Two Wheels, by Rob Archer, November 7, 2014

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It’s that time of year again. The swallows are long gone and the sky is full of the calls of geese and redwings, here for the winter. It’s mild enough to sit outside and have lunch (yes, even in Lynn) but it’s dark by tea time!

That other winter species is also much in evidence – the lightless wonder. Just on the short walk home from South Lynn this evening I saw three unlit cyclists.

One of them was riding round the Southgates roundabout – something I’m nervous of doing even lit up like a Christmas tree.

There’s no excuse for it guys (and it is usually young males).

A set of perfectly good ‘be seen’ lights is less than a tenner in most of the discount stores in town.

It’s the law that a cycle should have a red light at the rear and a white one at the front.

If you venture out on a bike at night without lights you’re an idiot and give anyone who rides a bike a bad name – even the majority who do light up.

A major part of staying safe on the road is being visible.

When a cyclist is hit by a car, the driver often tries to get off the hook by claiming they didn’t see them.

Don’t give dozy drivers a get-out clause.

As an aside though, I do find it strange when I hear people complaining about how many unlit cyclists they see – very odd if they’re that invisible!

One of the hazards of cycling at night, particularly outside town, is the risk of being dazzled by drivers who don’t dip their headlights.

Some drivers are simply not alert enough to see even a well-lit cyclist and, unbelievably, some selfish people don’t think they need to dip for a cyclist.

They’d soon realise the consequences when the blinded cyclist swerves in front of their car.

By reaction, an increasing number of cyclists are using ultra-high-powered lights. In some cases they cost hundreds of pounds but are brighter than many car headlamps. T

hey’re intended to light the darkest roads but unfortunately some cyclists are taking an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ attitude and angling them so as to dazzle anyone else on the road.

It’s counterproductive, as a blinded driver is far more dangerous than a cyclist who can’t see.

Equally irritating are those eyeball-searing rear lights.

A rear light needs to be clearly visible a couple of hundred metres away – not kilometres. It’s extremely unpleasant to find yourself riding behind one of these and can make it difficult to see anything else. So this autumn, get lit up – but don’t go over the top!