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It’s officially the end of British Summer Time (BST) and the clocks go back on Sunday (31 October 2021). Unfortunately, at this time of year when the darker nights set in, the number of accidents on our roads increases.
Research by the RAC Foundation confirms that road traffic accidents increase by 19% in the fortnight after putting the clocks back one hour from BST to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), and they reduce by 11% when we put the clocks forward onto BST.
Here are seven top tips from specialist personal injury solicitor Zoe Morgan on how to cycle safely when it’s dark.
- Use your lights – you may have got out of the habit of checking your lights are in working order and using them in the mornings and evenings. Remember there is a legal minimum requirement for cycling when it’s dark – one front white light and one rear red light, plus the reflectors you should already have on your bicycle.
- Be bright, be seen – make sure you can be seen by other road users. Wear brightly coloured, high-vis clothing so that you stand out on dark mornings or at night. Colourful, reflective clothing is also useful on those rainy or foggy days.
- Check your bike is in good working condition – trying to fix your bike in the dark isn’t easy and can put you at risk. Regular maintenance checks, fitting winter tyres, making sure your tyres are pumped up regularly and checking for damage will reduce your chances of breaking down in the road.
- Cycle where you are more visible – Ride your bike so that you can be seen by drivers. This may mean riding a little way out of the edge of the road to make sure you are in drivers’ field of vision.
- Plan your route – It might be a good idea to think about changing your regular route so that you are cycling on well-lit roads or paths during the winter months. If you are trying out new routes, consider testing them during the daytime so that you are more familiar with the layout.
- Be extra careful – There are all kinds of extra hazards to be aware of when it’s dark and your visibility is reduced. Potholes, uneven road surfaces, deep puddles and other hidden dangers can put you at risk of having a cycling accident. Cycling at a slower speed than you would during the day can help you with the unexpected.
- Have a cycling partner – You will be more visible to other road users if you are cycling with a friend or in a group of cyclists. It’s also helpful if you get a puncture or other mechanical issue with your bike.
If you have been involved in a cycling accident that wasn’t your fault, you may be able to make a cycling accident compensation claim. Call our specialist cycling solicitors on 0800 884 0777, email email@example.com or complete our online enquiry form.