eMERGE's photo.

GUELPH — If you’re riding your bike to Hillside Festival next weekend, you’ll want to remember that it gets dark at night.

People know it gets dark at night, of course. But just how dark it is outside of the city comes as a surprise to a lot of cyclists, says Evan Ferrari, executive director of eMERGE Guelph.

So in the interest of safety, the City of Guelph and eMERGE Guelph will be giving out front and rear reflective strips at the festival to those who don’t have them.

Hillside will also have a quantity of bike lights for sale for those who don’t have one of those either. A station will be set up near the bike lock-up area.

“They are required under the Highway Traffic Act,” Ferrari said in an interview, stressing that every cyclist needs a headlight, reflective strips and a bell or horn and the smart cyclist wears a helmet too.

The fine for not having a light is $500 and $110 for not having reflective strips.

“This is not so much about the fines,” Ferrari said. “This is about not being hit.”

Ferrari said 600 people rode their bikes to Hillside last year — a phenomenal 10 per cent of attendees, especially since the cycling modal split for Guelph is less than two per cent.

“We try to make it easy to say yes to cycling,” Ferrari said. “We want people to feel comfortable biking to Guelph Lake. But people often don’t have all the gear. So people will be offered these reflective strips for free.”

Ferrari said volunteers will help install the strips.

See the full story here from the Guelph Mercury.