Operation Illumination Bike Light giveaway on November 7

Bright idea! Join is this Wednesday for our Operation Illumination Bike Light giveaway.

On Wednesday, November 7th, Bike Pittsburgh will host the last Operation Illumination Bike Light giveaway of the year! Even though the clocks have fallen back, you can still enjoy your usual commute by bicycle. Biking is a great way to get through the dark-before-six blues, but shorter days mean more of us are commuting when road visibility is especially poor.

Riding without lights not only makes bicyclists near-invisible after dark – it’s also a ticketable offense. PA state law requires a front lights and rear reflectors to be visible after dusk and before dawn. Lightless biking is risky, and whether people are simply unaware or they cannot afford lights, we want to ensure that they are covered.

This year of bike light giveaways is made possible due to the generous donation by Highmark and 5801 Video Lounge and Café who have noticed the lack of lights on local bicycles and wanted to help support getting more lights out to people.

Cyclists who stop by will also receive BikePGH’s Biking 101 Guide (a graphic comic which tells you the basics of biking safely in the city of bridges) and the Pittsburgh Bike Map

What to expect?

BIKE LIGHTS!  The Operation Illumination pop-up will be held in Schenley Plaza, located between the Carnegie and Hillman libraries. BikePGH staff and volunteers will install bike lights until time or supplies run out (whichever comes first). Unlit cyclists will be flagged down and called over so we can install front and rear light sets on their bikes.

Event Details:

Where: Schenley Plaza in Oakland
When:  Wednesday, November 7th
                5 PM – 7 PM (or until supplies run out)
Disclaimer: We will only install lights directly on unlit bikes. Please be sure to bring your UNLIT BIKE, as we cannot install the lights without a bike present. We do this to ensure that we are giving lights to those without the means to purchase them.

Tips for Riding in the Dark:

  • Dress brightly: Wear reflective materials and/or bright-colored attire (high visibility helmet, jacket, shoes, and gloves are all items you can buy at your local bike shop). Reflective tape or stickers for your bicycle and gear are also a great investment.
  • Illuminate your ride: Use a white headlight and a rear reflector (or better yet, a red tail light) when riding in the dark. Try rechargeable batteries and keep your bike lights charged. Sick of dealing with batteries? A generator hub and light set may be a better option for you. PA state law states that the reflector and lights must be visible for 500 feet. Grab a friend and photograph each others’ bikes from a distance to see how visible your really are.
  • Assume drivers don’t see you: Err on the side of caution and don’t assume that a driver can see you, even when you have the right of way. Give traffic an extra look before crossing at intersections.

Since 2011, Bike Pittsburgh has been giving away hundreds of free bike lights annually with it’s Operation Illumination program.

BikePGH cares about riders’ safety and education, and this is one of the most direct ways that we can interact with our community to provide that assistance. Join BikePGH in giving back to the cycling community and make a contribution to the Operation Illumination program today. ($30 is the cost of one set of lights for an unlit rider.)


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