Be Bright at Night; Be Seen, Be Safe
Members of Road Safety Wales are reminding pedestrians, runners and cyclists that being easily seen by drivers is especially important at this time of year.
Although the UK has one of the best road safety records in the world,* sadly 249 pedestrians and 138 cyclists were killed or seriously injured on Welsh roads in 2014**. Everyone needs to play their part in keeping themselves and others safe.
With the fashion for black and dark clothes, it can be difficult to buy a coat that is light in colour, but simple things such as carrying a white carrier bag could make all the difference to your visibility. If you prefer your safety equipment a little more high tech then it is possible to buy flashing light armbands, bag accessories and children’s shoes.
Mobile phones and other electronic devices can be a dangerous distraction for all road users, however, a mobile phone has a built in safety device that you may not have considered. Carrying your phone so that the lit screen can be seen by oncoming drivers, is an easy way of helping motorists spot you in the dark, particularly in rural or poorly lit areas.
Of course, wearing or carrying fluorescent materials during the day and reflective materials at night are an option too, and many retailers now sell these items quite cheaply.
With the advent of new technology comes bicycle lights that are cheap to buy, and brighter than ever, and many cycling accessories come with inbuilt reflective strips that react to car headlights. The Highway Code is clear that if you are riding a bicycle at night you must have a white front and red rear light lit. Your bike must also have a red rear reflector, and amber pedal reflectors. White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen.
Drivers too need to play their part by reading the road ahead and anticipating potential hazards. Drive at a speed that allows you to stop in the distance you can see to be clear, and give cyclists and, where there is no footpath, pedestrians plenty of space when overtaking.
Susan Storch, Chair of Road Safety Wales, said “All road users have a right to use the road, but they also have the responsibility of sharing the road space safely. Making sure you can be seen by other road users makes sense, and is essential at this time of year, when light levels are poor and weather conditions can change visibility in seconds.”