Plentiful and bright, street lights make it easy to ride after dark on city streets. But equipping your bike with front and rear lights isn’t always about seeing the road in front of you, it’s also about being seen by others. Capital Bikeshare bikes have lights built in, but you can use these tips with your own bike and to help other bicyclists be seen at night:
1. DC, Maryland and Virginia laws require white front lights on all bikes. A rear red light and/or red reflector is also required.
2. It never hurts to add more lights to your bike or to your bag/helmet!
3. If you are riding on an off-street trail (such as the Mount Vernon Trail) without overhead lighting, you may need to invest in a headlamp or other powerful light to illuminate the trail.
4. You can supplement your lights with brightly colored clothing and retro-reflective material on your helmet, gloves, legbands, and jacket.
5. Lights can keep you visible even during the day, and they’re especially helpful in the dawn/dusk, as well as in the rain.
6. Remember to pack extra batteries for longer rides! (Also, batteries drain faster in the cold.)
This is just one tip for safer cycling, but the the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is a wellspring of more useful information. Make them your go-to resource for safety tips, bike classes, events and more at waba.org.