April 18, 2014
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5 Things To Do When Riding at Night

Ah, Winter. Cloudy skies, snowy white outs, extra hours of darkness. What’s not to love? In honor of the season, we’ve put together this top five list to encourage safe travel to and from the bus stop in this challenging season.

"Armory & Wright" "bus stop"

Bus pulls away from Armory & Wright bus stop.

Wear Reflective Clothing/Light Colors

It may be dorky, but safety is no geeky matter. Most people don a black or blue winter coat and this helps you blend in to nighttime surroundings. So unless camouflage is your goal, consider a lighter color coat and bright gloves, scarf, and hat. Consider purchasing a coat with reflective strips sewn in or purchasing reflective arm bands.

Carry a Flashlight or Reflective Piece

Even if both of your bus stops are well-lit, you’ll likely have some amount of walking between destinations. So light the night! Attach a blinking light, flashlight, or at the very least something reflective, to your accessories like a backpack or purse. These items cover your person and can be transformed into extra visibility insurance.

Be at the Stop 5 Minutes Before

We stand by our STOPwatch real-time departure information, but the times provided are estimates. When you access the data (by text, app, phone, or m.cumtd.com), it is returning a snapshot of the bus’s current location and calculating when it will depart the stop you are at. Buses often pick up and lose time along a route depending on the luck of the lights and passenger loads. So give us, and yourself, a cushion. Refresh the STOPwatch departure times and get to the stop before the countdown hits five minutes.

Give Us a Wave

This is a bus riding 101. Give your arm a shake when you see the bus approaching. In light or dark hours, this helps alert the operator of your intention to board. After all, you could just be taking a break on your walk or waiting to cross the street.

"Transit Plaza" "night"

Even in a well-lit area like the Transit Plaza on Wright Street, it’s difficult to see much ahead or around you.

Be Where We Expect You

If you’re a pedestrian, stay on the sidewalks and crosswalks. If you’re a bicyclist, use the bike lanes and signal your intentions. Please wait for the appropriate signals at stoplights. Gain eye contact anytime you’re crossing the street to make certain you and our operators (or any driver of a vehicle) are thinking what you’re thinking.

There you have it! Five things guaranteed to increase safety during nighttime travel as well as catching the bus success rates. Did we miss anything?

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About Amy Snyder

Amy Snyder is the Communications Specialist at the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District. She writes and manages content for this blog, The Inside Lane, as well as the social media pages for CUMTD.
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3 Responses to 5 Things To Do When Riding at Night

  1. Jason Elliot Benda says:

    Combining #2 with #4: I’m in the habit of signaling the operator with my Annual Pass. It’s a bit reflective, and I’ve had at least one operator tell me the Annual Pass is easy to spot being flashed by a rider at the stop a few hundred feet away. (I do this in the daytime as well as at night. If I rode more at night – insert plea for evening service on the 30 Lavender here – I would probably carry that blinky light I’ve got with the MTD logo on it.)

    • Amy Snyder says:

      That’s a great idea about flashing your Annual Pass! We’ll be sure to share that with passengers. And 10-4 on the 30 Lavender Evening plea. Note to readers: 30 Lavender Sunday daytime service began December 22, 2013!

  2. A.Jones says:

    Now that we have begun the New Year, we are all looking forward to spring. Yes it’s cold, but we have been in this place before! We live in North America and every year we suffer from the cold, but spring is just around the corner. There is a reason I am reminding you of this: we have a lot to be thankful for, but too many of our friends and family have been involved in PEDESTRIAN FALITIES due to poor visibility, daily stress, dark clothing, cell phones, and many other distractions.

    That is the reason behind the brand Visible Couture, a blend of fashion and safety. We are trying to slow down the increasing number of PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES every year, and if during 2014 our product were to save one person, we would have accomplished our objective.

    After many years of PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES caused by SOBER drivers, we began developing accessories to be worn on jackets and dresses. We pushed on and did more: we applied 3M reflective materials directly onto the fabric, which REFLECTS LIGHT back to the source making you even more visible in the early MORNING, EVENING and at NIGHT. You can choose a design from our selection, or send us your own image, which Visible Couture will then trim the reflective material to your selection of clothing.

    Check out Visible Couture’s highly visible and trendy reflective clothing and accessories that’s suitable for every age and lifestyle.
    Shop online at http://www.visiblecouture.com

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Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District
1101 East University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802-2009
(217) 384-8188
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