It is a common myth that when you die you see a bright
light. Presumably leading you to Heaven. As a cyclist riding at night that’s
exactly what you’ll see as the driver behind you runs you over, blinded by the
same pair of headlights. I know that most of us Potterers will wear hi-vis and
have their lights on at night. But believe me, you could be decked out like a
xmas tree and it’s not enough nowadays. It’s glaringly obvious that the
lighting arms race has reached really stupid proportions.
The old adage was “See and be seen” meaning use your lights
to see what’s ON the road ahead, (not just to see where it’s going) and to be
able to stop within the limits of your vision, day or night. Nowadays it’s “Be
seen and dazzle oncoming traffic”
Years ago, (I was there), as a
motorcyclist I was exhorted to use my lights even in daytime. As a vulnerable
road user I could understand the logic. Then we had Volvo cars with permanently
on sidelights. I thought, WTF!!!, how safe do you want to be. You’re already
inside a vehicle not much smaller than a tank. Then motorcycles had their dipped
headlights wired on permanently. I thought, well, ok then.
Now we have all new cars with
permanent LEDs that are far too bright. More sun than moon. And worse, their
dipped headlights are unnecessarily too bright.
But even worse than that lots of
drivers don’t know how to operate their lights. How often do you see cars on
dipped headlights, even midday, on a bright sunny day? They’re in a steel cage.
Crumple zones, seat belts and air bags. Good grief !
How often do you see cars
parked/waiting at night in town with their headlights on? Even though Rule 239 categorically
forbids it, the reason being to prevent glare and make pedestrians and us
easier to be seen.
They really don’t know how to
operate their lights !!! This morning a
friend visited me and parked outside. He got into his usual bitch about cyclists.
When I mentioned all the above he said his lights come on automatically. We
went outside and I was able to show him how to wait in his car with no lights
on (as allowed at night within a 30 zone) or to have just sidelights on. Engine
running or not. He admitted that he wasn’t familiar with Rule 239.
So, you see what we’re up
against. Ride at night on a busy road and your chances of seeing that mythical
light are greater than ever.
And as a driver, slow as I am at
night, there but for the grace of God I’ve not hit anyone yet.