The Chainlink

I mean I can't see you as I'm riding, cars have enough trouble "seeing" us and it's not that expensive.
Front and rear cat eye lights $30 I really don't want to be in (another) bike on bike accident.


#2 see if you can get the tax credit for biking to work http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/bicycle-commuter-credits.php


So far I've had 2 employers who didn't want to give me $20 that the govt' gives them but if enough push for it maybe, just maybe.

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I counted the number of cars without headlights on weekend nights, for several weeks in a row. Last weekend and this summer. I rode on mostly the same streets (Milwaukee and Halsted) for 4-8 miles and found there to always be a minimum of 4 people driving cars without lights on (brake lights always turn on when braking, though).


Dr. Doom said:
I always carry a Knog or a cheap headlamp in my saddlebag for exactly this reason. And I think the comparison to driving is exactly right. If your car's headlights went out you wouldn't dream of driving it. Same should be true of bikes.
Yes they ARE invisible -as is anything moving around (or stopped) at night on the roads if they don't have lights.

The roads are lit up enough to see where you are going without lights -but others CAN NOT SEE YOU if you don't have a light.

You must have a LOT better night vision than I (and the majority of people -many have even worse vision than me). If a bicyclist (or any other road user like a car or a motorcycle) is driving/riding around at night on the mean streets without a light and just EXPECTING other people to see them without a light as far as I'm concerned they are just trying out for a Darwin Award.

Invisible -> not visible enough to reliably discern.

I'm going to continue calling any bike out there without a light "invisible" until they clue up and get lit.

T.C. O'Rourke said:
Some thoughts in no particular order:


5) Can we please, please stop using the phrase “invisible cyclist”? While lights certainly help visibility, Chicago streets are pretty damn lit. 80% of the problem here is inattentive motorists expecting only other motor-vehicles and the need to protect oneself from them. Unlit cyclists are hardly a danger to society.
I agree that people actually can be invisible. South Side streets tend to be a bit worse lit and I frequently come across cyclists I literally don't see until they're within a few feet of me while tooling around at night in and around Hyde Park. This is also a problem on the lakefront, where I've actually had to go into a controlled crash to avoid inattentive ninja cyclists coming at me in my lane a couple of times.

Other points: I carry a spare white and red light in the saddlebag so as not to run down the batteries, and I'm truly stunned that so many people would be driving without lights, though I suppose I shouldn't be.
After spending some dough on lights, I was amazed to discover REALLY STRONG red and white lights at OSCO in the JEWELL for .99 cents each!!!
Another reason to carry them off the bike is because of the shrinkage* issue that is a problem with accessories left on a bike while it is left unattended and locked outside.

Dr. Doom said:

Other points: I carry a spare white and red light in the saddlebag so as not to run down the batteries.

* Shrinkage is just another euphemism for THEFT, for those of you who don't work in corporate america and are not familiar with corporate-speak buzzwords.
I had a guy riding on the wrong side of the road one and with no lights of course. He seemed pissed when I almost slammed into him, running him off the road into a ditch... My bad >.>
Main streets are well lit. Side streets on the other hand are not, or the tree cover blocks lighting.

Coming home one night, I was going east on my street and didn't see a lightless rider until he was going through the intersection in front of me.

Think about how less visible cars are when they are driving with their lights off. Same applies to cyclists.

T.C. O'Rourke said:
Some thoughts in no particular order:

1) I see Todd’s doubling up on lights and raise him one. Three front and rear is best, miner-style.

2) You need a spare light, why carry it in your saddlebag? Put it on your bike.

3) I use 4 cheap little planet bike blinkies on the front of my basket bike. $32 and people look at me like I’m flying a UFO.

4) I buy watch batteries in bulk. Ordering a few other items to for free shipping and you’re at $0.25 each, vs. $3-$5 each at Wal-Drug.

5) Can we please, please stop using the phrase “invisible cyclist”? While lights certainly help visibility, Chicago streets are pretty damn lit. 80% of the problem here is inattentive motorists expecting only other motor-vehicles and the need to protect oneself from them. Unlit cyclists are hardly a danger to society.
It's unsafe for a car to drive without lights down a "well-lit" main street during night-time hours and they are BIG and much easier to see on the road compared to a comparatively tiny bike (which may or may not be exactly where other road users expect to find objects moving on the street -like going the wrong way or nearer to the edge of the pavement). If it is unsafe for a big easy-to-see shiny car to drive around at night without lights it is even more unsafe and hard to spot a bike.

The main streets are lit well enough to see where you are going -not to see EVERY car and bike moving on them. A tiny blinky LED in front and in back goes a LONG way to being seen by cars. Like you said, the streets are lit well enough to see where you are going and avoid the potholes. Seeing the other vehicles reliably requires them to be marked by lights that make them conspicuous. It only takes ONE person to miss seeing a bike for them to get hit. Never trust that everyone else on the road has as good of night vision as you.



Tank-Ridin' Ryan said:
Main streets are well lit. Side streets on the other hand are not, or the tree cover blocks lighting.
I agree. Inattentive drivers are a huge problem, but riding without lights makes things orders of magnitudes worse. I hate, hate, hate cyclists without lights. If I hit them with my bike, well, it will probably be ok. If I hit them while driving, f*ck. I just killed someone. Throw in the noticeable (in my opinion) correlation that lightless riders tend to be the ones that blow through stop lights and you are just waiting for an accident.



James Baum said:
Yes they ARE invisible -as is anything moving around (or stopped) at night on the roads if they don't have lights.

The roads are lit up enough to see where you are going without lights -but others CAN NOT SEE YOU if you don't have a light.

You must have a LOT better night vision than I (and the majority of people -many have even worse vision than me). If a bicyclist (or any other road user like a car or a motorcycle) is driving/riding around at night on the mean streets without a light and just EXPECTING other people to see them without a light as far as I'm concerned they are just trying out for a Darwin Award.

Invisible -> not visible enough to reliably discern.

I'm going to continue calling any bike out there without a light "invisible" until they clue up and get lit.

T.C. O'Rourke said:
Some thoughts in no particular order:


5) Can we please, please stop using the phrase “invisible cyclist”? While lights certainly help visibility, Chicago streets are pretty damn lit. 80% of the problem here is inattentive motorists expecting only other motor-vehicles and the need to protect oneself from them. Unlit cyclists are hardly a danger to society.
Boy do I have egg on my face.

I did a little research and it turns out invisible cyclists DO exist. And they ARE a danger to the public!
Until he got hit by a car...



chrisc927 said:
I knew it! For years an invisible dog ate my school homework.
I saw some people handing out lights on the wells & lincoln corner the other night.

In other news, Boston is cracking down on riders without lights, they will apparently be handing out tickets starting tonight:

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?696161-Boston-finally-seri...!

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