the office just before dusk and got home, 16 miles later, well after sunset. I passed over thirty cyclists heading in the opposite direction while I rode, an unusually large number.  It is always great to see so many people out and it was a lovely evening, so it's no surprise many chose to spend it outside.

But I feel compelled to share my thoughts with a few of them.

Rider 1:  Might I suggest you move the red light from the front to the back of your bike, and consider acquiring a white one for the front bar.  It will illuminate the path in front of you much more effectively, and discourage riders like me coming the other way from swerving in to your path when we pass walkers if we can tell which way you're actually heading.

Rider 2:  That alien flashy mode on your white light is great in broad daylight.  Very effective if you're riding on a shoulder so cars turning on to the road will see you when they look left.  But after sunset, you might find both yours and other's eyesight benefits from the solid setting.

Riders 3 and 4: My previous comments not withstanding, any light is better than none at all after dark. Leave the ninja act for the television.

Riders 5 - 30: many thanks for sharing a great evening on the roads and trails.  A little common sense some simple lighting makes for an enjoyable evening for everyone.

Thanks all.



  1. We get a lot of night time ninja cyclists in the UK. They wear all black and have no lights.

  2. Totally agree! Proper road decorum goes a long way. Not just because of safety reasons, but out of courtesy for everyone on the road.

  3. I think I may have met you in October 2013. I was doing volunteer support for the Taste of Carolina 1200 which was going on and finishing at the same time that you did a 600 brevet out of Lumberton, NC. I recall that Bob and I saw a group of riders near the end and we stopped to check on them. Turned out the group was all part of the Severna Park Peloton.

    Anyway, to the points of your post:

    In January, there was a rookie randonneur doing our Jan-R-ride with us. Because I was very out of cycling shape (still am) and because there were DIFFICULT wind conditions, we were well behind our usual pace / place on the route as dusk approached. I was leading with about 24 miles to go when I was suddenly being distracted by ... something on my handlebars. I realized that the source of the distraction was the the new randonneur had one of his two headlamps on flash mode, and although it was still quite light out, the flashes of light were hitting my handlebar (and mirror). So even in somewhat strong daylight, a flashing headlight can distract the people one is riding WITH. That doesn't sound good to me.

    In the case I describe, I decided to hold my tongue for a bit, waiting for less light before mentioning the distraction. New rando must have switched to steady mode because I don't recall mentioning the flashing distraction.

    As a well known randonneuse wrote on her blog, oh my, five years ago, when writing about etiquette on social rides:

    "Finally keep your lights considerate on a group ride. Flashing or exhibitionism, is usually not considered socially acceptable. So when in a group, if you have your lights on, please use the steady mode. (This includes on busy bike paths too).


    Also I don't understand why anyone uses a flashing headlight. You see... you don't see... you see... you don't see... But for some reason, lots of people that I meet on the bike path use this less-than-friendly-to-fellow-path-users mode. Please just say no to flashing!"

    1. Yes I did ride the 600K in Lumberton that year. Thank you for the support!!