Winter can be a great time to bike to work in Virginia. As summer ends, the days grow cooler and less humid, and a brisk morning ride to the office or to the shop can be a great way to get your blood flowing. But with cooler temperatures come shorter days, and though your morning commute is likely to stay during daylight hours, your ride home at the end of the day is probably going to be at twilight or at night. You need to make sure you can see and be seen.
In Virginia, it’s state law that all bicycles have forward and rear reflectors as well as a headlight. All of these basic pieces of safety equipment are inexpensive – you can probably get a decent battery-powered headlight for your bike for less than $20. There are a variety of lights available, even some that attach to your front spoke and are charged by the spinning of your tire. Visit one of our local bike shops for suggestions for a light that fits the length and type of your ride.
Don’t forget your clothes. Winter clothes are often dark-colored, which can make you difficult to spot while on your bike. Consider light-colored clothing or a reflective vest over your coat or sweater. If you carry a shoulder bag or backpack, consider attaching reflective strips or similar material to the bag. Making sure the driver can see not just your bike, but you as well, will help them determine your speed and location on the road, and will make sure everyone passes each other at a safe distance.
Of course, if you find yourself needing to ride home late at night and are unprepared, our Guaranteed Ride Home program has you covered. Just register online and get immediate access to this and other resources to support your bike commute.