Combining data from the Sheriff’s office, which records light conditions, and the California Highway Patrol, which records time of day, we can take a look at the frequency of accidents during different times of day. There are a number of different causes which can affect the proportion of accidents at different times of day.

From the baseline, traffic increases significantly during rush hour, and decreases significantly in the middle of the night. Part of the large proportion of daytime accidents comes from schoolchildren commuting to school, and their parents. Said a recent Cupertino High School graduate, “the only time I feel nervous walking in Cupertino is around Tino before first period. People drive like maniacs.” Reducing dangerous driving is a necessary part of increasing pedestrian and bicyclist safety, along with the planned sidewalk changes and proposed speed tables surrounding Cupertino High School and the proposed bike lanes along McClellan Road near Monta Vista High School.

However, 39 night-time accidents is nothing to sneeze at. Cyclists can improve their night riding safety by being vigilant about riding on the correct side of the street, using reflectors and other lights as required by state law, and wearing light or brightly-colored clothing. Visibility is for your safety as well as that of motorists. Pedestrians should also consider wearing light-colored clothing and be more careful about street crossings, especially those not at stoplights or stop signs.

No matter the light conditions, careful cycling, walking, and driving can improve your risk of getting into an accident. Consider your conditions and the requirements upon you (especially those imposed by the state on cyclists!)