A few weeks ago daylight savings kicked in, and along with the winter coming, means it gets dark early. Just a few short months ago we could ride without lights until 8:30 pm, now it is dark by 5:00 or 5:30 pm. That means those after work rides need to be accompanied by more than just "legal" lighting.
Under Missouri law, lights and reflectors and required 1/2 hour before sunset and up to 1/2 hour before sunrise. A cyclist MUST have all of the following to be legal:
1. Front light;
2. Rear red reflector;
3. Reflective material on front and rear of bike; AND
4. Reflective material on side of the bike.
But why be just legal? Be safe! Cyclists want to avoid being hit by a car and avoid obstacles in the road that can be small and difficult to see at night, but cause us to lose control. As a St Louis bike injury lawyer, I have represented badly injured cyclists that could have avoided the injury had they been more diligent about their visibility when riding near dark. I highly recommend not just a red rear reflector, but a bright red strobe light on the back. Additionally, a bright front light that also pulsates to grab a driver's attention. Even if it is not dark out, use it, this is equipment that often has inexpensive power consumption or rechargeable batteries and can save your life.
Missouri Statute 307.185 Lights And Reflectors, When Required - Standards To Be Met:
Every bicycle and motorized bicycle when in use on a street or highway during the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise shall be equipped with the following:
(1) A front-facing lamp on the front or carried by the rider which shall emit a white light visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway at five hundred feet;
(2) A rear-facing red reflector, at least two square inches in reflective surface area, or a rear-facing red lamp, on the rear which shall be visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lower beams of vehicle head-lights at six hundred feet;
(3) Reflective material and/or lights visible from the front and the rear on any moving part of the bicyclists, pedals, crank arms, shoes or lower leg, visible from the front and the rear at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at two hundred feet; and
(4) Reflective material and/or lights visible on each side of the bicycle or bicyclist visible at night under normal atmospheric conditions on a straight, level, unlighted roadway when viewed by a vehicle driver under the lawful lower beams of vehicle headlights at three hundred feet.
Their are many causes of bicycle injuries and deaths, don't let the lack of lighting be the reason you end up in the hospital.
If you are an injured bicyclist or know a cyclist that has been injured call the experienced Missouri injury lawyer and cyclist Ben Sansone at the St Louis law firm of Sansone / Lauber: (314) 863-0500 or contact a lawyer online.
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