I don’t cycle using my own bicycle as much as I used to, and although I now use the Boris Bikes a fair bit when in the center of town, I do recall some of the basic principles of cycling at night.
My bike has a rear red light, and like most people it is a muted flashing red light as it is known that this is more visible to the motorists coming up from behind.
However, my front light is a single static bulb.
Like the forward facing lights on all motor vehicles, its primary function is to illuminate the road ahead for the purposes of my safety.
My front white light bulb does not blink in the same way as the rear light does – because that would be stupid, wouldn’t it?
Yet, there seems over the past few years to have been a surge in cyclists using flashing front facing lights – and I was particuarly reminded of this last Friday.
I took a wander along the Regents Canal in the evening, and despite the attempts of some cyclists to demand that I almost leap into the canal at some points to let them “retain ownership of the path”, it was a pleasent enough walk.
However, the main problem was that approaching cyclists were coming towards me, not with a single light aimed at the uneven path, but aimed directly at the people they are approaching, and flashing at them.
I find flashing lights uncomfortable at the best of times, but on a dark path, to have often remarkably bright flashing light aimed directly at my face seemed not only bloody stupid, but also utterly pointless. Unless the point is to induce an epileptic fit in the pedestrians?
Dear cyclists, if you will insist on having flashing lights, please use them to illuminate the ground in front of you – and don’t use them to blind the pedestrians on the paths you might be sharing.
Approaching a suddenly blinded pedestrian who now can’t see what is going on around them isn’t going to make your trip any safer.