midnight commutes

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by asterope, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. asterope

    asterope New Member

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    yesterday was my big plan to start my commute to work and back (18kms each way, at 4pm and 12am respectively) but ended up getting a severe case of the heebie-jeebies at around 3pm...
    back before my lazy days of the scooter, when i didnt have several 8am lectures, i would commute home at midnight or later with no worries or nasty feelings in my stomach... but then again, that was only 6kms to get home. the distance has now tripled and placed itself through some very truck-heavy traffic zones.

    id like to stop using the scooter to get out there so much... its wearing it out quicker, i feel much healthier when i use my bike to commute, and it doesnt take me all that much longer to get to work on a bike... but the thought of trucks and a few kms of poorly lit deserted roads at midnight just dont stir confidence if you know what i mean.

    am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?

    Thanks muchly in advance
    Asterope (chickensh*t)
     
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  2. DaveB

    DaveB Guest

    asterope wrote:
    > am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to
    > get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety
    > points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?
    >


    Definitely not being silly and I have the same thoughts about night
    riding. After dark I would put considerably more effort into planning
    the route. Ideally I'd want a balance between enough traffic to not be
    at risk of isolation, but not too much heavy traffic to put me at
    danger. An ideal example for me would be a major road with service
    roads, so I'd ride on the service roads.

    Also, night is probably the only time I would ride on the footpath.
    Usually car reversing out are a problem with this, but at night you
    should be able to pick up their lights.

    And finally, it depends on the safety of the areas you have to go
    through. In the late 80's I used to work shiftwork in Melb CBD and
    thought nothing of going for a stroll at 3am through the city on my own.
    I can't imgaine I'd be doing that these days.

    DaveB
     
  3. In aus.bicycle on Wed, 25 Oct 2006 09:01:10 +1000
    asterope <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to
    > get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety
    > points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?



    When dealing with trucks, have rear lights that are visible from truck
    driver height. So have a light onthe back of your helmet and make sure
    it is pointing up and back when you are in riding position.

    Have heaps of reflective tape onthe bike, and wear reflective anklets
    so that the movement is eye catching.

    A very bright light to the rear so that it can be seen a long way away
    is probably a good idea. In other words, not just little flashers.

    Zebee
     
  4. Friday

    Friday Guest

    asterope wrote:
    > yesterday was my big plan to start my commute to work and back (18kms
    > each way, at 4pm and 12am respectively) but ended up getting a severe
    > case of the heebie-jeebies at around 3pm...
    > back before my lazy days of the scooter, when i didnt have several 8am
    > lectures, i would commute home at midnight or later with no worries or
    > nasty feelings in my stomach... but then again, that was only 6kms to
    > get home. the distance has now tripled and placed itself through some
    > very truck-heavy traffic zones.
    >
    > id like to stop using the scooter to get out there so much... its
    > wearing it out quicker, i feel much healthier when i use my bike to
    > commute, and it doesnt take me all that much longer to get to work on a
    > bike... but the thought of trucks and a few kms of poorly lit deserted
    > roads at midnight just dont stir confidence if you know what i mean.
    >
    > am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to
    > get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety
    > points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?
    >
    > Thanks muchly in advance
    > Asterope (chickensh*t)
    >
    >


    A few points.

    Nightime is exactly the same as daytime except the sun is not up.

    You can never have too many lights, to see and be seen.

    Scary monsters don't exist except on TV and in your head.

    Always carry a small torch of some kind for repairs, a little bit of
    light is better than no light at all.

    Other additions welcome.

    Friday
     
  5. Bean Long

    Bean Long Guest

    asterope wrote:

    > Doesn't want to ride at midnight...


    I think I'd feel the same way. I have this feeling that I'd be at
    greater risk along a quiet stretch of road in the dark if there was only
    one vehicle compared with dozens. I always assume that at that time of
    night a driver is more likely to be a little sleepy and perhaps not
    paying all that much attention. I would guess that the only solution is
    to extremely well lit AND to alert drivers to the fact that you are
    moving. There are often well lit signs/roadwork areas/obstacles on
    roads which drivers expect to be motionless. I always fear that
    cyclists at night that are picked up by drivers are assumed to be
    motionless objects which may result in bingles because allowance has not
    been made for forward motion. I reckon that the best way to indicate
    you are a moving object is to light up the wheels. At least from side
    on you can be seen and you certainly appear to be in motion. Not sure
    what to do for vision from behind though. Perhaps some reflective tape
    on your tyre side-walls just above the road/contact surface??

    Another alternative is sticking to well-lit roads, even if this makes
    for a longer trip.
    --
    Bean

    Remove "yourfinger" before replying
     
  6. adam85

    adam85 New Member

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    I wouldn't go so far as to say don't do it, but I totally understand your trepidation and I would be thinking twice about doing it. There's heaps of idiots and tired people on the roads at that time, and like you say lots of trucks on lytton rd. With lights I'd go with a minimum of 2 rear lights, a big f off light on the front for the dark bits and a blinky on your helmet for people coming from sidestreets. Maybe some 3M reflective tape on the bike or a vest. Beyond that all you can do with trucks is make sure you can be seen and hold your line.

    Just looking at all the tyre marks up the edges of freeway ramp concrete walls shows you a lot of drivers are not exactly on the ball.

    Sorry mate that's probably not much help is it?
    Adam
     
  7. JayWoo

    JayWoo New Member

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    I love commuting @ night. I do have the advantage of my commute being mostly inner city though (Melb). Can you change the route in anyway to avoid the truck section? Even if it's longer, it would give you more fun time on the bike.
    I ride with 2 rear flashers (bag & bike mounted). Up front is either 2 flashers (Helmet & bar mount) or 10w bar mount & helmet flasher for the more darker trips. And some ankle & bag mounted 3m tape for good measure.
    As for pricks in cars; I think I can be scary enough if need be. I just take out my front false tooth & get the gums flappin'

    :p
     
  8. asterope

    asterope New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, i think i should go get more * and brighter* lights before attempting this commute.

    As for changing the route.. no such luck... there are only two ways out of the complex i work in and both of them are heavy industrial areas, once i get out of the industrial areas its back onto well-ish lit city roads so its not too much of a worry.

    my main fear is that some semi is going to come screaming up the hill in the left lane on lytton rd, get to the cresent, see theres a cyclist in front of them and not have enough time to slam on the brakes... ive had this happen to me once on the scooter, but going 60kmh is much easier to avoid getting hit by a semi with its brakes screeching.
    as for footpath riding... there are no footpaths around there, and a 100m section of 'token' bike path that goes around a set of lights (thanks BCC, for the gesture and thinking about how cyclists "hate" stopping at red lights, but perhaps you could actually CONTINUE the bike path alongside the road, instead of shooting us straight onto gravel?)

    Im going to have to think this through more... i wish that the few people that lived in the general vicinity of my neighbourhood werent so lazy and would actually consider commuting with me (but then thats a whole 40 minutes wasted that they could be playing world of warcraft, man!!)
     
  9. gumby

    gumby Guest

    Friday wrote:

    >
    > Scary monsters don't exist except on TV and in your head.


    ....and on vinyl and cd and mp3

    1980!! I'm old
    Steven
     
  10. asterope wrote:
    > yesterday was my big plan to start my commute to work and back (18kms
    > each way, at 4pm and 12am respectively) but ended up getting a severe
    > case of the heebie-jeebies at around 3pm...
    > back before my lazy days of the scooter, when i didnt have several 8am
    > lectures, i would commute home at midnight or later with no worries or
    > nasty feelings in my stomach... but then again, that was only 6kms to
    > get home. the distance has now tripled and placed itself through some
    > very truck-heavy traffic zones.
    >
    > id like to stop using the scooter to get out there so much... its
    > wearing it out quicker, i feel much healthier when i use my bike to
    > commute, and it doesnt take me all that much longer to get to work on a
    > bike... but the thought of trucks and a few kms of poorly lit deserted
    > roads at midnight just dont stir confidence if you know what i mean.
    >
    > am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to
    > get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety
    > points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?
    >
    > Thanks muchly in advance
    > Asterope (chickensh*t)
    >
    >

    Hi Eileen,

    Apart from the lots of comments about good lighting, what has actually scared me
    recently more than any motor vehicle was the teenage gangs you see after dark.
    I've been chased on more than one occasion by kids on bikes with obvious evil
    intent. So far I've been lucky that I've been much fitter than them, despite in
    both recent cases me being on the heavy, well-laden hybrid I was easily able to
    out-pace them. As soon as I made it onto a major, well lit road they gave up in
    each case. But really scary for me, I can assure you. One of the incidents
    happened in a relatively posh area too. Not far from where Monsterman lives, in
    fact.

    So, take that into account when planning your route too :)

    Karen

    --
    Karen Gallagher

    "Reverse the polarity and invert the particle flux!"
    "You mean put the batteries in the other way?"
    "...yes."
    -Star Trek (any of them)
     
  11. Terryc

    Terryc Guest

    asterope wrote:
    > yesterday was my big plan to start my commute to work and back (18kms
    > each way, at 4pm and 12am respectively) but ended up getting a severe
    > case of the heebie-jeebies at around 3pm..


    3pm - 4pm is brood mares at the wheel peak time, so unless you have a
    total off road path, you want to minimise schools fronts.

    Midnight is great, especially with back roads.

    > but the thought of trucks and a few kms of poorly lit deserted
    > roads at midnight just dont stir confidence if you know what i mean.


    Trucks are not your problem. you need relatively bright lighting, which
    is why I built a basic system with 50W light for when I did a short
    section of main road with lots of neon advertising along it.

    Otherwise, lots of reflectors, and vest.

    at midnight, you just need to check out closing time for the local
    inebriates.
    >
    > am i being silly getting all nervous, and if so, whats the best way to
    > get myself lit up like a big xmas tree, and any other savvy safety
    > points to avoid encounters of the semi-trailer kind?


    Rear, I have a flashing and a steady (bright and dull) read lights, plus
    reflectors, panniers rear pockets and 12" arm either side, plus 6" sissy
    bar.

    Side reflectors are twin loops offset in each wheel (orange front, red
    back) - it really catches their eye. the panners had reflectors that fit
    onto the tightening straps.

    Front, bright and dull front lights and reflectors. T reflectors on 12"
    bar on front rack.

    Wear reflecto vest, helmet with reflecto tape, ride in upright position
    at moderate speeds.

    you will get to know the sections of badly maintained roads.

    you will also get to know the wildlife and what to avoid and what to enjoy.

    It is a majical world after midnight on the back roads.

    lol, you might even find out who are the shift workers on your route,
    who has older kids, where you can catch the latest news, etc, etc, etc
     
  12. adam85

    adam85 New Member

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    See the monsters aren't just in your head! Plenty on the southside (and on a.b as well)

    Adam
     
  13. gplama

    gplama Well-Known Member

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    errmm... what about monsterman!?!?? :D
     
  14. Paulie-AU

    Paulie-AU New Member

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    I have never been concerned about not being seen on my bike at night. With good quality flashers and a front light, if someone runs you over they were going to do it in the daylight anyhow.

    Also I have found people tend to leave more room at night.

    In the Lytton road area I have a feeling the truckies might give you more respect because they will figure you are in a similar industry to them and you are riding because you have to......not because you enjoy it. :D
     
  15. Friday

    Friday Guest

    gplama wrote:
    > Friday Wrote:
    >
    >>Scary monsters don't exist except on TV and in your head.
    >>

    >
    >
    > errmm... what about monsterman!?!?? :D
    >
    >


    Well I have to admit when I do my kayak training at night I'm certain
    the Swamp Monster is following close behind me.
    It's amazing the tricks your mind plays on you when you're out late at
    night...in the dark....in the middle of nowhere... alone.........
     
  16. Friday

    Friday Guest

    Paulie-AU wrote:
    > I have never been concerned about not being seen on my bike at night.
    > With good quality flashers and a front light, if someone runs you over
    > they were going to do it in the daylight anyhow.
    >
    > Also I have found people tend to leave more room at night.
    >
    > In the Lytton road area I have a feeling the truckies might give you
    > more respect because they will figure you are in a similar industry to
    > them and you are riding because you have to......not because you enjoy
    > it. :D
    >
    >


    I've brought this up before and it works really well but replacing the
    red LEDs in one of your flashing lights with blue ones makes the world
    of differnce.


    Friday
     
  17. gplama

    gplama Well-Known Member

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    POST OF THE DAY!!!! hmmm.. Jaycar time!
     
  18. TimC

    TimC Guest

    On 2006-10-25, Friday (aka Bruce)
    was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea:
    > gplama wrote:
    >> Friday Wrote:
    >>
    >>>Scary monsters don't exist except on TV and in your head.

    >>
    >> errmm... what about monsterman!?!?? :D

    >
    > Well I have to admit when I do my kayak training at night I'm certain
    > the Swamp Monster is following close behind me.
    > It's amazing the tricks your mind plays on you when you're out late at
    > night...in the dark....in the middle of nowhere... alone.........


    Imagine how I feel, working at a bloody telescope in the bush!

    We have fighting kangaroos, wombats, and other miscellaneous growling
    creatures, in the dark 50m below the catwalk you are walking along at
    midnight. You walk back to the lodge after a long tiresome night, and
    a roo bounds across the path 50cm in front of you.

    I always used to hate riding home from the public observatory a km
    from the edge of town -- because of the yetis in the bush.

    --
    TimC
    Adding features does not necessarily increase functionality -- it just
    makes the manuals thicker. --unknown
     
  19. asterope

    asterope New Member

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    I think the blue LED thing is a goer here... some great ideas and tips coming up in this thread.

    Always loved riding home in the wee hours of the morning... nobody out but the owls, possums, and roadies training in the best part of the day :D
    I think i just need to get more lit up and get out of that industrial zone mentality... or find myself a day job for the uni holidays :p
    i think i might just get lit up and give it a burl next week :D

    Tim, please feel free to send any yetis you may come across that have been left in the bush to me, i'll pay for postage :D hehehe
     
  20. gplama

    gplama Well-Known Member

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    a Yeti in the hand is worth two Cannondale (frames) in the bush!
     
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