Darker Days for Bike Commuters, Pedestrians - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Darker Days for Bike Commuters, Pedestrians

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With an extensive network of bike lanes, Reno has never been more bicycle-friendly…it has brought out more bikers. For vehicle drivers, that means more to watch out for. With sunset now before 5:00pm, the danger is seeing the bikes in the first place. These days, pedestrians and bicycle commuters are becoming more invisible to area drivers.

It seems everyone enjoyed turning their clocks back an hour last weekend, but not Daly Costanza. She commutes from her home in D'Andrea in Sparks to her job at UNR. It's now too dark for her to feel safe on the ride home. As she told us, "I think I'm going to try to get out a little earlier, about 4:00. I came to work early, just because of the darkness."

Daly is one of hundreds in town who use a bike as their transportation to work and back. These days, the coming back is a lot more treacherous than it was. Some days, Daly says "I'll ride to work and my husband will pick me up, because it's just not that safe to go home that late."

The danger is real. At the non-profit Reno Bike Project, manager Kurstin Graham, who's been in the bike business for 14 years now, says "Whether you're a bicycle rider or a pedestrian, you don't realize how invisible you are in the evenings." On Monday, the day after the time change, a pedestrian was killed after being hit by a vehicle in Lemmon Valley…in the early dark before 6:00pm.

For those on feet or two wheels, Kurstin showed us what you need to be seen at night. The must haves: the white light in front and a blinking red light in the rear. Second, he said to "wear light-colored clothes. I always recommend a light-colored helmet, anything to make yourself visible. We really need to stack the odds in our favor." Kurstin says despite all the new bike lanes and education, two-wheeled riders still have a hard time in what seems like a 4-wheeled world, especially in the dark.

Bike commuters like Billy Vicks are lighting up. He showed us his bike: behind his seat, he strapped on lights. He found a gap in his helmet where he fit in another pair of LED lights, all super bright he says. He also wears a headband light, because early sunset is also the time when the road turns against him: "Like a small pothole, a car can ride right over that. But a bicycle, you have to really watch the road and avoid things on the road."

Daly Costanza found a fluorescent backpack, and clipped a flashing red light on the back. She picked a white bike, and a white helmet. Still, she worries when it gets dark. She just had a close call, so keep an eye out for her and others...sharing the road.

Written by John Potter

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