It’s critical to be adequately equipped when riding your ebike at night, whether on city streets, unlit routes, or off-road.
There are obvious measures to take, such as using lights. Still, you can also do other things to make nighttime riding safer and more enjoyable. Below are the additional tips to adhere to while riding at night.
Use Proper Lighting
Cycling to work in the city necessitates a different set of lights than riding on dark country lanes or off-road. If your route has enough street lighting, the lights you need on your bike are primarily for making sure you’re visible to other road users. However, on dark roads or pitch-black trails, lights must illuminate the road or path before you.
Also, as by law, you must have a front white light and a rear red light when riding at hours between dusk and dawn.
If you’re biking along dark country lanes, you’ll need a different lighting arrangement than if you’re biking in a city. You may need a combination of lights if you’re biking in both.
It’s also worthwhile to have various lighting. For example, if you’re biking on the road, use one flashing light to warn other drivers and the different constant lights to illuminate your path. Continuous light is also more accessible for approaching vehicles to judge distance than a flickering light; thus, a second rear light is beneficial.
Avoid Blinding Approaching Automobiles with Your Light Beam
The beams of certain high-powered front lights are brighter than those of automobile headlights. Be conscious of the dazzling effect that strong lights can have on others, and make sure that your beam of light is focused towards the road surface to prevent blinding motorists.
The beam pattern of some road-specific lights is designed to prevent blinding other road users. So if you have an off-road-ready front light, it’s best to turn it down. Better yet, you can set it to a flashing mode if you’ll be on the road for an extended period. That will also save your battery.
Have Reserve Lights
Before leaving at night, make sure your lights are fully juiced up, and choose a light option that will allow you to complete your journey safely. Keep in mind that manufacturer-stated run times aren’t always correct.
As we’ve already discussed, having a second front and rear light is beneficial. We say this because it means you can operate the lights on a lower power setting than your primary lights to extend battery life. This way, you will have a backup to fall to avoid being stranded if a light dies or develops issues.
Once your eyes adjust to the darkness, it’s OK to dim your lights on less challenging terrain or where there is street illumination. That leaves the brightest levels for rough trail areas or unlit highways.
If you aim to do much night riding, a dynamo front wheel and light set would be worth investing in so you’re not reliant on battery power. In addition, a modern dynamo hub is highly efficient and produces very little drag.
Cycle Where You Can Be Seen
It’s not only a matter of turning on your headlights to improve your visibility on the road at night. Drivers, on the whole, are gazing ahead, so make sure you’re in their line of vision.
This entails cycling a short distance from the road - around 70cm to 1m. You’ll also be able to avoid the worst of the side-of-the-road hazards, such as potholes and drainage covers.
Ride With Care
This might sound cliché to you, but it’s essential. If you are a newbie to night-riding or venturing into unfamiliar grounds, riding with care is paramount for your safety. In addition, it allows you to get the hang of your surroundings.
Keep an eye out for dangers like slick leaves and try as much as possible to stick to known road courses or use better-lit paths. In the dark, it’s also easier to hit hidden objects. Even if you’re familiar with the route, it will appear drastically different at night. So don’t set yourself too high a goal and don’t attempt to thrash it.
If you’re biking with others, make sure there’s enough distance between you and the cyclist ahead of you. That way, your light doesn’t cast shadows in front of them, making it challenging for them to see. Also, avoid blinding the cyclist behind you with an overpowered rear light if you’re riding in a pack.
A white front reflector, a red rear reflector, and pedal reflectors are also required by law. According to studies, adding reflectors on your pedals or ankles will make you stand out more. The reason is that other drivers will see the oval movement of your pedal strokes. So, when shopping for ebike lights, keep this in mind: do they provide any side visibility?
At nightfall, reflective gear is more visible than high-visibility clothing. In addition, reflective piping on your clothing, particularly your gloves, will make you and your hand gestures more visible to others. Furthermore, other than having reflectors, ensure you are visible from side-on.
You don’t need one reminding you that it’ll be cooler at night, so make sure you’re wearing clothes that are appropriate for the weather.
Investing in good winter cycling gear will make a significant difference if you want to ride consistently throughout the colder months. Even on a hot summer night, it may become chilly. Still, a ride in near-zero temperatures in the winter can be horrible if you don’t have the proper gear.
To keep your extremities warm, switch to full-finger winter gloves, tights, and thick socks. Even if you don’t anticipate rain, mist or fog will cool you, bring water-resistant outer layers. If rain is expected, a good waterproof jacket is a must.
Make Sure Someone Is Informed Of Your Whereabouts
Let someone know where you’re going and how long you plan on being gone, particularly if you’re going off-road. There are significantly fewer individuals out at night, especially if you’re going off the main road, to see if you have a mechanical fault or are hurt.
Whoever coined that adage, “it’s better to be safe than sorry,” knew what he was on about. So be mindful of your surroundings and never let having fun get in the way of being safe. So observe these safety tips and thoroughly enjoy riding your ebike at night!