Make sure you can see and be seen on winter roads

As the clocks go back this weekend and the nights draw in, drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists are being urged to check their vehicle’s lights are working properly.

Be Bright Be Seen poster

This is part of a range of advice to Be Bright and Be Seen being issued by North Yorkshire County Council’s road safety team to all road users as winter approaches.

County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Road Safety, said: “Many drivers and riders will not have used their lights for some months, so before travelling in darkness they should make sure not only that their vehicle’s lights are working, but that they are also regularly cleaned.

“North Yorkshire has the longest roads network in the country. Many roads are rural and unlit, so road users have to be particularly careful during winter when we all travel in the dark for longer. Our job is to keep the roads as safe as possible, so we hope people will heed a few simple tips to get them safely through the season.

“It’s about seeing and being seen, and all road users can play their part.”

Road collisions increase with the arrival of darker evenings and worsening weather. The effects are greatest for the most vulnerable road users, such as children, the elderly, cyclists and motorcyclists.

However you get to work, school or the shops, there are things you can do to help yourself be seen.

In the car

Regularly check that all lights are working and use them. If you can’t be seen properly you are in danger and if any of your lights are not working you are breaking the law.

Be aware that other road users may not be doing anything to keep themselves visible. Look out for them. Better use of your lights will help you to see and avoid others

Cyclists

Many incidents involving bicycles during dark nights are due to cyclists wearing dark clothing and not using lights or reflectors. Drivers are looking for lights, so when a cyclist appears with no lights they are hard to see.

The law requires that at night your bike MUST have white front and red rear lights lit, it must also be fitted with a red rear reflector.

White front reflectors can also help you to be seen, and spoke reflectors will help other road users and pedestrians to see you from the side.

Reflective tape and flashing valve caps are also available. Any part that is moving, such as knees and ankles and valves, and is either reflective or illuminated, draws drivers’ attention.

Wearing bright and if possible reflective clothing is good, too, but always assume that the driver has not seen you.

Pedestrians

If you are walking after dark or in poor visibility, for example on foggy or overcast days, wear something bright and reflective, whether walking to work or school or walking the dog. Hi-vis dog leads, flashing collars and coats are now available for your dog as well.

Being aware of your surroundings helps, too, so take out earphones, and leave your phone in your pocket.

Motorcyclists

Ride in a more dominant road position, out from the kerb and more to the middle of the lane. This will help others to see you and give you a better view into side roads and round trees and lamp posts. This will give you and others more time to react if a problem does occur.

As with other vehicles, a bright shiny bike and bright helmet will improve your chances of being seen. Light or hi-visibility clothing may also help drivers behind to see you.

Do not use a tinted visor at night as it will make it difficult to see pedestrians and cyclists in dark clothing.

This story was published 25 October 2017