Daylight savings time has generated a lot of controversy and confusion for Portland residents. While the state has passed legislation mandating daylight savings time year round, residents will still need to ‘fall back’ once more on November first. This means it will be getting dark shortly after 5:00 p.m. In addition to creating hazards for motorists, this significantly increases bicycle accident risks. To prepare for the change, be aware of the potential dangers and follow our night time cycling safety tips.
Bicycle Accident Risks Increase After Dark
With the passage of Oregon Senate Bill 320 in April 2019, the state would remain in daylight savings time year round. However, the bill still needs to be approved by Congress, which means Portland residents will need to again ‘fall back’ an hour on November 1 at 2:00 a.m. In addition to the inconvenience, this creates serious hazards on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) warns night time is particularly dangerous for bicyclists, increasing their chances of being in a serious and potentially life-threatening bicycle accident by more than ten percent. Dangerous driving behaviors on the part of motorists that are often to blame include:
- Speeding and going too fast for conditions;
- Running red lights and stop signs;
- Weaving in and out of bicycle lanes;
- Opening car doors in areas with on-street parking without checking for bicyclists first;
- Failure to yield at intersections;
- Driving distracted or under the influence.
Safety Tips to Prevent Night Time Bicycle Accidents
While you cannot control the behavior of other motorists, increasing your visibility can help reduce your bicycle accident risks. To protect against bicycle accidents in Portland after dark, take some additional safety precautions. REI recommends the following:
- Light up your bike. A handlebar light can help to illuminate the road in front of you while tail lights help to alert motorists that you are in their path. A helmet light increases your overall field of vision and helps you see what is alongside you while riding at night.
- Avoid flashing lights. While you want to increase your visibility, be aware that glare can be blinding for drivers. If you have flashing lights on your bike, avoid using them after dark and around other motorists.
- Make yourself more visible. Using reflective tape on helmets and jackets while choosing light, bright colors make you more visible to other road users.
- Perform important bike maintenance tasks. Keeping your bicycle well-maintained reduces breakdowns and decreases your overall bicycle accident risks.
- Ride with a buddy. If possible, avoid riding alone at night. If you must, let someone know your itinerary.
- Choose your route carefully. Avoid dark roads and traffic-congested highways. Pick routes that are the most bike-friendly.
Let Us Help You Today
At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we help you get the compensation you need to recover when bicycle accidents happen. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland bicycle accident attorneys online today.