On Sunday morning, the clocks went back; which means many fewer concious hours in daylight for the next few months. My next evening commute in daylight will be be Feb/March time & from the back end of November, I'll have six weeks of commuting in the morning in darkness.
When working office hours, the first commute in the dark comes as a shock since it'd been light until six on Friday & today it was getting dark as I was leaving work. & the first nigh-time commute of the season is always a little anxiety provoking; especially with a new bike. I also had the opportunity to try the lights in anger for the first time, as well as to see whether traffic reacted differently.
The opening 2km were a huge traffic jam that took me nearly 20 minutes to clear (I really don't want to filter just now). Whilst that was annoying, it was a good opportunity to test how well I was being seen. The answer was, as ever in the VM, far too well. As the road opened out, I held primary at 40 ish km/h & traffic held back & passed wide when it did go past. So I was either far more visible than I normally am on the road, or it was magic... Despite the comments of someone who is clearly a risk to bollards, children and prams (NSFW language used in link, be warned!), I'm going to guess that it was the former. I have never had road room like I did today. OK, it helps that I'm holding a bit more speed, but even so. Tonight, on a bit of dual carriageway, a driver slowed and flashed me out having noticed the roadworks in my lane. Said driver can only have had me in his eyeline for less than 2 seconds &, as he passed, I saw that it was a black cab driver: not your stereotypical cycle-concious driver. (Chapeau, sir, if you are reading this, that was a courteous & aware piece of driving). & a bus driver picked me in his side mirror from 50+m away (I was slowing to let him out of the bus stop (partly out of politeness & partly in fear that he hadn't seen me), but he didn't pick that I was slowing. I had to actually stop for a couple of seconds before he moved. I'm guessing he saw me, despite being in a huge vehicle with limited visibility, poor lighting for night vision & a huge number of distractions).
Night commuting by velomobile is OK, then. It takes a chunk more concentration and I am really glad I got mirrors on both sides, but I didn't feel worried at all once I got going. Once again, it outperforms my other machines by a good margin as a commuter.
So if you hear someone tell you that VMs or recumbents are difficult to see (or that the riders "would be better off going to Dignitas"), point them in this direction & point out that thousands of Glasgow drivers can see me incredibly clearly, even in the dark. If you, as a driver, can't see recumbents, maybe it's time to stop driving since you appear to be in 99.9th percentile of incompetence...