As if a mid-latitude hurricane wasn’t enough, we’re looking at another challenge to bike commuting: diminishing daylight. Today, the sun sets at 5:45. We’re losing about three minutes a day right now. But next Monday? 4:41, after you factor in that afternoon gift we got on March 14: daylight saving time.
As the office gets a little dimmer and I navigate my keyboard right now at 6 p.m., I consider the new navigation challenges I’ll have riding home at about 6 p.m. next week: total darkness.
Darkness and rain, particularly taken together, add safety concerns to my ride home. Basically, I can’t see as well, drivers can’t see as well, effective stopping distance is longer for bikes and cars due to wet rims (or discs…or drums) and there are water hazards in play. Not surprisingly, daylight saving time reduces traffic fatalities—including fatal pedestrian crashes.
So you’re just about ready to curse that New Zealand entomologist who invented daylight saving time. Not so fast. This is all about perspective. Just like we can tinker with our clocks, we can tinker with our attitude. Goodbye doom, hello opportunity. At the very least, we get an extra bonus hour of sleep Saturday night. And the morning commute next week will be amazing. For awhile anyway, the sun will rise at about 7 a.m. (instead of 8). It’ll give some of us the opportunity to take the long way to work, to go for a run before our ride, or just to be able to enjoy some daylight before the workday.
Goodbye evening, but hello morning. As you adjust, remember to ride safely (check out our classes on winter riding and lighting)—and drive safely. And enjoy Monday morning. It might not be sunny, but it’ll be much brighter.