Upcoming events help cyclists be seen in dark weather

Monday, November 18, 2013 - 1:57pm
Western Today staff

Cyclists, pedestrians and motorists should take special care as they travel during the upcoming months of low light conditions. In order to ‘See and Be Seen,’ all road users must do their part. Western Sustainable Transportation is partnering with the City of Bellingham and everybodyBIKE to remind all road users to travel safely during these months of increased darkness and inclement weather.

Cyclists: Do your part to be seen. In addition to using a white front light and red rear reflector (as required by law -- see the applicable RCW below), wear light colored and reflective clothing. Extra lights and reflectors can help make you visible from all sides and from a greater distance. Ride predictably; bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of cars.

Motorists: Expect bikes on the road. Clean the inside of your windshield, replace your windshield wipers regularly and don’t leave your driveway until your windshield is completely free from ice and fog. Pass cyclists only when safe and give at least 3 feet of space. Look for cyclists in your blind spot prior to turning right. Look for cyclists in the oncoming lane prior to turning left or pulling into traffic, and be prepared for cyclists and pedestrians on sidewalks and in bike lanes as you approach the road from a driveway.

See and Be Seen events and tools:

  • Cyclists, stop by the Visibility Celebration Stations on the WWU campus in front of the Viking Union (on Nov. 19 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.) and in front of the Wade King Student Recreation Center (on Nov. 20 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.) with your bike. Enjoy a hot cup of coffee if you have a light, or have a free light put on your bike if you don’t (while supplies last). Lights will be installed on the spot. Only those riding a bike will receive a light.
  • While it's parked on campus, your bike may be tagged with a coupon. This coupon is valid for a discount on a Planet Bike light set. Also, scan the QR code on the tag to visit Western’s "Safe Roads for All" website. Take the quiz, see a video and learn more about being a visible cyclist.
  • Coming soon: Curious if you are visible enough? Employees and students will soon be able to request a free, personalized "Reflectorize" session. A WWU Sustainable Transportation staff member will come to you at your request and provide feedback about your current visibility as a cyclist. In addition to tips for increasing your visibility, you can also receive free blinking, lighted or reflective tools, while supplies last. Contact Sustainable Transportation to schedule an appointment or add your name to the interest list.
  • Motorists, coming soon: Request a free ice scraper by contacting Sustainable Transportation. One will be sent to you via campus mail while supplies last!



Every bicycle when in use during the hour of darkness as defined in Section 11.72.050 (RCW 46.37.020) shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500' to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the state commission on equipment which shall be visible from all distances from 100' to 600' to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

For more information, contact Andrea Osborn, Western Washington University Sustainable Transportation Program Assistant, at (360) 650-7245 or transportation@wwu.edu.