Cycling in the dark
Hi All, my first post so .... hello
A quick one for you. Because of a new job I will have to occasionally cycle home late and was wondering if you could recommend any special lightning / extras to make myself more visible, especially when passing by cars? You know, to prevent being hit when they don't see me in the side mirror.
I think what works the best is the following:
1. Very bright light on the bars - I like something at least 1500 lumens so it is approximately what a car headlight is. I use the Lupine Wilma that is 2400 (or two car headlights). A decent light with side lights is the Taz 1200 from Lights and Motion.
2. A helmet light. This allows you to direct light where you need it. It's not needed so much for road riding except it allows you to put light on a car at a crossing intersection, or beside you to warn them. Just look at them and they will see the light.
3. A very bright tail light. My thought is something brighter than 100 lumens and the more the better. I use the Dinotte 300R that is 300 lumens and has a very wide beam. A light in this class will put a large light spill on the ground behind you, and put a bloom of red light in the air off of humidity and dust particles as well as from the driver's windshield. It makes you look much larger than you are and causes cars to go well around you (they really don't know you are a bike) and slow way down. After years of this, I still smile when a car does this. Little blinkie lights just don't do it.
That should do it.
If you're worried about cars, a taillight or two is/are essential. I've got a nasty-bright blinker AND a really bright taillight, AND I carry a backup light that's a yellow xenon strobe. I get lots of cars passing me closer to the centerline than to me, just because the drivers are freaked by such a car-like taillight. Note that flashing red lights are illegal in most of the US (those are restricted to emergency vehicles), so a flashing amber/yellow light and/or non-flashing red taillight might be the best choice. And BRIGHT, and aimed right at drivers' eyes instead of into the ground - drivers are looking ahead, not at the ground behind you, and "light spill" that hits the ground instead of hitting the retinas of drivers behind you is just wasted photons.
Reflective materials. I use 3M reflective tape. Put it on your bike and backpack if you use one. Timbuk2 used to make a bag with a huge patch of reflective material on it. It was amazing for visibility.
Auto parts shops will sell the red/silver strips they put on truck trailers as well as little red and yellow circle stickers. Those are good for helmets and the frame and they're lighter than the bolt on ones that come with bikes. You can use them to make reflective spoke cards.
Mike Henderson, Dirty Hippy Mountain Biker and part owner of Jet Lites
A really good thread on the subject I started some months ago.
Hi All, thank you so much for your replies.
JohnJ80 - the helmet light is a brilliant idea. I would never have thought of that (blush)
ScottR1 - the carlike tailight, I must invest in that. I like the fact that cars move away from you when they pass you by. I am always worried that they will catch me with the side mirror or just drive into me / push me off the road. Also that they will start turning while I am beside them and they don't see me. So anything that can protect me from these is great!
Thanks again for your replies.
Cat-man-do, I am checking your thread right now. Cheers!
I used to work nights, so I rode(and still ride) a lot at night. I'm trying to upgrade my lighting little by little. My latest tail lite is a Cygolite Hotshot, replacing an old Planetbike Superflash. My 2 year old generic SSC P7 has served me well, but will be replaced soon by a XM-L light. I also wear reflective bands on my legs.
Night Rider shot in 1080p - YouTube
Originally Posted by 1nterceptor
A. How dare you label this night rider and not use night rider theme.
B. Doesnt a light that bright blinking bother you or distract you as youre riding ? I half expect people in front of you to drop and have seizures.
A. I was thinking of using the Knight Rider song, but didn't want to complicate things.
Originally Posted by manmythlegend
Some folks are already confused, expecting a review of another light, Niterider.
B. I'm used to it, plus you have to realize; in an urban environment a bike light will
be competing with a lot of other sources. Cars, street lamps, store dispalys, etc.
This is why I prefer to have my light blinking, so that others may notice me.
TRA1N 1N VA1N - YouTube
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