Fact

Lighting - How dangerous is cycling in the dark without adequate bicycle lights?

Cycling is the dark is safer when cyclists use adequate bicycle lights. At the moment, we do not have reliable figures about the extent of the road safety effect of adequate bicycle lights.

Injury crashes registered for 2002-2010, indicate that bicycle lights do have an effect (see the SWOV factsheet Cyclists). A regression analysis shows that, for cyclists cycling in the dark, the risk to fall victim to an accident is reduced by 17% in the case of a working front and rear light [32]. The authors note, however, that the uncertainty of the outcome is significant. Nor has the quality of the biclycle lights been taken into account (the results are related to bicycle lights that were customary in 2002-2010) [32].

What is certain, however, is that the accident risk for cycling in the dark is higher than for cycling in the daytime [39] [40]. After a correction for the distance travelled, the risk of serious crash injuries for cyclists is highest in the early morning dark (after midnight until morning twilight). Apart from poorer visibility, other factors, such as alcohol consumption, contribute to the higher risk of cycling in the dark [40].

Dutch research has shown that 41% (in entertainment districts between 10 pm and 3 am) to 64% (between 5 pm and 9 pm, and between 6.30 am and 9 am) of cyclists cycling in the dark use bicycle lights [41] [42]. See the SWOV factsheet Cyclists.

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Updated

31 Jul 2018

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