Use Lights and High-Visibility Clothing

28 Mar 2023
“Road users that cannot be easily seen by others, put themselves in a lot of danger,” says DEKRA accident researcher Luigi Ancona. In Germany, for example, of the around 84,000 cyclists who were involved in an accident in 2021, more than one in every five had one at dusk or in the dark. “The onset of dusk is a dangerous time for cyclists,” according to Ancona. This is because as the light contrast reduces, the narrow silhouette of two-wheeled vehicles means they are less easy to distinguish among other vehicles and harder for car drivers to see. This effect is further intensified in cloudy, foggy weather, when the contrast is relatively low even in daylight.
The visibility of cyclists without lights additionally decreases drastically as soon as other vehicles switch on their lights, or other light sources come into play, such as street lamps or neon signs. “Against the background of such lighting, unlit objects offer little contrast and are easily overlooked. It is very risky to cycle without lights in conditions such as these,” warns the accident expert. It is not sufficient that the cyclists themselves can still see well enough – it is just as important that others can see them clearly too, without fail.
“As vulnerable road users without the protection of a crumple zone, it is very important for cyclists to stand out at all times. This means putting lights on early and, on cloudy days, using lights all day long,” explains Ancona. High-intensity LED lights and additional reflectors on the spokes have proven effective for front and rear lighting. Bike reflectors and reflective strips on tires should be cleaned regularly to ensure that they are always visible. Wearing eye-catching cycling jackets and helmet covers in neon colors with retroreflective details, or simply a high-visibility vest, is also recommended.