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Dublin: 5°C Thursday 4 March 2021
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How to run or cycle in the dark safely this winter

Follow these top tips when you’re training.

Stay safe this winter.
Stay safe this winter.

THE SUN SETS in Ireland just after 4.30pm and rises again around 7.40am.

That leaves just under nine hours of actual daylight hours and most of us will be working or studying during that time. Depressing eh?

According to the RSA, most pedestrian and cycling-related fatalities and injuries occur after 6pm in the evening and before 6am.

So, to help keep you safe on the roads or the trails this winter, we’ve come up with a few suggestions:

1. Always run or cycle against the flow of traffic

Common sense, really, as being able to see what’s coming at you gives you more time to move out of the way if you need to.

2. Always have lights on your front AND back

It’s not always possible to run against the flow of traffic so with this in mind you need to make yourself light up like a Christmas tree.

And, flashing lights attract attention better than solid ones.

3. Choose your route wisely

Don’t pick a route that’ll force you to stop and look for oncoming traffic every 50 metres. Don’t pick a route with lots of loose rock unless you’ve a strong beam on your head torch. And for cyclists, choose a shorter loop to repeat as opposed to a longer one.

4. Bring your phone or some form of ID

In case the worst case scenario happens, you need to make a call…or worse, someone has to make a call for you.

5. Don’t have the earphones too loud

Riding or running allows us to escape into our own little world after a day at work but having the volume up too loud will prevent you from hearing anything approaching from behind.

The dark impairs our vision, so it’s important to have other senses heightened as best we can.

6. Try to pick a route you know well

This one is more applicable to cyclists but picking a route you know well means you’ll have a better chance of knowing where all the potholes are!

7. Train with a friend

Not only do ye motivate each other to get out for a run or a cycle but because ye are ‘bigger’ ye become much more visible to traffic and other road users.

8. Don’t scrimp on quality

There’s a whole range of equipment you can buy for training at night so fight your temptation to be cheap and splash out.

It could just save your life. From reflector jackets to high-beam headlights and even glow-in-the-dark stickers for your bike it’s worth spending a bit extra to feel safe. Plus, running at night is a wonderful way to wind down after a long day.

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About the author:

Brian Canty

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