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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Running or cycling at night has its attractions. For one, there are times of the year that it’s just not light outside when you’re not at work. During other times of the year, social and family obligations can make it late in the day before you have a chance to get outside.

As quiet and serene as nighttime cycling and running can seem, the dark carries inherent threads. Watch out for these distractions to stay safe at night.

1. Other runners or cyclists Fellow runners and cyclists can be a big distraction, especially at night. You wonder if you know them; you check out their equipment; you wonder where they are going. If they are attractive and of the opposite sex, well...that’s another distraction. It’s not easy to identify people at night, so it takes more concentration, attention that should be focused on the road.

2. Animals Cute or snarling, wild or tame, animals can be head-turners. Some animals, like deer, seem to come out of nowhere, especially at night. Other, tame animals are distracting because they are so adorable. Whatever the reason, don’t let animals cause you to let down your guard at night.

3. Equipment issues Running shoes that rub, an ill-adjusted seat or a squeaky wheel can take your attention off of what’s right in front of you. Make sure that your equipment and clothing are in top shape before heading out on the road. Even the most alert runner will be distracted by growing blisters.

4. Music Yes, listening to music makes running or cycling more enjoyable, but it also makes it more difficult for you to hear oncoming traffic, other cyclists or runners telling you to move, dogs barking or any number of threats. It’s much safer to leave your iPod or MP3 player at home.

Staying safe while running or cycling at night requires that you be a little more vigilant than you would be during the daylight hours. Make sure that you avoid distractions and wear reflective clothing, such as our variety of reflective vests. It’s also wise to make sure that you have a cell phone with you in case of an emergency, to choose well-lit routes and to vary your routine regularly, just in case someone is viewing you as a target.

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