Countdown to 2.2.12
WABA has been waiting for the bike light sets to come in for a few months and the first bike light blitz was finally here! WIth it getting dark before 6 pm, this is definitely the time of year when many cyclists are not visible due to lack of lights and reflective clothing. The goal was to reach those cyclists who did not have any lights on their bike due to lack of knowledge or perhaps ability to afford.
6:00 PM: Arrived at WABA HQ in Admo and grabbed a bag of bike lights.
6:10 PM: Decked out bike with a few light sets to draw attention and had a pocket full of front, rear, and WABA info cards, I headed out of WABA headquarters. After realizing that digging them out took time, I slung a few of the sets on my finger tips, set them blinking, and rode down the 15th street cycle track looking for these invisible riders, commonly referred to as “stealth riders.” After a few false IDs, rear light, but no front light, I decided that the “head on” approach was not the best and decided to ride around the business district hitting the streets. I did make note to those with just a rear light that a front light not only is good for visibility, but really is required under law in all 50 states when riding at night. A rear light is optional as long as you have a reflector.
6:30 PM: The adrenaline rush was on as I started to chase down stealth riders. Since most riders tended to only have a rear light if any, this approach was better to locate those riders totally in the dark about bike lights. I felt like a messenger as I pushed hard to get the word out about bike lights and got out of the saddle on several occasions to quickly close the gap between the cyclist in need and myself, hoping for a red light to give me a few seconds to enlighten them.
6:45 PM: For a day that started with a rainy commute, I was out of the 15 light sets I was issued in just 35 minutes! I was surprised by how many cyclists did not have lights. Many of these also wore dark clothing which certainly did not help visibility.
Just a few comments from the light recipients, and in some cases those who turned down the free sets.
“I am just going across the street” said the single speed bike rider wearing dark clothing on a black bike with no helmet.
“I have a head light” – Just not on his bike apparently.
“You don’t need them any more” said an appreciative rider when approached.
“How much?” – No, I am not outside a sports arena giving away “free hats.” There was no trick here, just a WABA BA Volunteer shedding some light on the stealth riders of the district in an attempt to prevent collisions.
“I’m a WABA Member. Thank you so much for volunteering.” – as I gave her friend a set of lights.
I have to say for my first time blitzing I had a blast and will head to WABA to get a few sets to have on hand for those times when in my normal commute I come across cyclists in need. In fact, since walking my dog this weekend and seeing about 50% of riders without lights, I have decided to put a few sets in my coat pockets for those time I’m on foot.
Since this was a light blitz and not a time to scold riders, I refrained from getting into a debate about helmet use or verbal communication when passing, but please do encourage your friends and family to wear a helmet. Lights, helmets, and other safety equipment can definitely save your life.
Want to Blitz?
Become a volunteer Bike Ambassador and help educate cyclists and motorists about safe cycling. Be safe, and hope to see you out there on the roads and trails!