SAN FRANCISCO, CA (BRAIN)—Through Dec. 15, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is taking to the streets to help cyclists ride more safely at night. For the fifth consecutive year, the advocacy group has partnered with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency for “Light Up the Night,” which hands out 2,000 free lights to riders throughout the city.
“We basically set up along busy bike routes at rush hour, and we keep the locations secret so we can distribute the lights to the people who really need them,” said Leah Shahum, executive director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
On weeknights between 5 and 7 p.m., volunteers trained by the coalition help cyclists install lights and hand out information on California’s light and reflector laws as well as guidelines about how to ride safely at night. Efforts are focused on underserved communities where cyclists might not be able to afford lights, and educational materials are printed in English, Spanish and Mandarin, Shahum noted.
“Light Up the Night” is a city-funded program staffed entirely by volunteers and serves a population that has seen explosive cycling growth in recent years: From 2006 to 2010, riding in San Francisco has grown 58 percent, Shahum said, quoting city statistics.
“I was handing out lights [last] Monday, and there was such a broad spectrum of people riding—parents riding with their kids, so many older people. It’s pretty amazing,” Shahum said.