One of my pet peeves is cyclists who go out in the dark or poor visibility with no lights. So imagine my embarrassment when I found myself to be one of those self-same people. I'm now going to excuse my behaviour.
It happened last night on the way home from work. I left for home with functioning front and rear lights. My route home includes a short steep descent down a ramp onto a cycle path. With the recent wind there's lots of twigs and other rubbish at the bottom of the ramp and, as expected, I didn't manage to avoid it all. Cue lots of twangs and other unpleasant noises from the rear wheel. No trouble though and the bike and I just kept riding on. At the end of the cycle path I re-joined the road and about 400 yards further on I suddenly became aware that my front light was missing! I could visualise my emergency flasher sitting at home. Doh!
Here's where I should apologise to all the other road users. I'm sorry. I did not dismount and walk the short distance home. I just decided to keep going. My only justification was that it was ludicrously quiet out, but I'm not sure I would live with that if someone else gave it as an excuse. I could add that my rear light was still working, and I had on a fair amount of luminous yellow and hi-vis strips. No, you're right, I probably wouldn't accept that either.
Having got home I put on my spare front light and retraced my path. Thank goodness it isn't a long trip, although I did have a good idea where it might be. And, yes, there it was at the bottom of the ramp on the cycle path. It was still on, although the battery cover had come off (that was harder to find). My guess is that I probably didn't clip it on correctly at work, and then it came off when I hit the cycle path (the join is not smooth). I also suspect that it was one of the things I ran over!
What surprised me most was the length of time it took me to notice that it wasn't there. Or on, for that matter. It does go to show that cycling without lights is easy to do in a built up area. It doesn't make it any safer, or less stupid, though. And that's an opinion I'm keeping.