Daylight Savings Time ended on November 1, and while everyone most likely enjoyed the extra hour of sleep, it also means that our morning commutes are now a little lighter and our afternoon commutes are steadily increasing into total darkness as winter approaches. For those of us who commute via bicycle, this means braving the bike lanes during rush hour is even more dangerous because cars are less likely to see us. That is exactly why the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition and the SFMTA have teamed up once again for their annual "Light up the Night" program, a citywide campaign to distribute and install free bike lights to those riding without them.
Last week the first of four Service Stations were set up at Market and Octavia Streets from 5-7 during the evening rush hour when bicycle commuter traffic is heaviest, thus the greatest number of riders could be reached. According to Kristin Smith, Communications Director for the SFBC, 325 lights were installed in that two hour span of time, for free.
Each of the light distribution locations is kept secret prior to the event, said Smith, because "we want lights to go to people who really need them, either to people who can't afford them or aren't aware that front and rear lights are required by California law."
If you are riding without lights, are too broke to buy your own, or you would just like a back-up set, don't fret. The next Service Station will be located somewhere in the Mission District on Thursday, November 15. Here's an insider hint: The location will be on a street with high bike traffic and this particular location will be bilingual, with Spanish-speaking volunteers. Our bets would be that it will be located near (or even at) one of the Mission Bart Stations. The lights are intended to go to those in need, so please respect what the SFBC and MTA are trying to do for the thousands of cyclists that are on the road each day.
Below is the scheduling for the remaining stations. Don't miss out on getting a set of free lights and commuting by bike safely and visibly!