Ok, time to pull on the rantypants again, and the waistline is snugly under my armpits, so you know I mean business!

In case you haven’t noticed by now my fellow cyclists, Winter months are here, daylight savings is over, and it’s getting dark early. There are obviously still some of us riding our bikes who have not quite grasped this concept, or are just prepared to take some dumb arsed risks.

Riding up Hanson Road tonight sometime after 7:00pm, heading Norf for the Trailer Park, I somehow and luckily for both of us, managed to spot a dude on a mountain bike, no lights, no reflectors, tootling along in the bike lane. As I use part of this road as a stretch session when the mood strikes, I was tapping along at about 48km/h, and if I had hit him, it would have got awfully messy for both of us.

People, if we’re going to ride our bikes at night, and in this weather, why wouldn’t you, please have a bit more consideration for all other road users, and make sure you have some lights on. If I was in struggletown trying to see this dude, it must have been even harder for the cars and trucks that frequent Hanson Rd, let alone the lovely ladies of the night plying their wares that like to wave & cheer!

About three years ago as part of Ride to Work Day, I was lucky enough to have received from some sponsors various products to give away, for either new riders, or those in obvious need of assistance. A lot of these included a red led light, reflective slap bands, reflective stickers, a bright orange bidon, and for those I was giving to new CCS BUG Members, Cycle Direct maps and other handy information. What I did for some of them was put the goodies in a bidon, and carry a couple of these with me every commute. As I struck a rider who had no lights on their bikes, I would pull them over and give them the bidon of booty.

In most cases this went down pretty well, as most people enjoy getting something for nothing. There are a few though, who believe no matter what, that the road rules and common decency do not apply to them. I am wondering if we could look at doing something like this again with a little bit of love from some of the awesome cycling and related services and industries?

Wouldn’t it be awesome if perhaps we could encourage SA Police, Department of Transport Energy & Infrastructure, Office of Sport & Recreation, Office of Cycling, BikeSA, some of the big players like Bike Exchange and other larger Local Bike Shops to join in, set up a few cycling ambassadors to do what I did a few years ago, and carry some schwag that could be given to those needing it. Since I did it, there have been some great little lights released on the market that fit to the helmet, and are solar powered! How cool if a dsitributor could donate a box of these, would save trying to hassle Everyready for some free batteries!

I think we are starting to get the message through to our fellow cyclists on safety, but there are still obviously a few who need our collective encouragement. Some of you might be thinking, well, it’s only a few, and it’s their risk, but think what the motorists are seeing? They are seeing a cyclist breaking the law, and putting themselves and the motorist all at risk. Who do you think they will remember most, me lit up like a rave party, or the dude with no lights? Who do you think they will ring the radio stations about, or use as an example for every cyclist to have ever ridden a bike?

SAPOL assistance would be handy, as instead of booking a cyclist for not having lights, they could certainly issue a caution, but think of the positive PR if they also issued the cyclist with a free light for their helmet?

I would love to hear what other cyclists think, and I would certainly love to hear from one of the Departments or an LBS or a Distributor who could or would like to help!

Keep the rubber side down,

Smudge!