Monday, January 11, 2016

Riding at night in Pittsburgh - To see or not to see. That is the question.

According to Honolulu Star-Advertiser, just under half of all fatal bicycle accidents in the United States from 2010-2014 occurred at night. Of the 1,509 bicycle riders killed at night during the five-year period, only 63 - representing 4 percent - were using lights. A survey of bike light use in Portland, Oregon found that 9 of 10 bicyclists had front lights, but one in nine of those were inadequate. Thus, in Portland, 20% of cyclists were using inadequate front lights! For purposes of the survey, "adequate" was defined as “visible from one block away.”

Local cyclist, Matt Mayhew, on his morning commute.
Although the Portland surveyors found one block of visibility to be "adequate," the Pennsylvania Motor vehicle Code requires more. In Pennsylvania (click here to read the statute), the law requires any cyclist riding between sunset and sunrise to have a headlamp that emits a beam of white light intended to illuminate the cyclist’s path and be visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front. The cyclist must also have a red reflector facing to the rear which is visible at least 500 feet, and an amber reflector on each side of the bicycle. Cyclists can supplement the required front and rear lamps/reflectors, but the front lamp must emit a white beam or light and the rear lamp must emit a red beam or light. Any supplemental lamps or reflectors worn by the rider should be capable of being seen from at least 500 feet to the front and 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.

If you're going to be riding at night - for training or conquering that 2016 New Year's resolution - you need to get yourself some lights. Pennsylvania law requires a headlight (as well as tail and side reflectors), and it just makes good sense.
Check out this GCN video, below, for tips on how to choose lights and where to place them. As always, be safe out there!

Thanks for reading.

Matthew F. Dolfi, Esquire

Dolfi Law PC
1100 Washington Avenue, Suite 206
Carnegie, Pa 15106


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Important notice:
The information provided in this blog article is not legal advice.  The information and opinions provided herein are solely for the general interest of the visitors to this website.  The information contained herein is only applicable to general principles of law in Pennsylvania and may not reflect current legal developments or statutory changes in various other jurisdictions.  Therefore, the information and opinions contained in this blog should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal advice.  No aspect of this blog article should be interpreted as establishing an attorney-client relationship between the reader and its author.  Anyone reviewing this article should not act upon any information contained herein without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.  

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