Bike Lights

I’ve been following a thread at http://commutebybike.com/2010/02/03/qa-bike-lights/ regarding lights when riding at night. There is a lot of advice, and much of it is poor.

You don’t need to light up like a Christmas tree, but it doesn’t hurt, especially around Christmas. And reflective tape/surfaces/reflectors work well. I’ve seen some great examples on the road, and have a few real world tips. Cycling to work is perfectly safe and a lot of fun if you pay attention to a few things, and lighting is important at night. Don’t cheap out on your lights. Spend at least $50 (mine are more like $350).

Get at least 2 lights for the front, and three for the rear. You want, at minimum, one solid white light and one blinking on the front. In back you want to make sure you have light both higher (on your body or helmet), and lower (on your bike).

note: NEVER PUT A WHITE LIGHT ON YOUR BACK OR A RED LIGHT ON THE FRONT! – people may think you are moving away when you’re coming toward them

The newer LED lights are the only way to go imho (notwithstanding dynamo purists). They are bright. Sometimes, too bright. The high powered 200+ lumens lights now available are too bright for most commutes, and many are made for racing, when there may be no-one coming toward you. We need to be considerate of others, but it’s hard to tell how bright they may be to onlookers. I know mine are sometimes too bright, and would never use the 200 on my helmet.

There are two main considerations at night: being able to see, and making sure you can be seen.

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