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Night Bike Riders At Risk

Release Date: July 17, 1984

Because of a sharp increase in the reported number of fatalities resulting from car-bike collisions at night, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued a warning to bike riders to take necessary steps to make themselves and their bicycles more visible at night.

The number of bicyclists killed at night has increased from 304 to 372 per year. CPSC statistics indicate that riding bicycles at night is significantly more risky than in the daytime. In 1975, the nunber of nighttime deaths accounted for 30% of the total number of bicyclists killed. By 1982 (the latest year for which complete data is available) nighttime deaths accounted for 42% of the total number of bicyclists killed. One factor contributing to fatal nighttime bicyclist accidents is that the bicycles and riders are not readily visible to motorists. motorists involved in car-bicycle collisions report that they hit bicyclists because the bicycles and riders are not visible. Cyclists' failure to wear protective helmets may have also contributed to the severity of head injuries suffered in car-bike collisions.

Therefore, CPSC recomnends the following actions to cyclists:

1.  Be sure your bike has reflectors required on all new bicycles by the CPSC bicycle regulation. Each bike should have front and rear reflectors, pedal reflectors, and side rim or wheel reflectors. Use front and rear lights (as required in many states) to help make your bicycle more noticeable to cars at night. Small battery-operated lamps strapped to your legs also help.

2.  Wear reflective clothing to make yourself more visible to automobile drivers. Wear a reflective vest, reflective bands on arms and reflectorized tape on helmet.

3.  Always wear a good helmet with a rigid (but crushable) interior material which my help absorb the force of an impact. (This is important for daytime riding, too.)

4.  Never allow children to ride at night.

5.  Avoid riding on dark, narrow roadways where the posted speed limit is more than 35 mph.

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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years. 

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