To see and be seen after dusk is the most important safety practice for riding an adult trike. If you thought to navigate through busy traffic is a hassle during the day, wait until the sun goes down and you’ll find a much harder challenge. That’s why your tricycle should have all the necessary equipment for optimum visibility. Riding a tricycle at night isn’t always recommended, but sometimes you may not have a choice.
Don’t Ride at Night if you don’t have to
Note that riding a tricycle at night increases the possibilities of accidents. If you can avoid night rides the better for you since you’ll be staying clear of unexpected circumstances.
Visibility is Key
Many trike riders underestimate how well other drivers see them. Wear reflectors instead of bright clothes since with a reflective jacket or reflecting knee pads and elbow pads other motorists can spot you from a further distance. If you can’t get your hands on a reflective jacket, look for fluorescent clothes (highly visible colors). They should let out a flair from about 100meters away to avoid being hit.
You can get reflective clothing in online stores which stock sporting goods. If you can’t get anything bright to wear, just pick reflective strips and triangles. These items can be attached to the rear of the trike. There are also reflectors which mount on the wheel system such that they illuminate when the wheels spin.
Take Advantage of a Proper Lighting System
As much as reflectors keep you visible, they only work when another car is shining its light on you. So when another motorist is not using their headlights, how do you get home safely? Trike lights are the way to go. It’s actually a law that you have bike lights on your tricycle. The most convenient system is a White Light in front and a red Light in the rear. A steady backlight is better than a flashing one since a driver can be sure they are seeing your movements without losing sight of you even for a second.
If possible, for the headlight get LED lights which give off light in the form of patterns.
Get a light for the helmet and another for the handlebars. This is the proper lighting system for a trike since you need to see where you are looking using the helmet light while the handlebar light illuminates the path ahead of you.
Charge Your Battery Powered Lights
If your headlight uses a battery to function; make sure it’s always at full working capacity. This will ensure that they last the whole journey and the lights will not die on you before reaching your destination. Red rear lights mostly use AA batteries which don’t need recharging but always replace them after using for a few months.
You might be crossing the street at the crosswalk, and suddenly a driver makes a right turn into you. To avoid such a collision, you’ll want to slow down enough to stop down completely before making that turn. This way, you have a chance to see other drivers as they approach the same crosswalk you intend to cross.
Speeding also puts pedestrians at risk since it is hard to stop at the right moment when moving at fast speeds. Keep the speed below 15km/h when riding a tricycle at night on sidewalks and footpaths. On regular roads, you can keep it at 25km/h.
Don’t Stop at a Blind Spot
When the traffic lights indicate a RED light, all cars make a stop, and you decide to stop your trike at the right side of the car. When the light goes green, you’ll move forward the same way other vehicles do. This means that the car taking a right will run into you. Avoid this scenario by stopping behind the car instead of being at its side.
Take the Route More Travelled
You may think that being alone keeps you safe, but the opposite is quite contrary. This is because if you got lost, you’d not have someone to ask where you are or get help in case of imminent danger from a lone motorist.
Know the route you’ll be taking. Plan it in your head and follow it to avoid surprises. Note that familiar landscapes start looking strange after dusk when riding a tricycle at night. That’s why you should avoid new routes at all times. There are also apps which help in knowing your location if you have to visit new environments.
Better still, ride as a group if that’s possible. This way, you’ll have everyone’s insight before taking a new direction. Other riders will also warn you of the dangers that lurk while taking some routes.
Be Ready for Tricycle Repairs
Most trike accidents happen with pedestrians, other trikes, and automobiles. This does not rule out the occurrence of a flat tire. You should be ready with a toolbox to repair your trike in the dark of night. Expect to encounter a loose chain, a flat tire, or even a bent tire or handlebar.
Have a saddle bag that carries all the necessary equipment to perform quick repairs. These items include; a spare tube, CO2 inflator, patch kit, tire levers, and of course some money.
Signal Your Turns
It may not be obvious, but drivers are taken by surprise when you make a turn without warning. Even if you have the right clothing and you can be seen, no one assumes you are going to make a swerve on the next crosswalk. Use the right signals so as not to confuse other motorists. For example, say you want to make a left turn, use your left arm to make that signal and vice versa.
Take the Whole Lane
Riding a tricycle at night on the edge of the road means you’ll be sidelined, and people can assume your presence. But when you are right in the middle of the road other bikers and motorists can see you. If your streets are busy 24/7, it means the traffic is slower so you can keep up and cars can pass from a safe position.
Avoid edges if there are numerous driveways, side streets, and parking lots. And, if the lane is narrow you may be knocked into a ditch when cars pass thus at the middle of the lane is always the best position. And don’t be too close to the car ahead of you when riding a tricycle at night. Sudden stops can injure you since the body of the car will bump into the trike.
Slow moving streets allow you to make eye-contact with motorists. No sane driver can assume your presence if they, in fact, see you. Also, wide streets also allow riding a tricycle at night your trike side by side with cars. This way, when a vehicle is overtaking, it will not hit you even though the driver does not see you riding a tricycle at night.
Avoid Mobile Phone Distractions
Even if you are taking the trike along a quiet footpath, there’s always the risk of not hearing the happenings around you if you are on the phone. Using headphones increases road risks more so at night. And keep in mind, when one hand leaves the handlebars, you may not break in time since the hands lose their braking coordination.
Avoid Main Streets on Weekends
Weekends are replete with many drunks. You know how unstable drunk drivers can be so you better avoid them entirely. There are also lots of festivities which mean there will be throngs of people on main roads trying to get cabs and others just walking from street to street. As such, someone may jump in front of you from nowhere, and it can be too late to make an abrupt stop at such times.
Use Tricycle Mirrors
Use these mirrors to monitor activities behind you. A motorist may not see the trike, but since you are aware they do not see you, it becomes a matter of getting into the sidewalk and letting them pass. This way, you avoid being on their wrong side.
Have Identification Equipment
A helmet seems pretty obvious as something to take on a night ride on the adult tricycle. But in case of an emergency, paramedics will want to get in touch with your family as soon as possible. It’s important that you carry some form of wearable identification. Look for a bracelet with your name on it and additional information about your place of current residence.
Common IDs only have your name and maybe where you were born. No one is interested in your place of birth when you are in urgent need of blood donation. As such, include information like blood type and emergency numbers on the identification tag.
Don’t ride Against Traffic
Some trike riders assume that since it’s at night, you get to break some rules and get away. But this is counterproductive since vehicles do not expect a tricycle to appear from the wrong side of the road. And ask yourself; how are you going to make a right turn when going against traffic?
Conclusion about Riding A Tricycle At Night
Riding a tricycle at night is not always a good idea. Your machine on wheels has a low profile where drivers may not expect you to be there in the dark of night. With our tips, we believe you can make it a safe and fun experience.