The blinding light of the low sun

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
Hi,
Today i thought I would try a new route in order to commute to work. The direct route involves a very busy fast moving A road which i don't particularly like. 16 miles each way in dark rush hour traffic really isn't fun and always feel vulnerable along it.
After studying a few options, the next best would be a 20 mile each way route. It would be a bit of a push, but if its quieter it may be worth it (or so i thought)
I set the route into my garmn to which it lied by telling me it was only 14 miles each way and set off.
Well what an evil route it was!!
The first few miles took me over some remote single track lanes strewn with pot holes and steep climbs. The next 8 miles turned out to be ok but there was a sting in the tail.
As i turned left for the remaining 8 or so miles i was hit by the blinding light of the low sun reflecting off the road.
I didn't like this one bit. I could hardly see the road in front and was worried that a passing car may not see me.
It got to the point that every time i heard a car coming up from behind i would pull over just to be on the safe side..
The section then greated me with a 2 mile steep climb, and barely turning the granny ring gasping for breath.
After arriving in a right old state at my work place i decided to take the easier route home along the fast A road.
So it's back to the drawing board again to find a more suitable route 😕
 
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mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
The sun will be in a different direction at that time in a few days. Try it again then. Or vary your time if possible.

I can see into bright sun (faulty eyes) but like you, I worry about the drivers behind. Over a fifth of the shoots can't see well enough to drive in ordinary conditions, according to surveys, let alone low sun!
 

Magpies

Regular
Location
Cambridgeshire
Seasonal hazard at this time of the year. I have to cycle directly sun-wards for a good part of my morning commute, and try to stay off roads and on cycle paths as much as I can to avoid semi-blinded motorists. Forgot to wear my sunglasses a couple of days ago, and the ride was not pleasant!
 
OP
johnnyb47

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
You kind of get that horrible paranoid feeling when a car is behind you, thinking have they seen me. With the sun blazing through the windscreen, a cyclist is silhouetted down the road, and as there narrow ( apart from me) you can see how accidents happen. It only takes a driver to not be concentrating for a moment for an accident to happen.
Just the other week i got stopped by a patrol police officer telling me to take care cycling in the low sun as a cyclist up the road had been knocked over, with the driver claiming it was due to the blinding low sun.
I always think late Autumn early spring are particularly bad times for cyclists because commuting at 7/8am and home for 5/6pm is when the sun is at its lowest. What makes matters worse from the drivers point of view is when the roads are wet. The low sun light reflects off the wet roads making it even worse. I have a particularly low car and find low sun light a big problem and really take care.. When i was driving trucks a few years back and sitting higher up, it was much less of a problem.
 

CanucksTraveller

Macho Business Donkey Wrestler
Location
Hertfordshire
A colleague of mine named Tom Barrett lost his life on the A40 in West London some years ago when a van driver ploughed on at 60mph regardless, despite being blinded by low winter sun. He went straight through poor Tom who was legally (although inadvisedly) in lane 1 of the 3 lane dual carriageway doing about 25mph on a road bike. The courts sympathised with the van driver of course, saying he had no chance of seeing Tom in those conditions. It was big news at the time.

It's a real killer, I try to avoid conditions like those wherever I can. When drivers get blinded they often don't slow or stop, they'll just plough on believing they know the road they're on, (if not what may be on it that day).
 

mjr

Comfy armchair to one person & a plank to the next
They're not accidents in the strictest sense because driving blind and not slowing down is incompetent driving. It's a shame there's not some sort of testing regime which could deny people licence to drive until they learn not to do that(!)
 
OP
johnnyb47

johnnyb47

Veteran
Location
Wales
That's sad and sobering to read.. Your absolutely right in that some drivers don't adjust their speeds or awareness to blinding sun, or other road conditions for that matter. The vast majority of them do, but the ones that don't can bring death to our road's and heartache to our loved ones.
It's frightening to think our lives as a cyclist are in the hands of motorists.
I've noticed the older i get the more I've become aware and worried about being safe on our roads. Whether I'm driving or cycling, i see every junction, fast overtaking car or adverse weather more of a hazard.
When i was young and stupid i had no fear of the dangers of roads. Motorbikes where ridden enthusiastically, cars where driven without fear of the consequences, and cycling along unsuitable dangerous roads never bothered me. As you get older though you realise after losing so many good friends to road traffic accidents how fragile life is.
 

steveindenmark

Legendary Member
I have 3 flashing lights on the back of my bike and one on my helmet. When I have trouble seeing in any condition, I assume drivers have the same problem and I switch them all on. Not on blinding power either.
I would be interested in knowing the ops start and end positions for their route to work.
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Valhalla
People who can't see due to low sun, yet who continue to drive despite having no forward vision, should be imprisoned for manslaughter when they kill. We're so soft on road crime in the UK and it makes my blood boil - the law, judiciary, and often the police, simply regard such things as the regrettable cost of doing business...lazy, careless, thoughtless, self entitled, car driving business.
 

Venod

Eh up
Location
Yorkshire
It wasn't the driver from behind who hit me with the bright sun excuse but the driver coming at me head on, the sun was behind me and the oncoming traffic was taking it very cautiously because of the blinding light they were driving into, they guy who hit me must have got impatient so he pulled out to overtake hitting me, near head on, my knee put a right dent in his wing, my arm ripped his wing mirror off I hit the deck and broke my shoulder which is know next to useless, the forks broke in half, he was done for driving without due care and attention, be careful in the low sun.
 
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