I decided to go for a walk after work Thursday night to check out the Christmas lights. I really enjoy how some of our neighbors go all out with the lights and decorations! (Then there are houses that not only do not have Christmas lights on, inside or out, but not a single light or sign of life. I wonder if they are elderly people who need assistance, and hope they are cared for.) Apparently the trend in outside holiday lighting is some sort of projection light that makes houses seem to have green and red measles! Here are some of my favorites:

But while I was out, I had the opportunity, since I was on foot, of taking photos of something that bothers me during this time of year.

Can you spot the guy on his bike?

Can you spot the guy on his bike?

Can you spot the guy jogging?

Can you spot the guy jogging?

First of all, my ‘hood has spotty sidewalk placement, so anyone out on foot is often IN the street. Second of all, you can see how dark the streets are – street lights are few and far between in this area. I guess the NIMBYs don’t want bright lights shining in their windows. Then again, they probably aren’t out walking after dark, either.

The guy in the photo on the bike didn’t even have reflectors on his bike. It made me sad, because he looked like a low-income man coming home from work, or maybe even headed to work – one of those who probably needs a bike, and would be in a lot of trouble (aka, no health insurance) if he was injured while riding the bike. I didn’t even have lights to give him, assuming I could have caught up with him.

The guy in the photo who was jogging was wearing an orange hi viz shirt – see how well that worked? I guess he would show up better in car lights, but on my bike I’d have trouble seeing him until he reached my bike light area. Lights would help him, and everyone around him, because we’d know where he was far away enough to adjust our travel accordingly. Swerving at the last minute isn’t good for drivers in cars or people riding bikes.

You know me, I’m all about the reflective stuff! But being out on these streets lately has made me realize how ineffective the reflective is without lights to catch it. That is, people wearing lights simply show up better, no matter how small the light is. I can spot someone coming towards me in the dark as I am biking home if they are wearing a light, but not always if they are wearing reflective gear. (Note: I wore a pale colored coat, an arm band light and reflective pant straps to go for my walk.) Maybe it’s just neighborhood streets that I should worry about with regards to visibility. Are your neighborhoods as poorly lit?

I don’t believe that people are at fault if something happens to them while they are out in the dark without lights or reflective gear. I generally assume it is the fault of the driver. In my experience, drivers are NOT paying enough attention. <put down the *&$%#@%^ phone!!!!> However, maybe if these guys knew how truly hard they are to see while they are out and about at night, they would stop and think about adding a light or two. Regardless of whether you do or don’t add a light, please, please be careful! I do worry about people in the dark. Christmas Lights 5

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