The rain has stopped (at last), the spring is starting to shine through and I’ve got a few beautiful rides out in the sunshine… and now the fog has descended! The weather, if fog counts as weather, over the past few morning has been diabolical, with thick fog lasting until late in the morning. So what’s the best approach to cycling in the fog.
The first thing to be aware of is that visibility is massively reduced! It sounds obvious, but it’s very different from darkness… if you shine a torch down the road at night, not only will you be able to see forwards, but that light will be obvious to anyone approaching from a considerable distance. The same doesn’t apply in fog, with all visibility severely curtailed. So any vehicle driving along a road, let’s assume that they are driving fairly sensibly, will have a lot less time to see you and your lights, so will have less time to react if they need to avoid you. This means that cycling in fog is intrinsically more dangerous than riding at night, and given a choice I’d be tempted to avoid being out in the fog.
However if you do need to cycle in fog, is there anything that you can do to help matters?
Good lights, especially strong flashing LED lights, have to be the top priority. They cut through the murk and will give the best advance warning for approaching drivers. Always double-up on your lights as well – the extra lighting will help, but if one fails (and you probably won’t know, as you’ll be pedalling away frantically) you’ll still be protected.
I’m not a great fan of hi-viz clothing, and prefer to create a high contrast shape against the various street furniture, but in the fog you need to be seen against a grey backdrop, so in this case hi-viz clothing must be the way to go.
Lights and clothing assume that the visibility doesn’t drop, as it tends to do as the fog swirls around, or the ongoing driver is being reasonably sensible. So I reckon the best advice has to be – stay alert, listen for oncoming traffic and be ready to be the one that takes avoiding action. I know that this goes against much of the best practice about riding defensively and cyclists having as much right to be on the road as other vehicles, etc, etc… but fog is very different, so you need to ride differently and ride safely.
Hope that helps… It’s nearly midday now and the fog is lifting, maybe I’ll get a ride in later.