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news & stories from the City of Auburn

Why are light reflectors so important?

Wearing reflective gear is key to preventing accidents during hours of darkness.

According to the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety, the number of adult pedestrians killed at dawn or dusk increased by 41% between 2009 and 2018. Many pedestrians and cyclists have a false belief that light reflectors are not necessary in the early morning or late afternoon. With the days growing shorter and the sun setting earlier, wearing light reflectors is a must when traveling by foot or bicycle.

Light reflectors provide visibility during darkness, helping lower the rate of nighttime collisions between pedestrians and motor vehicles. These deaths are mostly preventable, which is why light reflectors remain important to use.

Did you know motorists can spot you from 500 feet away when you use a light reflector? This gives drivers a 10-second cushion to slow down and ensure they can safely go around you.

Light reflectors are so vital that they made it into Auburn's City Code. Section 13-11 states that everyone walking or running after dark must wear reflective material between the waist and shoulders on both front and back. While this applies to walkers and joggers in the roadway, it's safest to wear reflective material even if you plan to be on a sidewalk since you'll likely enter the roadway when crossing intersections. Bicyclists are required to have a headlight on the front of their bicycles and reflectors on the front and rear spokes of the wheels and pedals of their bikes.

Keep these additional tips in mind to stay safe this winter:

  • Wear bright colors. Pedestrians and cyclists who wear brighter colored clothing enhance their visibility even more from dusk to dawn. Don't forget your light reflectors too!
  • No exceptions. Many pedestrians and cyclists assume street lights are enough to be distinguishable by drivers. This is a myth! Light reflectors are always the safest bet to remain visible.
  • Be proactive. If you are somewhere past nightfall and will be walking or biking home, always plan ahead! Pack light reflectors in a bag so you will be prepared to safely make your way home.