During last night’s commute home I happened to observe a substantial number of cyclists out enjoying the night air. Most appeared to be going from point A to point B, like myself. Some were just out and about. You would think that would evoke positive emotional responses and exclamations that there is hope for the world. Yeah, not so much.
Way too many of them were riding in various levels of stealth. No lights. Some with no reflectors of any kind. And a couple of these lightless riders decided to ride against the stream (what I believe BikeSnob refers to as “salmon”).
I see this way too much but I’ve taken to keeping my mouth shut when I see them. I used to shout out to these riders with sage advice about getting some lights. Now I just shake my head and hope that I don’t read about them becoming road pizza in the news the next morning.
Lately I’ve become a little militant about the major reasons why people don’t have lights on their bicycles. The first is the bicycle industry refuses to let go of the racing mentality and its moronic search for weight reduction. Yes a time trail bike probably doesn’t need lights. But then very few people really need time trial bikes. Most everyday bicycles could have lights with very little cost or weight impacts. The second is the price barrier and the dizzying choices for lights available. Please spare me the comments about how the cost of a light set is minuscule in relation to a visit to the ER or the cost of a funeral. Very few people really make rational risk decisions (yours truly included).
Oh I did yell at one dolt last night. This moron decided that riding opposite direction in the bike lane on a hill was his absolute right. Apparently lights are for sissies in his world (I wonder what color the sky is there). Fortunately, my ridiculously high-powered headlamp picked him up as I was bombing down the hill at 30 mph. It also probably scared him into diverting to the sidewalk. I’ll keep my opinion of his struggling up the hill on a fixie to myself. Youth is wasted on the young and their knees.