Cascade Bicycle Club and SDOT are giving away 420 bike lights at three Seattle locations December 9. Now that it is dark for so much of the day, having lights is one of the best things you can do to help drivers (and people walking and biking) see you.
It’s encouraging that enough people are using bright lights that Bike Portland has raised the question of whether some lights are too bright. I am personally not a fan of the super-bright front strobe. It is disorienting, especially on a bike path. But I would much rather discuss lights being too bright than people not having lights at all.
I have ridden at night without lights before, and I felt much more visible than I really was. I have a vivid memory from several years ago in St. Louis. I approached a four-way stop and arrived before a driver did. I looked right at him, and he looked at me. I thought we had made eye contact, so I proceeded through the intersection. Then he went, too, and we came inches from colliding. When I looked back, he had a look of pure astonishment on his face, and I realized that even though he looked right at me, I was invisible to him. The intersection had no streetlight, and I was dressed in dark colors.
Now, I am not one to give drivers much leeway when they hit people either walking or biking. It is their responsibility to make extra sure the way is clear and safe before proceeding. However, there is no reason for me to make that difficult for them (plus, you are legally required to have at least a front light). It’s in your best interest to be lit well. If you have friends who are chronically light-free, encourage them to go to this giveaway (or go out today and buy them a light set as a gift).
Thursday, Dec. 9, 4 – 6 p.m.
Thanks to Seattle Department of Transportation’s Bike Smart program, Cascade will light up December by giving away 420 bike light sets, first come, first served. Come find us at one of the following locations (look for the Cascade banners) to get your free light:
- Burke-Gilman Trail between University Way and Brooklyn Ave in the U-District.
- Entrance to the Elliott Bay Trail at Broad Street and Alaskan Way.
- Jose Rizal Bridge at 12th Ave and Sturgus Ave (start of the I-90 trail)
Come early and bring your friends!