If you dislike daylight saving time, you're not alone. And it turns out, science might back you up.

We're all familiar with the dreaded "spring forward" that meant two weeks ago we were an hour short on sleep, and, in many cases driving to work in the dark and driving home straight into a blinding sun glare.

A 2014 study from a researcher at the University of Colorado found the changes in light as well as drivers running on less sleep correlated with higher rates of traffic crashes. That increased risk lasted for the first six days after the spring daylight saving time change. In Fort Collins, where many people get around town on two wheels instead of four, this shift in sleep pattern and change in light can mean a higher risk for pedestrians and cyclists because drivers have a harder time spotting them.

"Just assume people don't see you," Bike Fort Collins Executive Director Chris Johnson said.

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He suggests cyclists avoid major arterial roads in favor of neighborhood routes. It's also better to use intersections that have left turn signals so drivers, especially drivers heading into sun glare, don't accidentally turn into pedestrians or cyclists they didn't see coming, he said. During this light change, drivers also need to be extra cautious, especially near intersections.

"If you're making a left turn, don't just check the traffic lane 500 feet away; check the bike lanes," Johnson said. "As a driver, you just have to be aware."

Sleep deprivation and sun glare in the evenings made a big difference for Lisa Stephens, a Fort Collins resident, she said in a Facebook message.

"It definitely made it harder to drive," she wrote. "I'm glad that most traffic lights have the lights on the side now so you can see the lights. Back in the day ... you had to hope the light was green and you didn't kill anyone."

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In Fort Collins, daylight saving time has not always correlated with higher rates of car crashes. Here's why. The past few years, daylight saving time has also coincided with the first weekend of spring break for Poudre School District and Colorado State University. That means fewer vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians on the road, which naturally reduces the risk of crashes, Fort Collins traffic engineer Joe Olson said in an email. Bad weather also contributed to some of the crashes, he said.

Crash numbers by year


  • March 6-12 (week before time change): 2 bike crashes, 1 pedestrian crash, 63 car crashes 
  • March 13-19 (week after time change): 0 bike crashes, 2 pedestrian crashes, 62 car crashes


  • March 1-7 (week before time change): 0 bike crashes, 1 pedestrian crash, 60 car crashes
  • March 8-14 (week after time change): 1 bike crash, 2 pedestrian crashes, 60 car crashes


  • March 2-8 (week before time change): 3 bike crashes, 1 pedestrian crashes, 89 car crashes
  • March 9-15 (week after time change): 0 bike crashes, 1 pedestrian crash, 60 car crashes
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