This Saturday, December 21, at about 9:11 a.m., autumn bows out for the year. Winter officially makes its debut. Despite all the weather guessers touting “winter weather” and “ooh, it’s wintery cold outside”, the facts are that winter starts in December, every year, not November.
The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year. This is a big day for all of us outdoor types. The need to keep lit, as in bike lights and so on, continues. The day and night hours won’t be equal till the Vernal Equinox in March.
The way the light filters through everything at this time of year makes for some pretty muted scenes. The earth is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the sun, so the light has to shine through more things than in summer. Those things are trees, bushes, and buildings.
It doesn’t matter how you chose to make yourself more visible, it only matters that you do. There are far too many riders who pedal in low light and plain dark conditions wearing dark clothing, no lights on their bikes, and riding against the traffic on a street. There’s no polite spin on this. It’s just plain stupid.
That type of riding puts everyone in a bad spot. Drivers can’t see the riders well, if at all, until they are right on top of them. Car vs. bike crashes don’t work out well for the bikes. Riders simply put themselves in the Grim Reaper's crosshairs.
Keep the lights lit. Wear gear with reflective tapes and logo’s. Ride with traffic. If you able, stay off the streets at night.
If you do have to ride during the dark hours, make certain that you are very, very visible. It just works out better that way.