Not only are lights smart to have and use when bicycling at night or in low-light conditions, but in Hawaiʻi they are also required by law. Hawaiʻi State Law §291C-147 states those bicycling on the road must have a white head light and at least a red rear reflector. In addition to the requirements by law, HBL recommends also having a red rear light (blinking or flashing) for increased visibility, as well as adding reflectors to yourself and your ride.
If it’s the law and it makes cycling safer, you might ask WHY are there people that bike in the dark without proper lights or reflectors? At past Light Up the Night events (see article here) orchestrated by HBL, we asked those receiving our free lights and found a few common answers:
- Had lights at one point, but they were taken/stolen off their bike.
- Didn’t know it was the law, and felt like they could see “good enough”.
- Wasn’t planning to ride in the dark but got caught up at work/school late.
- Couldn’t afford lights.
- Have lights but they ran out of juice.
Active HBL member and long-time advocate of bike safety Chris Tipton was concerned about the people he saw biking at night with no lights. To combat the problem of this unsafe cycling behaviour, Chris took it upon himself to purchase a whole bunch of LED lights to give them away to any unlit cyclists.
If you’re feeling inspired by Chris’ take-action approach and want to see how you can help the community in your neighborhood, feel free to reach out to us at Bicycle@HBL.org!
By educating people and giving out lights, you have the power to help brighten someone’s day (& night), and make our streets safer!
More tips to add to your visibility & cycling safety:
- Lights are just fancy bike weights if they don’t work or run out of juice for your ride. Charge your lights or keep spare batteries with you.
- Occasionally check that your lights & reflectors are clean & free of dirt/dust that could reduce their effectiveness.
- If you can take your lights off easily, remember to do so when parking/leaving your bicycle unattended in a public space, otherwise someone else may do so!
- Using lights at night is essential to see & be seen, but powerful lights can also make a difference when on flashing in the daytime!
- Add reflectors to your bicycle & add them to your person, with a goal of defining your shape as a human on a bicycle (instead of a car or pole).
- Choose brighter clothing when riding at night.
- Take the whole lane when appropriate to improve your visibility to motorists (§291C-145: you are entitled to the road too!).
- Ride alert & predictably (at all times), especially at night or low-light.
Do you have more tips and tricks to make you more visible?