Ohio’s Non-profit Takes Matters Into Its Own Hands to Improve Visibility for Cyclists on Roads

Published 09/25/2023, 11:18 AM EDT

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With the arrival of fall, the evenings are descending into darkness a bit earlier, and for cyclists, this can present some challenges. However, a nonprofit organization in northeast Ohio is working to illuminate the situation and make it safer for riders on the road.

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Volunteers from Bike Cleveland are on a mission to improve visibility for cyclists during these darker hours. Diana Hildebrand, the education and outreach manager at Bike Cleveland, shared their vision, saying, “Why be in the dark when we can give this opportunity to everybody?”

Ohio non-profit’s mission to improve visibility 

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Hildebrand and a group of dedicated cyclists surprised fellow cyclists in the neighborhood one evening with what they call ‘Random Acts of Brightness.’ Their plan was to install front and rear lights on bicycles that lacked those. The goal was clear—to ensure that cyclists have the necessary lighting to be seen on the road.

Hildebrand explains the importance of these lights, stating, “They’re giving motorists an opportunity to see that there is something up ahead and that the motorists can go ahead and start reacting in enough time to give us our space.”

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In Ohio, it’s a requirement for bicycles to have a working white headlight and red taillight when traveling at night. However, not everyone is aware of these regulations or has the means to equip their bikes accordingly. Hildebrand emphasizes that nighttime shouldn’t limit outdoor activities, saying, “Just because it’s nighttime doesn’t mean I have to go in the house. I can still be outside and having fun.”

“I never would have thought in all my wildest dreams that this would be something I would be doing, especially at this age,” she admits of her late discovered passion. Now, she enjoys sharing her love for the sport with her son, who appreciates the added safety of bike lights.

“It grabs people’s attention and tells them we’re here,” her son, Abran, notes. However, he’s not a huge fan of nighttime rides, citing the annoyance of insects and bugs flying around.

But for many cyclists like Brian Barksdale, riding a bike is a major mode of transportation.

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Close calls with drivers not noticing him on the road. “Somebody not long ago almost doored me,” he recalls, “But, thank God I was paying attention.”

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Others like Bob Curran have experienced more severe incidents. Curran has had mirrors knock into him, causing him to fall. To enhance his visibility and safety, he uses wheel lights, wears bright clothing, and, of course, ensures his bike is well-lit.

Curran passionately advocates for increased illumination, reminding fellow cyclists, “If you want to go home and enjoy tomorrow, if your family wants to see ya, be seen. Be safe.”

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Bike Cleveland’s initiative aims to provide and install free lights for cyclists who may not have access to them. Their “Random Acts of Brightness” events seek to make nighttime cycling safer for everyone. So, as the nights get longer and darker this fall, cyclists in northeast Ohio can ride with the confidence that they are both seen and safe on the roads.

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Written by:

Naman Singh

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Naman Singh is a writer at EssentiallySports who covers Sports Viral Moments. His arsenal is well-rounded and he surely knows how to keep the readers engaged. Naman is interested in covering live events, as well as the off-court drama that comes with it.
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Edited by:

Yeswanth Praveen

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