Dark Days ahead!

The days are getting shorter. It’s dark when I get up, just barely light when I leave for work, and it’s starting to get darker when I ride home from work. Time to think about the lights on my bike.

So, I unpacked my L&M Stella 150 and 200 lights, and charged up the batteries. I only used my 200, but I’ll get the 150 on my helmet soon. I mounted the 200 on my TriCross, where I can easily put the battery onto the front rack. I also have the Planet Light 1 watt I always have with me, and I run it as a blinker.

So, three lights on the front. (NOTE COMMENT BELOW – NO MORE THAN TWO LIGHTS ARE ALLOWED BY LAW) A blinker that gets attention. (NO BLINKER FOR ME, I GUESS) A powerful beam I aim downward in a fixed beam a few feet in front of me. And my 150, usually set to low, mounted on my helmet. The helmet light doesn’t blind people coming toward me, and it provides a good general wash wherever I’m looking.

I run three red lights in the rear. I have two great MEC ones I clip onto my pack and run on solid. And I have another on my seatpost I run as a blinker. I’ve read that blinkers get attention, but are harder to place spacially. Solid ones don’t atract attention the same way, but people can place your position and speed better. So I go with both.

It’s important to have rear lights both higher (on your head or body), and lower (anywhere on your bike). I’ve seen people ride with seat bags, panniers, long coats, etc, covering up the rear lights, rendering them near useless. Keep them clean, and make sure they can be seen from behind.

I also wear reflective clothing, and keep my batteries charged with a charger at work, and one at home. One advantage to running multiple lights is when a battery goes during a ride. I’m not stuck without a light. I keep extra batteries handy too, in my pack.

Ride at night, use a light.

And, …, this year I plan to once again do up my bike for the holidays, with battery powered strings of light. It’s fun, people can see you, and it has the advantage of putting people in a good mood, somehow.

4 Responses

  1. If you find somplace to get the LED lights for christmas can you post it so ohters can get some too?

  2. Hi Sean. It would be great to see others do this too! I really get a lot of positive response from drivers and others.

    Last year I got my lights from London Drugs in Oliver Square, and the year before at the Bay (in Regina – didn’t find them at the Bay here in Edmonton).

    I’ve also seen the same kind on eBay, mostly from China. I’ve ordered stuff from there before and not had any problem.

    They tend to be the dangly kind, so I just tape them good to the frame, ensuring they don’t stick out sideways where they might interfere with my pedalling.

    It’s a good idea to get a couple of sets because the very cold days can make the wires brittle, and I’ve had them snap. I’ve never had them last a whole winter.

    Good luck. If you have any problem finding them let me know and I’ll pick some up. I’m going to be ordering quite a few sets from China (they’re pretty cheap).

  3. The Alberta regulations on bicycle equipment actually limit you to two head lamps:
    http://www.qp.alberta.ca/574.cfm?page=2009_122.cfm&leg_type=Regs&isbncln=9780779741847

    ==
    Bicycle equipment
    113(1) A person shall not ride a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle has the following:
    (a) at least one headlamp but not more than 2 headlamps;
    ==

    Riding at home in the dark, I sadly still see a lot of cyclist without lights.

  4. I had no idea. Thanks very much for the info.

    I wonder if the blinky counts as a headlamp?

    Two is definately enough, if they are good lights. I like a blinking light because I think it gets attention in a way the solid light doesn’t. But with the Christmas lights, I doubt I’ll have too hard a time being seen and noticed.

    And, sadly, I too see far too many people riding without lights.

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