During this time of year, our trail use often occurs during low light hours in the early morning or late afternoon. A walk, run or ride that begins in full light can easily end in dusk, darkness or heavy cloud cover that comes on surprisingly quickly. Being safe in low light conditions calls for SEEING what’s in your path and BEING SEEN by others including motorists and fellow trail users. Fortunately, today’s marketplace offers a variety of helpful safety products, including the following:
1. Bike lights: Head and tail lights allow you both to see and be seen. Using these lights even in daylight conditions is advisable to attract the attention of other trail users, since much of the trail is tree covered and dimly lit. Special rules established by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for the Little Miami State Park specify that “night cyclists must have front white light and rear red light.”
2. Headlamp – A headlamp will illuminate your path, allowing you to avoid trip hazards including uneven surfaces and debris. Lightweight, adjustable headlamps often feature bright LED lights and rechargeable batteries.
3. Reflective clothing – Reflective material allows you to be seen, especially by motorists as you traverse or cross roads. Most running shoes feature at least a minimal amount of reflective material. Reflective clothing including jackets or vests double as layers to keep you warm.
4. LED reflecting band – Bands for arms or ankles feature both reflective material and embedded LED lights with multiple “on” modes (glowing or flashing).
Perhaps with cold temperatures, wintery weather and shortened days, I ought to advise you to wait until spring to use the Little Miami Scenic Trail again. Upon further reflection and enlightened thought, though, I can see you, adorned in low light safety gear, enjoying the trail now. My oh my, can I see you!
by Erick Wikum
Vest photo by Top Fitness Magazine