The leaves are falling from the trees, the temperature is rapidly dropping and Christmas is just around the corner! Yes, it’s that time of year where you put the log burner, on curl up in front of a boxset and wait for Winter to blow over. It doesn’t have to be like this though! Just because it’s got darker doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying being active.
There have been many studies and even more headlines on how the darker months can impact people’s mental and physical health. That’s why it can be so beneficial to keep active at this time of year.
That said, we know there are genuine factors that can deter even the most earnest from getting on the saddle over the winter months.
In our experience and from our daily conversations with customers, we recognise the concerns over safety cyclists can have. But we firmly believe that cycling in the winter can be exhilarating, inspiring and something that should be accessible to all. That’s why we’ve put together some of our top tips for staying safe on your e-bike in the dark…
1. Let there be light
The dark can leave anyone feeling wary about being seen. The truth is though, you’re more visible in the dark with good bike light on than you are in the day without! Cyclists are required by law to have a white light on the front and a red rear light when cycling in the dark. The good news is that all Volt electric bikes come ready-fitted with front lights that illuminate at 30 Lux and rear lights visible from 600 meters away. But you can get extra visibility with additional lights that can clip onto your helmet, bag or clothing.
2. Know your route
Things look different in the dark and it’s easy to miss turnings and road hazards like potholes when on routes with less illumination. Planning and knowing your route in daylight will not only help you identify hazards and obstacles but will also help your confidence when cycling in the dark.
3. Keep away from the edge
It’s easy for a cyclist to drift closer to the path and pedestrian areas, particularly when they feel uneasy or lack confidence. This is often a mistake though and can be more hazardous. The governing body of British Cycling has advised “to ride no less than half a metre from the roadside” Drifting into the zone makes it more likely to hit a drain, potholes or even get caught by some loose baggage of a pedestrian. Even swerving to avoid such obstacles could put you in even greater danger of a collision with a vehicle. Remember, if you’re highly visible and cycling consistently this is still much safer than slowly hugging the curb.
4. Keep it reflective
When it comes to safety it always pays to double down. You’ve got the lights now get the fluorescents! Fluorescent and reflective clothing is a really effective way of making sure you’re seen and will, in turn, increase your confidence on the road. Such items work just as well in the daytime on dull, drizzly days too, making them a really essential piece of kit!
5. Safety in numbers
If you’re a little uneasy about getting on the saddle at night why not ask a friend to venture out with you until you build your confidence up. There’s also a great number of cycling groups on social media that can help you feel more at ease about heading out on your bicycle.
6. Keep it clean
It stands to reason that good maintenance of your e-bike equals good safety. Volt bikes are really simple to maintain and can be serviced at any good local cycle shop. If you go on a particularly muddy ride make sure you clean your e-bike afterwards. A clean and well-serviced bike will go a long way to helping you feel confident on two wheels in the dark.
7. Be Alert!
It sounds obvious but unfortunately, there’s always a few who don’t or won’t take the same safety precautions as everyone else. Keep watch for other cyclists or pedestrians who may not be as visible as they should be. With good common sense and by being alert to hazards, there’s no reason for others to impact your enjoyment of riding at night!
8. Enjoy the ride!
It’s easy and understandable to be nervous about riding in the dark but the more you do it the more you’ll enjoy it. And hopefully, if you follow the tips here you’ll be cycling all the way through to spring!