When bicycle accidents occur, most often at least one person says they “didn’t see” the other. Riding at night without lights only compounds the problem.
You would think that with the latest modifications in legislation demanding that vehicles have daytime running lights, bicycles should as well.
Choosing the Best Bike Light
Here are five of the best bicycle lights available:
1. Nite Rider Lumina 750
This powerful bicycle light lasts up to 18 hours. Powered at 750 Lumens, it’s ready whenever you are. Intelli-Charge, which is specific to the Lumina 750, can recharge faster than any other Lumina you can find. You can even recharge it with a USB cable. Attach it to your helmet or handlebar for the ultimate versatility. Marathon and cross-country bikers will have no problem crossing the finish line with the Nite Rider.
Cateye’s adaptable Volt 700 is small but a big performer. The beam has an extremely tight focus for practical reach and great middle distance fill that functions perfectly in most cycling situations.
The Supernova E3 is tiny, but don’t be fooled by its size. It’s one of the brightest bike lights offered. The light is very bright and as a result, it generates a lot of heat. The interior housing addresses that issue. It focuses the heat of the LED to the cooling fins to keep it from overheating. It’s sealed watertight so it is soundly waterproof. This LED bicycle light comes with a five-year warranty.
Are Bicycle Lights Really That Important And How Do They Help?
According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, there were over 600 bicycle deaths in 2010. Almost one-third of those fatalities happened during nighttime hours, between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. Roughly 40% to 60% of injuries and fatalities take place during the night. That is a high percentage figuring that there are considerably fewer cyclists during the nighttime hours.
Nevertheless, The Bicycle Study, a 1990’s study approved by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, revealed that riding in the dark adds considerably to the risk of cycling casualties. They discovered that 47% of all cycling deaths transpired between 6 p.m. and 5:59 a.m. However, approximately only 12.4% of all bike riders questioned rode at night.
Why is there such a lopsided amount of cycling deaths and injuries at night? More than likely, there are several key reasons.
- More motorists drive recklessly at night due to drowsiness, intoxication, or inattentiveness.
- The need for front headlights is crucial. These lights allow you to ride safely by being able to be forewarned of hazards that may be approaching.
- Motorists have difficulty seeing bicyclists at night. This is why having adequate bicycle lighting is crucial. Too many cyclists, perhaps most, have no lights, have insufficient lights, or use them incorrectly. Moreover, if you are in the market for lights, especially for off-road cycling, you need something powerful that can light-up dark trails in woods plagued by rocks, roots, and other obstructions. It has been debated that cyclists with lights can be more visible during the nighttime hours than cyclist can during the day without lights.
Should A Bike Have Flashing Or Solid Lights?
There is an ongoing discussion about whether cyclists should use flashing or solid lights. For example, previously in Florida, it was illegal to have flashing lights. This was because it was believed that cyclists with flashing lights might be mistaken for police or rescue vehicles. However, the cycling laws in Florida currently permit flashing or solid lights.
In a few other states, flashing lights are allowed; in others, they are not; and in others, they are required. There are those who feel that flashing tail lights, even during the daytime, are valuable to warn vehicles that a cyclist is farther ahead. This way, motorists are better prepared in advance to be cautious when overtaking.
How Bright Should Bicycle Lights Be?
The quantity of light your headlight should have to light up the road safely is determined by how fast you cycle and additional lighting in the area. A fast rider on a rural road with no streetlights would need a brighter light in order to see road conditions and obstacles up ahead.
Mountain bikers require a broad beam of light to find suitable paths around turns and over obstacles. A cyclist who rides in the city has adequate streetlights and may need comparatively fewer lumens in order to see or be seen. If you ride fast, you will need a longer beam on your headlight.
What about LED Lights?
LED lights have improved greatly and have become reasonably priced as well. They are small, cost little, last forever and work well in any type of weather. Therefore, it is not surprising that LED’s are so popular with cyclists today.
Outputs have increased over the last couple of years, with the brightest lights professing outputs of several thousand lumens, even car headlights don’t have that much!
General purpose lights vary from 50 to approximately 500 lumens, with standard commuter lights and emergency lights less luminous.
Keep in mind; LED lights are primarily used to be seen, and not to see with. Don’t risk your safety, ride with a bike light.