On any given evening commute, I might encounter 5-10 bicyclists without lights or reflective gear of any kind on their bike or person. It’s plainly obvious how easily motorists might lose sight of these non-lighted bicyclists among the chaos of automobile lights, traffic signals, and signs that assault their visual field.
Studies have shown that a majority of fatal collisions involving bicyclists occur between the hours of 6pm-9pm. I’m not surprised. Unfortunately, most of these bicyclists without lights appear to be “non-enthusiast” (for lack of a better term), so it’s unlikely they have access to the information or resources necessary to ride safely.
Over the past few years, a number of bicycle advocacy groups and city governments have initiated free bike light programs; examples include Portland’s Shift and Police Bureau programs, New York DOT’s bike light giveaway, the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates’ “Light On” program, and Chicago’s “Share the Road” giveaway.
I believe this is an important issue that warrants the attention of any organization interested in promoting bicycle safety.