Don’t be left in the dark now that Daylight Savings Time has ended
It is 4:45 in the afternoon, and the sun is already setting. With the ending of Daylight Savings Time on Nov. 6, nighttime has been extended from 10 hours to roughly 14 hours as the winter season approaches. Why is this change significant to Davis? The answer is not hard to find and lies just about anywhere you turn: bikes.
As a quick reminder, the California Vehicle Code Section 21201 states that all bicycles should be equipped with a white light that illuminates a distance of 300 feet in front and on the sides of the bicycle. A red reflector must be visible from the rear. White or yellow reflectors must be visible from the pedals or the bicyclist’s foot gear. Reflectors must also be visible from the sides of the bicycle — white or yellow on the front tire and a red or white reflector on the back tire.
It’s important to keep these measures in mind, as they ensure that the cyclist is the most visible when there is hardly any light on the roads.
Davis neighborhoods contain certain hazards themselves despite the number of bike paths available. Some neighborhoods lack street lights which make objects such as piles of leaves difficult to see on bike lanes. Drivers can also be unaware of oncoming cyclists and unintentionally open their car doors, causing cyclists to run into the door of the vehicle.
Of course, having bike lights can prevent some of these incidents from occurring. Bob Bowen, public relations manager and U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame president, knows the importance of bike safety after years of cycling experience.
“Safety is paramount,” Bowen said. “Sometimes folks that don’t have a lot of experience riding bikes, or even those who do, feel that it won’t happen to them. Unfortunately people, especially in the dark, may be distracted; they may be checking their texts illegally, they may be looking down, may be in the dark the cyclist doesn’t have a reflector or reflectorized clothing. For whatever reason, if you have a bike versus automobile collision, the cyclist is going to be the one that suffers the most.”
Although Unitrans offers transportation year-round, many students still prefer their two-wheeled form of transportation despite the lack of sunlight and the wet weather. Bowen advises purchasing the brightest bike one can afford.
“If you are going on a bike path that has little lighting, you want something that is going to be able to illuminate the path in front of you if you are on an illuminated street you want the lamp to be on a flashing mode so you can call attention to yourself and people can see you coming,” Bowen said.
Bowen said that if there is concern over getting bike lights stolen, removable bike lights are always an alternative option, which can be stored away when not in use.
In addition to bike lights, there are other procedures that cyclists can take for safer riding during these darker months. Bowen suggested bikers wear light-colored clothing or reflectorized clothing, attach reflectors to backpacks or anything that the cyclists might be wearing and also wear a helmet.
“Do not take the right of way, even if it is yours, because some people may not be paying attention, and don’t drive out in front of people assuming they are watching because they may not,” Bowen said.
Fewer hours of daylight should not get in the way of enjoying the countless miles of bike paths that Davis offers. Biking with bright lighting will protect both students’ wallets from a fine and the health of students in general.
Written By: Dianna Rivera — firstname.lastname@example.org