Make yourself visible on the road after dark!

(This is not a rant about Daylight Savings Time.)

Earlier this evening, I went out to run an errand, and as I was pulling out of my parking lot, two boys zipped by on mopeds. I didn’t see the second one until I almost hit him; he had no lights or reflectors on it, or even on his helmet, and I just plain old did.not.see.him.


When we stopped at the light, I stepped out of my car and told him to turn his headlight on, and he said he didn’t have one. :smack:

The kids both looked like they were about 16 years old. I sure hope I don’t see him on the news some time soon.

It’s the YOLO effect. They’re invincible at that age.

I don’t get it. If YOLO, wouldn’t you want to make that “once” last awhile?

I’ve lost count of how many dumbshits I’ve seen riding bikes at night, wearing black shirts.

if by “invincible,” you mean “incredibly fucking stupid,” then I guess we agree.

if you actually believe “YOLO,” you’re not intelligent enough to think about it that much.

I don’t get it either. I mean YOLO is supposed to be about living life in the moment, never passing up opportunities, doing crazy shit for the thrills, whatever. How the fuck is riding a bike at night (with or without black on) “thrilling” or some crazy shit you’ll remember forever? It’s-just-stupid. Or relatively boring. Depending on clothing choices.

Are you implying you live more (or somehow less) than once?

Not just stupid young kids, but also adult joggers - choosing to run in the street where there are sidewalks, with dark gear head to toe with no (or minimal) reflective fabric. They may see the cars, but it is so rude of them to the driver who does not see them until the last moment.

I used to pass several early morning runners on my previous commute. Never said anything negative to the dark ones, but did thank those who were very visible. It is amazing how clearly reflective tape shows up in headlights.

With bikes, they make such effective and cheap LED lights these days. For $20, you can have flashing lights front and rear. Sure, occasionally you might get caught out after dark. But if you use your bike regularly other than in the middle of the day, why not make the investment? I can only put it down to general cluelessness, with an assumption by the biker that “the other guy” ought to look out for them.

Some of my less charitable moments, but when I see someone clad in dark and in the road after dark, I often think you ought to be allowed to run them over. :rolleyes:

That annoys me, too. And I’m talking about brand new sidewalks. Not uneven ones with tripping hazards. I wish the joggers would wear reflective stuff top and bottom. Usually they just have something on top. I see that from a distance and it just looks like a disembodied light. What is that? A cat?

When I was little, my mom would always, always, always point out how hard it was to see walkers after dark. It stuck with me. I wonder if some people just never even notice the people they can barely see, and so don’t know how invisible they, themselves, are in turn.

I also feel like people that don’t drive are not as aware of how invisible walkers can be after dark to drivers, unless they had my mom. Thanks, mom!

I live out in the country and there are several people that walk on the narrow two-lane country roads at dawn and dusk between our house and my kids’ schools.

One older guy in particular made me nervous because he always seemed to be on the road right when the sky is beginning to lighten, making him even more difficult to see.

My solution was to buy him a nice safety green reflective vest. The next time I saw him I stopped and said “Hi, I see you out here quite a bit and I’m concerned that you can be hard to see sometimes in the dark. If you’d like, I have this extra vest and you’re welcome to it.” He accepted it and now I see him wearing it every time.

Not many brand new sidewalks overall.
Even new sidewalks will have driveway cutouts and possibly landscaping that hinders vision for both runner and drivers.

Concrete is much harder than asphalt.

Depending on the reflective material, the more extreme angle from driver to sidewalk can reduce the light reflected back.

There is much more room for square inches from a vest compared to ankle bands.

Cue joggers to chime in about the dangers of jogging on concrete as opposed to pavement, and unshovelled sidewalks… :rolleyes:

When I was running in a place with unreliable sidewalks, I looked for the cheapest solution I could find. Had expected to find an arm or wrist band. But I found a safety yellow vest that was mostly mesh and had reflective strips. I forget the price, but I’m a cheap-ass bastard and was looking for the cheapest alternative. I’m sure it was less than $10. I think I got it at K-Mart.

I’m the kind of guy whose preference was to run shirtless, until I got older and decided people really didn’t need to see my aging torso/combined with the availability of new, very lightweight, wicking tank tops. This vest is absolutely comfortable in heat or cold, slipped over a tank top or a windshirt. For someone to decline to take such a cheap and easy step is some combination of mindnumbing stupidity and societal rudeness.

I’m 69 years old and only mention the YOLO effect because I hear it from all the young folks as I chase them from my lawn. I wasn’t implying that it was my philosophy.

I agree that’s it not bright to ride after dark with no lights. No pun intended. I live in a rural area with no street lighting, so it would be even worse.

How I long for the days where such dangerous behaviour would be noteworthy.

Here in china there are vast numbers of electric mopeds. Very few bother to ever turn their lights on, preferring instead to preserve battery power (though why many motorbike riders also leave their lights off is anyone’s guess).
When you throw in that motorbike/moped riders ignore stop signs, happily go counter to the direction of traffic, or just ride on the pavement / sidewalk (I don’t mean a few nutters behave like that; I mean it’s the culture here) and it’s a surprise that every street isn’t covered in corpses, rather than merely being some of the world’s most unsafe roads.

End of pit rant

EDIT: Nicely done August West

Had a bicycle (rider was mis-20s) do about the same yesterday. No lights, no reflectors, dark clothes, no helmet, dark road and wet leafs. My only consolation is that he could have signed his organ donor line on his ID.

I was astonished that a motorized vehicle didn’t even have head- or taillights! :eek:

Reflectivity & noticeability is exponentially proportional to the size of the reflective material. The reflective piping that so much clothing comes with, it looks bright in your closet/drawer when you’re 2’ away, but it’s useless after maybe 20’ as it’s not bright enough for a driver to notice it from a distance. A driver needs to see something reflective, understand that it’s a person (& not, say a mailbox or a driveway marker that’s not near the lane of travel) & then take the time to make corrective action - sliding over, changing lanes, slowing down, etc. I won’t use anything less than 1" wide.

I try to look like a Christmas tree between passive (reflective) & active lighting when I’m out there in the evening because I want to come home alive.

There’s a fairly busy road near my house with a bicycle lane. The other day, I drove on it and went past two people walking on it. (The road doesn’t have a sidewalk.) I wasn’t in the bike lane, because I was in my car, but they were in the shadow of the trees overhead, and I think if I’d been on a bike, I might have missed them because they were dressed in dark clothes.

Oh, and one was staring at his smartphone and the other was pushing a stroller.

If you’re in the street, wear bright clothes.

I was just thinking about this last week before the time change and it will likely come up again when it’s still dark at 6:30 am. I drive down my street and through an industrial area on the outskirts of my town on the way to the freeway. There aren’t a lot of streetlights for the first two miles, there are no sidewalks and a narrow bridge going over I-40.

There are also two guys that walk to what I assume are jobs in that area, neither of whom wears light or reflective clothing. :smack: I was actually thinking of doing the same thing that August West did with the vests. I really don’t want to run one of them over.

I live in a not-too-trafficky neighborhood but I am always terrified when walking my dogs after dark. I’ve always worn a reflective safety vest. Last year I stepped it up with an LED arm band for myself. This year I got LED light collars for my dogs.

We don’t have sidewalks and people are always speeding down our streets, even though they are very short. Everyone just has to get home a second early, I guess.

People who don’t keep their dogs to their left and don’t walk facing traffic scare me. When they do it in the dark without lights and or reflective clothing - eek!!

August West - very awesome of you!