I've gotten a bit of a "view from behind the windshield" this week of a cyclist in the dark while I'm up here in Quebec. It has put me into a bit of a quandary. The cyclist in question has the legally required equipment and, in addition, wears high vis clothing.
Despite this, and despite the fact that I am FAR more attentive to cyclists than are most motorists, I found it difficult to judge closing parameters and how best to pass. Perhaps this is due to a combination of snow alongside the road, lights from other traffic, and perhaps a far, "off to the right" lane position.
My best photo of the situation is shown below. And in case you were wondering, my training kicked in and I made a full lane change when it was safe to do so in order to pass. A couple of motorists followed my example instead of cutting the guy close. Perhaps occasional ice contributed.
I'm not suggesting things would necessarily have been helped had he been riding in a more assertive lane position (though I believe it likely), but I was surprised to see what little help any of that high vis stuff is under the right (actually wrong) conditions.
Just sayin, be careful out there in the dark, snowy conditions. AND, if you often drive and encounter cyclists in the dark with other traffic on the road, how do YOUR experiences compare. Back in Texas Tarrant suburbs, I rarely see cyclists in such condition, though I ride in them daily. Hmm...
UPDATE - The cyclist had a reflector, reflective stripes on his panniers and a high vis vest. The red spot on his helmet is a blinky - looked like a Planet Bike Superflash, though not as bright as mine. I don't recall there being any other light - the low red is a reflector and wasn't very visible until I got close. I do not know if it was a CPSC or SAE reflector. My own reflector is an SAE which reflects better than a regular bike reflector in the lane position I usually am riding on similar roads. I shall have to do a future post comparing reflector types. I did not note it in the original post, but, while I'm far from being an uncritical fan of bike lanes, this might be one situation in which they might really pay off because there are no crossing conflicts and a "to the right" cyclist is difficult to assess and act properly with as a motorist. I do not know if a cyclist assertively controlling the lane would have made it easier - I have never seen one in such conditions.