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Lighting the way during races...

So for those of you that also follow the Sportstest Facebook pages, you will know that I raced the Dambuster Duathlon on Saturday. 


A full race report, highlighting all of the many mistakes I made, will come in a few weeks (once it has been published in a popular triathlon magazine), so for this week I wanted to pose a bit of a question….


What do you think of using lights in a race?

A bit of a strange question perhaps, but as we hear of more and more cyclists who are involved in accidents with motor vehicles, and several of my clients have had very nasty accidents, I now when training, even on the brightest of days, ride with a front and a rear light.


So when it came to racing on Saturday, I decided that I would race with the minimum of a rear light as several of the sections of road on the Dambuster course can be rather busy.  I put a new battery in my light, and about 10 mins before the race started I turned my light on.


I was very surprised then once the race was over to notice my light was off.  I checked, it wasn’t the battery, it had actually been turned off by someone….

Now the practice in many cycle time trial events is that rear LED lights are compulsory, so I approached the race referee to point out my light had been switched off, and I thought it was unsafe to ride without lights. 


He acknowledged that in fact he had turned the light off as the rules of triathlon and duathlon dictate that you are not allowed to use anything to help identify your racking area, and that a directive was that any lights on a bike should be turned off, and only turned on by the athlete once they had reached the bike in transition area.


In my mind this actively discourages people to race with lights, as even an extra second or two to turn of a light will put people off using them.  Surely it would be better that that British triathlon authorities encourage everyone to use lights, then no-one is at an advantage in spotting their racking, and it “may” help with driver awareness and sighting of us whilst we race.


There are a couple of articles on why daytime lights are valuable to cycling safety:

  • http://www.active.com/cycling/articles/why-bike-lights-are-important-even-in-daylight and

  • http://www.slobc.org/safety/documents/road-survival-guide.pdf with some suggestion that cyclists running daytime lights are 32% less likely to be involved in an accident with a car.

Therefore when I rode on Sunday in grey and drizzly weather conditions I was even more astonished to see the vast majority of riders I saw had no lights…front or rear! 


Surely this is doing the cycling community no favours whatsoever?


So what are your views or experiences?


Stay safe, as an injured athlete is not a fast one!

Garry

www.sportstest.co.uk