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How LEDs are Making Cycling Safer

Updated: May 24


Photo by Clem Onojeghuo

Improving the safety of bicycle commuting is a key concern for the team at ZappaWheels. In this posting, we take a look at LED technologies which are increasing the visibility of riders. The article is courtesy of freelance writer Jenny Holt, who is based in the UK.

 

Staying Safe when out on the Roads

Safety while riding a bicycle is one of the concerns preventing more people from cycling. According to the survey of the European Commission, there are only 4% of UK respondents who cycle daily. This is one of the lowest percentages in the EU 28 although bike ownership or access to it in the UK is high with 42% of people or around 25 million owning a bicycle. Other European countries have cycle rates of 43% in the Netherlands, 30% in Denmark and 20% in Finland.


In the US, the number of cyclists has increased since 2012. By 2014, there were more than 67 million riders according to Statista figures. The increase is attributed to the recognition of the health and environmental benefits of riding. Cycling promotes healthy habits, improves cardiovascular functioning, tones muscles and helps to control weight. Additionally, bicycles do not emit poisonous fumes that pollute the air.


Although US stats are still far from European figures, there are some ways that cycling rates can be upped. One of these strategies is to make cycling safe for riders.


Improving visibility

Improving safety begins by making yourself visible to pedestrians, fellow cyclists and motorists. To achieve this, cyclists are urged to wear high visibility clothing by day and reflectorized garments at night. A 2013 study done by Lacherez from the Queensland University of Technology found that bike crashes occurred during low-light conditions with 61% of cyclists attributing drivers’ inattention as the major reason. The study further recommended that cyclists should also add reflective strips to knees and ankles for better visibility.


Rule 59 of the Highway Code in the UK also confirm these, recommending fluorescent clothing in the day or with poor light conditions and reflective gear during the night. Helmets are also part of the safety gear as well as proper shoes and glasses to protect against the glare of sunlight.


The bicycle has to be made visible by attaching LED lights which have fantastic brightness enabling the rider to see better in dark or dusky conditions and to be seen more easily by others. In addition, reflector lights in front and at the back give your ride excellent visibility as well as compliance with existing laws. Rear lights must have reflectors and pedals fitted with four amber reflectors.

Photo courtesy of LEDLights.co.uk

Compliance with Road Regulations

Under international law which was enforced since 1968 (Vienna Convention on Road Traffic), cyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as a motorist. Hence, it is important to respect the rules of the road, show courtesy to other motorists, use hand signals liberally to indicate where you are going or what you intend to do, or use your horn to attract the attention of others who seem distracted.


Following these simple suggestions and staying vigilant and alert while on the road will ensure that you stay safe while cycling.

 

Editor's Note; U.S. law continues to evolve on the rights of cyclists. Just last month, Illinois passed the Dennis law after a judge declared that bicycle is not vehicle and thus not subject to the same rights. Sadly, it took the death of an experienced cyclist, determined relatives, and sponsorship from a state representative to make this law a reality. There is still a long way to go.


For more useful information on riding safely, visit our 4 Tips to Ride More Safely at Night.


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