HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - James Moore, who owns Moore’s Bike Shop and has been in business for over three decades, said he’s seen his fair share of accidents involving bicyclist throughout the Pine Belt.
He said with the recent time change, it gets darker a lot earlier than usual around this time of year and it could pose a threat to bicyclists.
“Less than 4 percent of bicycling in this country take place after dark, but out of that 4 percent that’s where half the fatalities occur,” Moore said.
In his experience dangerous accidents occur for two reasons.
“In some cases, it’s the cyclist fault because they were not where they were expected to be seen," Moore said. “They were riding on the wrong side of the road or they were not visible at all at night by not having the safety features.”
To prevent low visibility on the road, you must follow the state laws for bicycling after dark.
“Its Mississippi law that your bike has a light on it on the front at night, but it’s common sense to have a light on the rear as well so that people coming up behind you can see you,” said More.
Aside from your bike itself being properly lit, Moore said there are accessories you can wear to ensure drivers see you on the road.
“It also helps if you have a reflective vest like Jenny has on here and you can be seen 360 degrees all the way around with the reflective vest that she’s got,” said Moore.
He added that when there’s an accident, all the blame can’t necessarily go on the biker.
“Cyclist have been killed because the drivers were inattentive," Moore said. “The drivers were texting on a cellphone or taking a call or paying attention to things in a car rather than things in front of it.”
So, he offered this advice if you’re behind the wheel:
“If you’re behind that wheel, keep your focus on what’s ahead of you at all times,” said Moore.
And for people on two wheels:
“You need to drive assuming that no one else can see you so you need to drive very defensively, but you need equipped with that helmet in case you do encounter an unfortunate accident,” Moore said.