Is it safe to ride bike on the MTK trail at night?

Is it safe to ride bike on the MTK trail at night?


It’s very dark. Like VERY dark. Unless you have a really bright light, it’s kind of dangerous


I know it is dark, I tried it yesterday and just choose to go the road. And I bought a headlamp today (30 lumen) so I think dark might not be the issue?


Get bike lights. You likely want more than 30 lumens.


I agree, 400 lumens is probably a good minimum.


I tried it today 30 is a bit dark but it is enough for me since I am really familiar with the track. But I might get a brighter one tomorrow. Btw, is the unit lumens linear? So like is 300 lumens 10 times brighter then 30?


Not the originally commentor but the question sent me o. A deep dive. It seems to be rather linear BUT the further away you shine it the more light you need per degree of focus. Like shining a laser point at the moon versus down a bike path. It seems like 30 lumens is good for like 10 meters but if you go for 300 lumens you'll be good, assuming its a specific bike headlight that focuses it instead of throwing it everywhere like, per say, a shop light you hang on a car hood


What time are you leaving and how much cash will you have on you?




I love and hope that you are being sarcastic back at me. I also hope no one is dumb enough to wait to rob someone clearly joking about having a large amount of cash and a laptop on the trail at that time.


I wouldn't, personally. There have been a couple of attacks on the trail that I've remembered over the last couple of decades. It would probably be better to bike than walk, but I wouldn't want to do it. If you're doing it every day or certain days a week at the same time, it would be pretty easy for someone with nefarious intent to figure that out. I wouldn't feel comfortable, as a relatively small woman. I don't know how I'd feel if I was more physically imposing or a guy, though.


2 in the last couple decades. 1:3650 odds then? And thats if you were the only person on the trail that day.


I wouldn’t worry about wild animals except for deer that might run out in front of you. It happens and you don’t want to hit one. Otherwise, I can’t think of any critters that would be a problem. If I were you, I would buy a very bright headlight. I often commute on the trail during the day and have never had a problem. I have only done one night commute because my commute is ten miles and it is very dark and the trail is pretty empty at night. I have a friend who commutes daily almost every day of the year in even the worst weather. He’s never had any problems at night, but then again he’s a guy and can change tires really fast. You could also wear a runner’s personal alarm on your arm. Once activated it will make a lot of noise. You could also download the Strava app; the beacon feature lets you share your location in real time with whoever you choose, ie your parents, friends, etc. RoadID has an app but they are going to start charging for their tracking services. It’s true there have been some attacks on women in the past ten years and they never caught the creeps. Just use your best judgement and stay safe. Edit: typos


Thank you for this long answer. It helps! I will download the app and use a bright light.


You are welcome! Happy pedaling.


Used to make this ride almost daily campus and back to Katy apartments. Sometimes in the dark. Always used a head lamp but ran into some weird stuff getting on the trail downtown. Lots of homeless or drunk/high people hanging out in the dark. Once I got a mile out I always felt a lot better.


Same exact route. The park right at the start of the trail always had the highest concentration of unhoused folks, especially after dark and before dawn. I never felt unsafe as a white male on a moving bike but definitely increased stress and awareness. A tiny handful of times I rode past someone asleep, camping off the trail further in. Once or twice I rode past someone awake and washing up in the creek. I wouldn't do that part as a **run** late at night or super early morning. I did and would do it again on the bike though. For road visibility, I absolutely love my noxgear tracer 360. Unobtrusive to wear and ridiculously eye catching.


I have ridden the trail from Coopers Landing to downtown Columbia after dark. It is DARK. Like kind of unfathomably dark. I would recommend both a bike light and a head lamp. While it is still warm, at least the next couple of weeks, you will hit a million bugs riding after dark. Get clear glasses to protect your eyes and expect bugs to pelt you and get stuck in your helmet. It's a little spooky but also fun. There are LOTS of critters (I've seen raccoons, snakes, skunks, deer and rabbits cross my path when riding after dark.) I've never done it alone, but also rarely saw another person when we did it.


You should be good, most of the people that see you will prolly run cause they think you’re the cops or something. Petty robbery is rare in Columbia especially on a bike


I'd suggest a construction vest an a front light. Being seen is the biggest factor of being safe.


I personally wouldn't, just because there have on rare occasions been problems with the homeless folks who sometimes hang out on the trail. If you do get a standalone bike light in addition to the headlamp. You should be able to manage it <20.


I feel really safe overall in Columbia, but I wouldn’t do that.


What is the main issue? Is it safer to bike on roads?


I’ve been in COMO 6 years. There haven’t been a lot of incidents, but there have been a couple assaults on the trails after dark. And I’m honestly not too worried. I just generally think it’s not a good idea to put yourself into situations where bad things could happen. If I were on the trails after dark, I wouldn’t do it alone. With a group, no problem. But this is basic outdoor safety stuff. Don’t go hiking/climbing/caving/diving/etc alone. I’ll bike alone during the day because there are always tons of people on the trails, but not at just. Cell reception is hit or miss in spots. If you’re alone and something happens (assault, animal attack, personal health issue), you’re basically screwed.


If you have Verizon, there is reliable coverage on the whole MKT. I don’t know anyone who would climb (who would belay you?), cave, or dive alone but hiking alone is fine. Tell someone where you’re going and when you’ll be back. If it’s your first time hiking, don’t start in the Gans Creek area at night but otherwise, heck yeah, get out there!


If you have AT&T, coverage sucks.


Lots of people referencing the attacks in the past ten years neglect to mention that most of them were in broad daylight, middle of the afternoon. The trail is as safe as anywhere else on Columbia at night. I'd avoid the area that runs into Flat Branch Park downtown, lots of homeless and drunkards hang out there, but generally anything west of Providence is fine. If you're moving on a bike with plenty of lights, or have one of the apps that others have mentioned, you're probably fine. Just keep your eyes open.


Yeah, I am leaving from the engineering department, so it is west the providence Blvd. Thank you! I will keep my eyes open:-)


I would avoid the trail at night if I were you, an extra mile is worth being safe.


Just be cautious. Columbia isn't as safe as it seems. All it takes is one person, on one night to cause a real tragedy. If I were you I would alternate between using the trail and toad at random times. I would avoid a regular sched to avoid a pre planned attack by homeless people. The current economy has made a lot of people very desperate. A lone person at night on the trail is quite an easy target........ Especially if you know in advance when they will be there..... Please err on the side of caution in this matter.


I think you are safer on the trail. Yes there is some minimal risk. But that risk pales in comparison to the risk og getting taken out by a driver who is texting or intoxicated.


Just pack some heat and you'll be fine


Some that mean? "Pack some heat"


It's slang for carrying a gun. I don't know whether this person was joking or serious, but if I remember correctly you are still in high school, so I wouldn't recomnend doing that.


If they're 18 its fine


Or pepper spray/mace


Depending when you're trying to leave, on Thursday/Friday/Saturday nights during the fall and spring terms, you can always try STRIPES for a free ride as well. The number is on the back of your student ID https://stripes.missouri.edu/schedule/


But is the stripes ride free? If it is, then I feel bad to use it as a daily Commute tool. If it isn't, then I don't think I will do that either.


Stripes is free but only runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It was created to help students who are out partying and need a safe ride home, get caught on campus late at night and their shuttle isn't running anymore, those who just don't feel safe making their walk/ride back home at a given time of the night (or the weather is shit when they would usually walm or bike back) and much more. They don't ask why you need a ride, they just do it. Also, your student activity fees help pay for the service so you are already paying for it technically. May as well use it when you can and especially if you really need to.


I thought it was MKT. I used to live in Columbia. Did it change?


No, it hasn't. Think it was a typo.


This is just the long version that goes directly to Texas and then up through Kansas


Here are my concerns. If you have a predictable routine, it puts you at a higher risk of being robbed. Basically if people (like people hanging out in the park) know you're going to be alone in the woods at a certain time on a certain day, it would only take one person lying in wait to harm you. Alternatively, if no one knows your schedule, you could have an accident and not make it home without someone knowing to go look for you.


I agree with the general consensus of what others have posted. And most definitely get a better light. A few people mentioned deer and I would certainly like to reiterate that! They REALLY like to play on the trails around dusk. Running into one a full speed on a bike could really incapacitate you. Better lights and your mindfulness should help that.


Stay strapped and there are no problems


Anywhere is safe as long as you stay strapped.


I do it all the time


I ride it occasionally. I run a 300 lumen flashing light and a separate 500 lumen light on the front. My tailight is about 100 lumens. Everyone on here is right. The first mile is absolutely risky. Crazy people, addicts, nefarious folks. Past that it just bugs, bats, coyotes, coons, possums and deer - which are all easily dangerous if you hit one and flip over. Had a bat land on me one time. Freaked me way out. Wear glasses and a hat under your helmet. Bugs in your hair absolutely suck.


I do it a lot. My only concern would be hitting a sleeping homeless person so get a light.