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Old 21.06.2020, 12:13
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Bicycles with no lights at night... increasingly common.

I have cyled for years and of course there have always been some people that rode with no lights at night, but now it seems like over half the people I see on a bike while riding at night do not have any lights on their bike, or if they do have lights they are broken and/or deactivated for whatever reason.

This means that often in badly lit areas you don't see them unti it's too late even when they are coming in a straight line towards you. Around corners or through tunnely it's even worse, and a few times now if it wasn't for some quick reactions either me or the other person would have ended up off the bike.

I really hope the police take a few weeks soon to go on an awareness campaign and station officers at popular spots to give people fines until the message gets around. It's irresponsible and dangerous.

Anyone else noticed a big increase in this lately?

Last edited by Chuff; 22.06.2020 at 09:21. Reason: Typo
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Old 21.06.2020, 12:36
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

It was pretty common in my childhood in Holland. Reason why I never switched it on was that the dynamo used so much additional energy. However, once I got my driving license I realized how dangerous it is. Especially in Switzerland, where drivers are not really used to bicycles, it's pretty dangerous. Also, with modern LED lights there is no reason not to switch the lights on.
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Old 21.06.2020, 12:45
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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It was pretty common in my childhood in Holland. Reason why I never switched it on was that the dynamo used so much additional energy. However, once I got my driving license I realized how dangerous it is. Especially in Switzerland, where drivers are not really used to bicycles, it's pretty dangerous. Also, with modern LED lights there is no reason not to switch the lights on.
Hah yeah I remember the old-skool chunky dynamos... phew those things were like trying to walk through wet concrete.

I actually use the little LED ights from Decathlon that take the batteries, the Vioo 100, they weigh amost nothing and can be deployed in a pinch https://www.decathlon.ch/ch_en/vioo-...en-s15365.html

Last edited by Chuff; 21.06.2020 at 13:27.
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Old 21.06.2020, 13:29
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I often have mine on during the day too in rain or non-perfect visibility.

My modern bike lamps are fantastic: small size, low weight, really bright and you can charge them with a USB charger without a cable.
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Old 21.06.2020, 13:59
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

Interesting that you're noticing it more these days, presumably in cities? There was a time when it was much more common, with relatively expensive, huge chunky lights, often stolen if you left them on the bike, or the aforementioned power-sapping dynamos. Batteries would last for no time and were expensive to replace, so even if you had lights you wouldn't always turn them on in lighted areas.

These days LED lights are so cheap and lightweight there's no excuse whatsoever to not have them on, and safety-consciousness, as evidenced by the preponderance of helmet use, would suggest that cyclists ought to be much more aware of their vulnerability.

So I find it quite surprising, TBH. I haven't cycled in towns for a long time now, so can't comment on whether it's true everywhere, but I do recall times in Basel when the police would have a crackdown on cycles being properly equipped (e.g. with bells, mudguards, etc.) so yeah, surprising.
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Old 21.06.2020, 18:24
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I was going to post about this a while back but never did, so thanks for raising the point.

Not only do I see a lot of bicyclists without any lights, they also don't wear anything reflective. I know it's not mandatory but surely we should do what we can to help make sure cars see us? Lights in front and back can be helpful, but if it's raining, dark, or there is a lot of traffic (or all of these), the tiny lights on bicycles are not foolproof. Many don't even flash.

Back in January I came across an accident where a person on a bicycle had been hit by a car. S/he was dressed all in dark clothes, had a dark helmet and a dark color bike. I have no idea if the bike had lights. The rider had not a stitch of colorful clothing and it was pouring rain and after dark in an area that's not well lit. It's no wonder the car couldn't see the cyclist. I actually didn't see him/her at first either, I saw the reflective ambulance and lights. As the traffic crawled slowly by I saw the nearly invisible figure of the cyclist magically appear as it was loaded from the dark asphalt onto a gleaming white stretcher. I was relieved to see the cyclist moving his/her arms, as that meant he/she was conscious.

While we're at it, pedestrians could do more to be visible too with something colorful at night and in the rain. But it seems winter and rain clothes don't come in bright colors here, or no one bothers to buy them. I always wear a reflective belt at night and my cane has reflective strips on it.
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Old 21.06.2020, 19:03
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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the tiny lights on bicycles are not foolproof. Many don't even flash.
Quite right too. Flashing lights may appear to be more noticeable, but they're not legal in most places, the problem being that they're actually much more difficult to localise than solid lights.

I have a very old pair of incredibly powerful front lights, now converted to LED, powered from a small (1kg) lead-acid battery pack, kicking out around 50W equivalent, which I use if I'm out on unlit roads at night. No way anyone's going to fail to notice me.

I see the company that made them still continues, much updated of course. Maybe I'll invest in a new set at some point... then again, looking at their current prices, maybe I won't.
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Old 21.06.2020, 21:30
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I find this very dangerous too. For this reason, whenever I notice a cyclist at night without lights on, I press the horn for several seconds just when I pass them - hopefully that gets the message across. I don't care if they want to kill themselves, but do not involve me in their craziness.

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I have cyled for years and of course there have always been some people that rode with no lights at night, but now it seems like over half the people I see on a bike while riding at night do not have any lights on their bike, or if they do have lights they are broken and/or deactivated for whatever reason.

This means that often in badly lit areas you don't see them unti it's too late even when they are coming in a straight line towards you. Around corners or through tunnely it's even worse, and a few times now if it wasn't for some quick reactions either me or the other person would have ended up off the bike.

I really hope the police take a few weeks soon to go on an awareness campaign and station officers at popular spots to give people fines until the message gets around. It's irresponsible and dangerous.

Anyone else noticed a big increase in this lately?
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Old 21.06.2020, 21:39
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I find in Switzerland there is generally a pretty good level of compliance by cyclists, with one exception: Stadt Zürich. There most cyclists ride as though the laws do not apply to them and they are protected by some invisible force field. This includes riding without lights at night, disobeying red lights, riding with noise cancelling headphones, salmoning (wrong way on a one way street) and hands-free riding.

I was stopped in the bike lane at a red light once (downhill road) and another cyclist passed me on the inside (less than a meter width to the kerb) at around 40km/h, no lights.

Here I blame in part the fact that they have made it very difficult for cars in the city (no green wave), which in turn makes it difficult for cyclists.
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Old 21.06.2020, 21:40
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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Interesting that you're noticing it more these days, presumably in cities? There was a time when it was much more common, with relatively expensive, huge chunky lights, often stolen if you left them on the bike, or the aforementioned power-sapping dynamos. Batteries would last for no time and were expensive to replace, so even if you had lights you wouldn't always turn them on in lighted areas.

These days LED lights are so cheap and lightweight there's no excuse whatsoever to not have them on, and safety-consciousness, as evidenced by the preponderance of helmet use, would suggest that cyclists ought to be much more aware of their vulnerability.

So I find it quite surprising, TBH. I haven't cycled in towns for a long time now, so can't comment on whether it's true everywhere, but I do recall times in Basel when the police would have a crackdown on cycles being properly equipped (e.g. with bells, mudguards, etc.) so yeah, surprising.
Yeah I live very centrally in Zurich so I guess it's people doing a lot of short journeys, for example to and from the lake, or from a night out etc, and just think: "Meh, it will be fine". Until it isn't.

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I find this very dangerous too. For this reason, whenever I notice a cyclist at night without lights on, I press the horn for several seconds just when I pass them - hopefully that gets the message across. I don't care if they want to kill themselves, but do not involve me in their craziness.
I just say "licht bitte!" loudly. Usually I get "Naja" as a response, or very rarely (like twice, ever) guys stop their bike and ask what my problem is, and I just stop and calmly explain it to them. There's not much they can say when you are reasonable and they just ride off muttering.
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Old 21.06.2020, 22:05
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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salmoning
Now I have a word for what I have been practicising for years

Lights; yes, no excuses these days; it it so you can be seen . It is actually better for the cyclist's own vision to have no lights on during summer evenings - your eyes adjust to the gloom.
The real problem is petrol driven cars, the sooner they are banned from city centers the better.
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Old 21.06.2020, 22:12
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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I find in Switzerland there is generally a pretty good level of compliance by cyclists, with one exception: Stadt Zürich. There most cyclists ride as though the laws do not apply to them and they are protected by some invisible force field. This includes riding without lights at night, disobeying red lights, riding with noise cancelling headphones, salmoning (wrong way on a one way street) and hands-free riding.

I was stopped in the bike lane at a red light once (downhill road) and another cyclist passed me on the inside (less than a meter width to the kerb) at around 40km/h, no lights.

Here I blame in part the fact that they have made it very difficult for cars in the city (no green wave), which in turn makes it difficult for cyclists.
Salmoning; where has this word been all my life?

Yup as for the rest, in Stadt Zürich people do indeed seem quite relaxed on most cyclig and road safety rules if they think they won't get caught...
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Old 21.06.2020, 22:15
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

Seems to apply to many cyclists around here too sadly. Went to Bern last week and saw several cyclists merrily going through red lights.
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Old 21.06.2020, 22:25
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I was going to make a post like this last fall / winter when it was dark and wet. Who on earth thinks that it is ok to ride around in conditions like those without lights?

Dan made fun of me when I bought a vest with built-in LED lights front and back. I only wear it in the worst conditions, but I figure that every bit helps, especially since my commute crosses Basel from one side to the other.

As for lights, I have USB chargeable, and a back up light in case one dies along the way. I like to think that I take bicycle commuting seriously.
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Old 21.06.2020, 23:06
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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I find this very dangerous too. For this reason, whenever I notice a cyclist at night without lights on, I press the horn for several seconds just when I pass them - hopefully that gets the message across. I don't care if they want to kill themselves, but do not involve me in their craziness.
That's a very irresponsible and idiotic behavior. Do you really believe that blowing the horn is the gobally understood signal for "turn your lights" on?
Maybe the bicycle rider's dynamo just broke, maybe the lights were stolen, maybe they ran out of batteries. You don't know. But scaring the bicycle rider and potentially causing them to fall is alright in your book?
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Old 21.06.2020, 23:18
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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Salmoning; where has this word been all my life?
Credit for this goes to the blogger nycbikesnob :-)
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Old 21.06.2020, 23:56
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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...Anyone else noticed a big increase in this lately?
Not particularly. But what I have noticed is more bikes on the roads, clearly ridden by idiots who haven’t been on a bike for 20+ years, but felt that COVID was just the right point to get back on the bike without realising that a lot has changed in 20 years.

First weekend post lockdown was the worst. F$#kwits.

/rant
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Old 22.06.2020, 00:39
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

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I find this very dangerous too. For this reason, whenever I notice a cyclist at night without lights on, I press the horn for several seconds just when I pass them - hopefully that gets the message across. I don't care if they want to kill themselves, but do not involve me in their craziness.
Please don't do this. If you honked it me, I would be scared thinking I am on the wrong lane. Someday something bad will happen and you will be liable for it.
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Old 22.06.2020, 09:11
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

In Basel, where I lived for a number of years, they were very strict and police would regularly sit in blackened out parks to catch you without the right equipment. I was on my way home one evening and hadn't realized my back light went out while riding. A woman nearly caused a crash to stop and chew me out, I had no idea what her problem was until I got home.

However in Zurich (especially in the city center) and Bern, they don't seem to care at all. These idiots ruin it for the rest of us and I wish they would control it more strictly.
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Old 22.06.2020, 09:48
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Re: Bicycles with no lights at night... incresaingly common.

I commute into Zürich by bike with a Cycliq-12, basically a dashcam for bikes. Legal grey area I know, but some of the things I've recorded other cyclists doing is mind-boggling.
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