Smile Politely

Light your bike Thursday

On Thursday, September 15, teams of volunteers including law enforcement, will install free bicycle lights on bikes on the U of I Campus. Bicycle lights will be installed from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. at two University of Illinois campus locations:

  • Illinois Street and Lincoln Avenue

  • Fourth Street and Gregory Drive

Bicycles will be equipped with a ‘Blinky’ safety set of front and rear lights by teams of volunteers at each location. Lights will only be installed on bicycles without lights; lights will not be given to individuals.

Approximately 800 bike light sets were installed on bikes at last year’s event. The purpose of the campaign is to improve the visibility of bicyclists at night while educating riders about the safety benefits of a bicycle light and the requirement for a front and rear bike light as specified in Illinois law for operation of bicycles at night. The Illinois rules state that every bicycle when in use at nighttime must be equipped with a lamp on the front able to emit a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet, and with a red reflector on the rear visible from 100-600 feet. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

With daylight hours shrinking, and Daylight Savings Time fast approaching, the CATS Education Subcommittee thinks this is an ideal time to remind bicyclists of the need for front and rear bike lights in low light conditions. Drivers should also be reminded to be alert for bicycle traffic at all times of day and night, and to remember that bicycles travel on the same roads, must obey the same rules, and have the same rights as automobiles.

The CATS Education Subcommittee is composed of representatives of the C-U MTD, City of Urbana, City of Champaign, Champaign County Regional Planning Commission, and the University of Illinois. The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign and Champaign County Bikes Club have been instrumental in developing this campaign and providing hundreds of volunteer hours to make the project a huge success. Planet Bike helped make the light sets affordable for purchase by member agencies.

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