Brighten Up Your Community
This blog is written by Carly Adams at the League of American Bicyclists
The end of Daylight Saving Time can do more than give you a case of the winter blues. When it gets dark earlier in the evening, commuters are at increased risk of getting in a crash, especially if they are not equipped with the proper gear to heighten visibility. A number of our 2018 Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) awardees, including Gold-level University of Kentucky and Harvard University are doing their part to promote safe riding in concurrence with the end of Daylight Saving Time.
The CommuterChoice Program at Harvard University, hosts its annual “Bling Your Bike” event for students, faculty, staff and the community to decorate their bike gear with reflective materials. Cassidy Drasser, CommuterChoice Program Coordinator explains, “The goal of the event is to increase awareness about being visible at night, especially in the winter months as the days get shorter and the nights get longer.” The BFU went so far as to bling-up a skateboard, scooter, cane, stroller and even a dog collar!
The University of Kentucky (UK), hosts one campus outreach event each month. In November, UK’s “Light Up the Night” takes place around the end of Daylight Saving Time. “It’s a campaign to make cyclists aware of the need to see and be seen at night, especially since it gets dark so much earlier in the last few weeks of the semester,” says Sandra Broadus, Alternative Transportation Manager at the University of Kentucky. Students and faculty are encouraged to attend the event with their bike decked out in lights. Attendees are then invited to join a group ride around campus, highlighting the bicycling paths and promoting safety awareness.
Light giveaways are an easy way to promote safety and strengthen campus and community relationships. Planet Bike has provided lights to many organizations for light giveaways and has compiled best practices, including where to get funding, how to work with the police and general logistics. Here are a few key tips:
Planet Bike’s Tips for Hosting a Light Giveaway:
1. Give lights away at dusk. As the sun goes down, it’s easier to see who needs lights — and easier for those who need lights to see that they need them.
2. Give away a set of front and rear lights. Both lights are important for safety.
3. Mount the lights on bikes, don’t just hand them over. Then the lights are on the bike, not in someone’s backpack or drawer. While installing the lights, you also get the chance to discuss bicycle safety and advocacy in your community. Consider handing out informative materials, bike maps, and other resources.
4. Always show people how to take off the lights in order to prevent theft. It’s the #1 reason lights go missing.