This time of year SEEMS more dangerous to the bicycle commuter, but if you are well-lit then I think it might be safer. I really look forward to this time of year and enjoy riding at night. I am well-lit though. It surely seems like the darkness provides a good backdrop for a well-lit cyclist, while daylight can actually hide you in the “visual noise” of traffic. I have a headlight and several tail lights along with spoke lights. I actually feel safer in traffic than I do on the bike trails at this time of year. Darkness on the bike trail adds to the dangers there in my opinion.
I do not find the bike trail SAFER at night. It feels MORE dangerous. It is just a different kind of danger on the trail, but maybe the same kind of danger too. The same kind of danger insofar the danger IS other HUMANS and their behavior. Humans out in the greenspaces at night can be looking for “prey”. A well-off cyclist can be taken down with some fishing line or a well-placed branch at a corner.
The bike trail is beautiful at night, but I really do prefer the certitude I feel in traffic. In traffic at night, I feel CERTAIN most people do not want to hurt me, but I feel that less so on the bike trail at night. Though, there are dangers from the humans out here, too, unexpected dangers! Like the sudden appearance of the dreaded NINJA SALMON.
Let me explain, “Salmon” cyclists are cyclists riding against traffic. “Ninja” cyclists are those who ride unlit, so I call them “Ninja Salmon”. The urban dictionary concurs. Veterans of the street know the Ninja Salmon can pop-up anywhere and often at the most inconvenient times.
There you are pedaling along trying to avoid potholes, people opening their car doors, and various other traffic obstacles. Your attention has to be sharp. You tend to be watching things in the near future. Most of those obstacles are fairly stationary, so you can calculate the amount of time/distance to look into the future. However, the salmon is riding AT YOU and closing the gap at double what you are expecting.
After my recent encounter with a Ninja Salmon, I felt obligated to put up a podcast on the subject. It is such a stupid thing to do, riding at night without lights. It is even harder to imagine adding to the idiocy by riding against traffic. However, never ever underestimate the stupidity of your fellow humans…NEVER. You just are not expecting that kind of foolishness, but humans are capable of lots of bad decisions. They have ever amazed me.
In this video, I am able to give you a good view of the Ninja Salmon in the wild. Beware of the Ninja Salmon! Riding against traffic and without lights, the Ninja Salmon can be a serious threat as you are trying to navigate the normal obstacles and dangers of traffic.
It's the season. Be wary of the Ninja Salmon. They can kill you!