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A Guide To Bike Lights | How To Choose Lights For Road Cycling

A Guide To Bike Lights | How To Choose Lights For Road Cycling

– You’re going to be riding
in the dark, you need lights. But which lights do you need? I mean, there’s loads of
different types out there, varying from just a few pounds or dollars right up to hundreds of
your respective currency. So in this video, I’m going to explain all the different types of
lights, the different features that are on them, and what they’re for, so that you can best decide
what kind of lights you need for the riding that you do. But before I do that, make
sure that you subscribe to GCN if you haven’t already,
and click the bell icon to get notifications because
it helps support the channel and the content we make. (uptempo house music) Firstly, we’d always
recommend that you use at least two lights. A red rear one and a white front one. This is actually the law in many countries but irrespective of that,
it’ll just keep you safer. And I said at least two because
I’d recommend you use more, and this is for a couple of reasons. The first one is that if
one of your lights fails or the battery runs out,
you’ve got a backup. And the second reason
is it’ll just make you even more visible to other road
users, and therefore safer. The next thing to be aware
of is that front lights fall broadly into two categories, lights to be seen and lights to see with. Rear lights aren’t really
used for seeing on bikes, because, I mean well, no one
really reverses on a bike. (beeping sound) Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep,
beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. (beeping sound) If you’re going to be riding on lit roads in an urban environment,
then a light that enables other people to see you, such as this one, is going to be sufficient. They’re generally less
bright but less expensive than more powerful lights that are designed to illuminate
your path on unlit roads. But how do you know how bright a light is? Well the SI unit, lumens,
is used to measure how bright a light is
and it’s usually written on the side of the box,
but, “What is a lumen?” I hear you ask. Well. The lumen is the SI derived
unit of luminous flux, which is the amount of visible light given by a given source per unit of time. Luminous flux differs from radiant flux as radiant flux is the total light given across all wavelengths,
whereas luminous flux is weighted towards the
wavelengths that are visible by the human eye. And lumens are related to lux in that one lux is one
lumen per square meter. So now you know. Now to put that into context, car headlights are typically 1 200 lumens. The landing lights on a commercial jet are around 5 500 lumens, and the bat signal is 525 000 lumens. Yep, I’m great fun at parties. Now within the context of bike lights, they typically range
between 50 and 2 000 lumens. And to-be-seen lights are typically between 50 and 200 lumens. I’ve got a couple of examples here. So this is a front one from CatEye, and on the back, I’ve got an
exposure rear light as well that’s around 50 lumens. (uptempo house music) If you’re going to be
riding on unlit roads, then I’d personally recommend something around the
800 lumen mark at least. You can go less bright, but ultimately, you’re going to feel
safer and more confident the more you can see. This CatEye Volt is well, 800 lumens, it says 800 on the side of it. If you’re going to be riding off-road, then you’re going to want brighter still, starting at at least the 1
000 lumen mark and upwards. So this a Topeak Cubi, about 1 200 lumens. And this CatEye Volt, whopping
1 600 lumens on this one. But be aware, if you do
have a super powerful light, tilt it downwards when on roads, and maybe on a lower setting at times as some car headlamps are 1
200 lumens when on full beam. You don’t want to blind the driver of the 18-wheeler Mack truck coming towards you at 60 miles an hour. So things to look for on lights. Firstly, flashing modes and
different modes for the beam. Now these are useful because when you switch
to a flashing mode, it makes your battery last longer. Also, if you’ve a got a super
bright light, like this one, then you don’t need on
super bright all the time. So when you come on to a lit road, you can switch to flashing
mode and save your battery. (uptempo house music) Beam pattern visibility. You don’t want to be just
visible directly head on and directly from behind. Consider lights that
offer side visibility too, or consider adding some additional lights that offer some brightness from the sides. This is because, it’s unfortunate, but most accidents tend
to happen at junctions, so this is important. (uptempo house music) It’s also worth bearing in
mind that some countries apply strict restrictions to bike lights based on the beam pattern. Germany springs to mind first. Even if you’re not bound by law to have certain types of
lights, some are designed to throw light really wide to
illuminate off-road trails. Again, meaning that they can
dazzle oncoming road users. Exposure’s Strada lights
have a beam pattern modeled on a car’s, and
allow you to dip the beam at the push of a remote button, which could prove useful on unlit roads. (uptempo house music) The cheapest lights tend to have changeable disposable batteries. But personally, I’d recommend
getting one with an in-built USB-rechargeable battery. This means that if you perhaps commute, you’re less likely to get caught out because you can charge it at work and make sure that it’s always got juice. And although they cost a
little bit more initially, over time, not having to
constantly buy new batteries makes them more cost-effective. (uptempo house music) (keyboard tapping) Battery life. Now bigger, more expensive lights tend to have bigger
batteries and last longer. And make sure you pick a light that has sufficient battery
life for your planned ride, and ideally longer. This CubiCubi light from
Topeak’s really good, because it has a modular
battery that you can remove and there’s different sized ones too. If you’re out for epic,
ultra-endurance rides, you could always look
at a dynamo front hub, which generates electricity
from the movement of your front wheel,
and allows you to charge or just power some pretty
hefty lights as you ride. (chilled hip hop music) Mounting options. So lights can be mounted
to bikes in different ways. The two most common methods are either with rubber straps like this,
or with brackets like this. And ideally, you want a
light that’s fairly easy to remove and take off because
if you’re commuting with it, you don’t want to leave your
light strapped onto your bike while you go to work because, undesirable, naughty people
will probably steal it if you leave it on. (beeping sound) (comical suspicion music) Being easy to remove and put back on is also useful for taking
off if you want to charge it. If you’re going to go for a bracket, go for a good quality one like this that’s going to help hold it on securely. Because a loose fitting
one is really annoying, because it’ll create a
rattle as you ride along. (chilled hip hop music) There’s loads of
different lighting options out there these days. My saddlebag even has
a light built into it and it’s quite good for
side visibility too. You just press it like that. How cool is that? The final thing to consider is where you’re going to
be mounting the light, and what kind of bike you have, making sure you get one that fits. So for example, a lot of
modern performance road bikes now have fancy aerodynamic
shaped handlebars and seat posts. And this can make fitting
traditional lights that rely on a round handlebar or a round seat post problematic. Fortunately, there are
plenty of lights that work, and I suggest going for something with a stretchy rubber mount like this, as that is generally fine at
fitting on a non-round post. Or you could go for an
action cam style mount, such as this on the Topeak light
I’ve got on the front here. Either way, there are loads of
different products out there. Just make sure you pick something
that works for your bike. Right, I hope you found this
look at bike lights useful, and I hope you’ve learned something. And if you have, please
give this video a thumbs up. And if you’d like to
head over to the GCN shop and grab yourself one
of the greatest hoodies available to humanity, well you can do. My favorite, the navy
and white, is in stock. And if you’d like to watch another video on dynamo hubs, then click down here.

100 comments on “A Guide To Bike Lights | How To Choose Lights For Road Cycling

  1. My light is rated at 6000 lumens, haven't metered it myself though. But it is 6000 deg Kalvin and I can see at least 70-80 feet in front of me and it costs less than $20 Canadian dollars less the 12.6V Li-polymer battery I bought for it, total cost less than $50 and it's the brightest bike light I have ever seen. It runs on 8.4V to 12.6 so you can get a package with batteries or do what I did and buy a 9.8 AH lithium battery. Name brand lights are a total rip off, and car lights these days are more like 3000-3500 lumens. Very large link below, but it's worth it. If you shop around this site, you can find the battery deals with the light.This one you can tilt down, but in total darkness you can see every pothole and rock in time to avoid it at 20-30mph. Oh, and it's not plastic! Aluminum shell with glass lens, and 5 X cree XML-T6 led's with a very good reflector.,searchweb201602_1_10065_10068_10130_318_10547_319_317_10548_10696_450_10084_10083_10618_452_535_10139_534_533_10307_532_10882_204_10059_10884_323_10887_100031_320_321_322_10103_448_449,searchweb201603_55,ppcSwitch_0&algo_expid=1b8a76f0-4984-46d6-893a-45191c280ba0-4&algo_pvid=1b8a76f0-4984-46d6-893a-45191c280ba0&transAbTest=ae803_5

  2. I use a waterbottle with built in orange lights "The Orb". Really good for being seen from the side and looks fantastic. Taste good too!

  3. I have two lights on the front of my bicycle used together on the low beam setting (Planet Bike Blaze 650 XLR). They may hold a charge for 12 hours on low beam (if my memory serves me correctly?). I have one pointed slightly higher for distance while the other is pointed/aimed slightly lower. I can use the high beam on the light pointed higher (for distance viewing) when traveling down a hill at 40 mph on a dark country road. I use a red back light that uses two AAA batteries (I use Lithium batteries in the rear red light). Having a great lighting system is a wonderful thing.

  4. I have a flashing tail light with an accelerometer circuit so when I apply the brakes the light stops flashing and goes solid bright red. Very cool.
    By the way Ollie you should have your own, Ollie The Science Guy program. You make a convincing science nerd.

  5. As someone who is driving by car from time to time, i recommand not to use any flashing modes.
    Especially when driving on a street with a bikelane, which is seperated from the street by trees, or cars. That's because cardrivers can falsly guess, that you are driving on that bikelane, even if you're driving on the street itself.

  6. No menion of those?

  7. I use two 1100 lumen Cygolites on my road bike. On medium setting they put out 1600 lumens and will last about three hours. And they only cost $70 each on Amazon. Also, I can put one on flashing while the other is on steady.

  8. I love a headlight with a GoPro style mount. It can mount underneath your computer and be centered. Totally uncluttered bars are great.

  9. Bike commuted at night through the city and in some dark spots with no street lights. Never needed more than 400 lumen. My Blitzu from amazon worked perfectly fine for less than $20.

  10. The video was OK but VERY basic, rather rudimentary. Personal and honest opinion ?
    Was expecting much, much more from GCN while covering a life and death matter. As a night rider myself, the biggest mistake of the video is the absence of passive safety mention. I assume they do not do much nightriding.
    If you are regularly on the road after dark, a reflective vest is NECESSARY.
    Also unacceptable that GCN did not lead by example on the video. When seeing fellow cyclists in the night, with just front and back lights, makes me feel weird that wont fork out a few quid,euros or dollars get a cheap reflective vest.

    Safety is always two fold, active and passive! The point is to be seen.
    The more , the better. Both the bike and the cyclist. Actively and passively.

    For night riders, be that casual, enthusiasts or professionals, no price is higher than life.
    A lime safety vest is ridiculously cheap and very effective, on and off the bike, because of a necessary pitstop or even a fall.
    Pedal reflectors definitely recommended. Reflective ankle bands are also a cheap and nice addition, on and off the bike!
    At least two tail lights and two front lights (one blinker and one strong beam in the front).

    For those who want to go the extra mile and spend some more, there are spoke reflectors, big plastic ones and smaller sticker-like for every individual spoke. Spoke lights as well. Some companies sell tyres/tires with a reflective white stripe, so there's more passive safety from the sides.
    There are beam lights for helmet attachment (ideal for mountain bikers) but have yet to find a 360degree blinking light for the helmet. That would be awesome, especially when a cyclist is just by his bike.

    For those that have been cycling for years, decades they know how important all this is.
    Cannot eliminate risks and dangers but Lowering the chances of anything bad happening is the goal.

    P.S Quick Recommendations/Honorable mentions:
    Front light: CycleTorch Shark500, USB Rechargeable, on the low (yet very bright) setting lasts for 12+hours. Includes a small, rechargeable tail light, though a bit directional, still useful.

    Front and Back Blinkers combo: CatEye TL-LD 135. Two AAA batteries last for a hundred hours. Very reliable and long lasting.No need to charge, easy and cheap to replace batteries and forget about them.
    Rechargeable tail lights can be much brighter but do not last that long. Around 6 hours. I usually have one strapped on the back of my helmet for emergencies or very busy roads.

    Cycling in the dark can be a wonderful, surreal experience, if the path is lit and precautions are taken. Feels more like diving in the sea. Any suggestions on safety and lighting, feel free to comment.

    As a final note, Ollie's presentation and take was interesting, cheerful at times and entirely engaging. It was the lack of in-depth research, limited details and the narrow spectrum of safety coverage that made the video subpar, to my mind. Does not mean I am right, just sharing a perspective.

    Maybe another attempt in the future ?
    GCN is a place we come to get informed, educated, broaden our existing point of view and learn new information and ideas. As such, wishing safe and enjoyable rides to all members of the GCN community.

  11. I've had drivers shield their eyes..on the lowest and it only cost me 15 quid 🙏 – proper deal 👌 tho I've been missed even with the 1 or 2 thousand lumen light.. Personally I'd ride around with the light on the BRIGHTEST as there're some right stupid fkrs out there…

  12. Yes yes yes. And even more yes on lights. As passionate motorcycle rider it paffles me how many riders are out there with tiny little red thingis thinking this will be enough. The number of times i almost crashed into a cyclist because of littlw to no light isnt even funny. Best of all wear a vest that reflects all around. On that note stay save on the road my fellow 2 wheeled brothers. Wether your motor or human powered, were all part of the 2 wheel crazyness.

  13. I ve bought so many expensive lights over the years, now instead of paying 150 quid I buy a £12 Cree light that’s generally just as good and way way cheaper and brighter !, why does nobody ever test these .?

  14. can anyone recommend a medium brightness front light which can be mounted upside down, i have now the BBB Strike 1000, but when mounting it upside down, the beam is shaped wrong, because the lens is designed that way. i need to set it up upside down, because its mounted on the camera holder on the k-edge holder with garmin on top

  15. A unique but very effective light mount idea is on the front or rear hubs so as you ride you get an extra flashing effect from your wheels

  16. I really don't understand why Outbound Lighting isn't mentioned. It is the ultimate light for a bicycle. So many times, reviewers talk about "being seen" versus "seeing where you're going." The Outbound Light achieves both goals outstandingly. The battery holds its charge for a very, very long time and is rechargeable via usb, and the user has many options to choose from in how he will use it. Outbound Lighting brags on it's beam pattern, and for very good reason. I urge everyone to look into it at their website.

  17. If your going to be a nerd you can at least get the facts right. Lumens is not a measurement of brightness. It's a measurement of total light output in all directions. As such two different lights with the same lumen rating can have a different brightness depending on how the light is focussed.
    The measure of brightness is candela.

  18. I always use 2 Lezyne Micro Drive XL's 450 lumens (USB charge) on the front and a Cayeye Orb (CR2032 batteries which last for months) on the rear when commuting along with a red flashing one (el cheapo) on my rucksack…..I use lights on every single bike commute during the year as my shift always finishes at 10pm.
    If I'm off-roading at night (MTB's or my drop bar off-road bikes) then I use a battery pack three light front one (1000 lumens) along with one of the Lezynes (keeping a fully charged spare) and it's very bright and wide even doing woodlands and trails in the dark……..If I added a helmet light it would be even better….
    I've even kitted out one of my MTB's that my daughter commutes to work on with a Lezyne Hecto Drive up front and a Lezyne Femto on the back….
    Being seen is the best you can do on night commutes (but you still get the odd close call) ……unlike most riders in my city who basically don't have any form of lighting at all !!!! Some reflective clothing also helps….
    By the way, Ollie reminds me of the drummer in the band I've been in for years…..he's a mad git as well…..Thumbs up for that ….
    Good video as always

  19. I'm now all for dynamo hubs where possible (I think!). I've got some decent Exposure regular lights for helmet/front but if the weather is really cold the battery life drops dramatically and have to be careful how bright I'm running them, especially if they're on full beam for MTB I. If I'm out on MTB trails those lights are a given, or my road bike. But I won a cruiser bike on ebay earlier this year with a dynamo hub/lights. It's now my pub/shopping bike and it's so ridiculously convenient to just jump on it and go somewhere, never have to worry about lights, if they're charged, and all the other noncing about. I'm imminently gonna by a gravel bike and the first thing I intend to do is get it a front dynamo hub and lights so I can commute as many days as possible and go on as many other adventures with little care about how long might lights may or may not last. So yeah, I'd not swap out the hub on a serious enduro MTB or lightweight road racing machine, but if you're out for fun and enjoyment rather than trying to shave a second or too off Strava, then I'm totally converted. Would be great to have a GCN show on dynamo hubs for adventure bike, as obviously you can charge phones or run GPS etc off them too (especially during the day when you don't need the lights), but it's not always obvious what options there are, how well they work, how much drag they have when on and off load, etc, and as noted I'm about to start trying to find out a lot more sometime in November. If you don't know yourselves, I bet you probably know someone to interview who does! Good excuse for Ollie to get his lab coat out again too. 😀

  20. Studies done on the efficacy of different lights on motorcycles indicate that a fast strobing light during the day and a slower pulsing light is best at night.

  21. Thanks! Very helpful. Finding lights I’m happy with has been challenging—especially the headlamp—because there are certain legal standards that must be met here in Kentucky.

  22. And if you ride in the rain, be sure to keep your lights in plastic bags or else they will get wet and fail on you at the worst possible time.  Not sure which handles wet bike rides worse: bike lights or cellphones.  Next GCN video?

  23. Ollie & Global Cycling Network, thanks for the humor & bicycle light seasonly update.
    Since last year you've recommended double the light output on unlighted roads. Has it really changed that much or have manufacturers increased the power of their lighting systems?
    Glad you included the section on light mounts. Now that bicycle lights are approaching the output of tactical lights, good of Ollie to at least mention solidly aiming headlights. Too bad most manufacturers are not following suit, but you gave a case of oddly sharped tubes as an excuse.

  24. I run two lights. One is supposedly 1100 Lumin Nitrider. That has more of a flood. My other light is a Light & Motion urban 350. That is more of a spot light. Together they light up the road or trail well. Sometimes I still wonder if an old Halogen setup would be better

  25. Wheel Brightz are super fun and relatively cheap spoke lights which have great side visibility. They are only $20 or so for front and back.

  26. No mention of bottle dynamos? The 12v ones work quite well with the 12v MR16 LED spotlights and are way more accessible compared to a whole hub dynamo. The latter of which also has the cost (in time & tools or cash at the bike shop) of assembling it into a wheel. Plus they don't require charging, their only real cost is minor tire wear when in use and they can be set up for easily swapping from bike to bike by a quick wire disconnect and bracket change.

  27. Please please please talk about not blinding fellow bike path users with overkill lights. Also turning off your light on protected bike paths where you are not in danger of encountering a car.

  28. Tall tales of pitch black trails, lead acid and halogens.🔅🔆.
    you had to want to. 😥 enjoy blazing your trails, LED Lithium Lot, lighter and brighter✌️

  29. I have been bike commuting in a pretty bike-hostile environment for about 13 years. I do most of my riding in the dark because it is safer if you do it right and you make yourself highly visible. Find the best lights you can afford, and then take out a loan and buy two sets of them. Buying lights is not the time to be cheap! Avoid riding when the sun is low on the horizon blinding drivers as it flashes in and out of the shadows.

    Mount a set of front and rear lights on your bike. Then put front and rear lights on your helmet. A red rear light mounted on the back of your helmet will be higher up, and so more visible than a light mounted on your seat post. This might help the driver of the car behind the car behind you to see you. The more time they have to see you the better. There are no guarantees, it's all about improving your odds in this game. A white front head light mounted on your helmet allows you to point it at drivers coming out of side streets. Don't let them use the excuse that they couldn't see you. Light up their faces.

    Also, wear hi viz stuff during the day, and reflective stuff in the dark. Add reflective tape to your crank arms so that they will reflect light in a blinking pattern letting drivers see some motion. Add reflective tape to your rims and at points on your bike. Don't use blinky rear lights if you are riding near bars at closing time.

    Have fun and stay alive.

  30. taking batteries is actually more cost effective because you can use rechargeable. Internal rechargeable batteries arent user serviceable and have a limited life.

  31. Something that needs to be said about current USB rechargeable lights is that water often gets past the simple little rubber seals on the mini-USB ports, and that often ruins the lights. I’ve gravitated toward ultra-cheap usb-lights after so many good ones got ruined. Some modern weapon lights (for pistols/rifles) now have magnetic charging connections, and it would seem that these are sealed better against water (since there is no port to plug in to). When bicycle lights start using that kind of connection, I’ll agree to start paying more for them again.

  32. I despise flashing lights, especially those aimed too high, which seems to be what everyone around my area, is doing.

  33. I spent the entire video screaming at my TV "But what about dynamo lights!?" but then at literally the last second, they got mentioned!

    Dynamo is definitely my preference – you never forget to charge (or pack) your lights, they're bolted to the bike so they don't get stolen (or fall off on bumpy roads), and most have excellent shaped beams (to comply with German regulations).

  34. The HUGE flaw in buying built in battery lights, is that over time, and many many charge cycles, your battery performance diminishes dramatically, leaving you with no option but to buy another light. The best choice is to find a light that runs on removable 18650's or something similar. A person could also just buy rechargeable AA or whatever size required for their light.

  35. Wait… You have that fast lightweight airstream roadbike, and then you add a dynamo? Spare batteries for your lamp are less expensive, less heavy and don't raise your rolling resistance. Dynamos are for commuting. There are really good steadily mounting bike lights, even with automatic brake lights when you are willing to use a dynamo.

  36. Good advice team. FYI. In NZ the front light must be solid during the hours of darkness. its OK to have a flashing and solid, or a "pulse that doesn't go all the way off.

  37. You said about not blinding road users, but I've been blinded whilst on off road cycle path because someone is running a ~1000 lumen light and it's pointed straight ahead. Bright flashing lights are also a nightmare on unlit paths as it seriously screws with your vision flashing between extremely bright and dark, at those times I just have to look off to one side or completely stop.

  38. My Cygolite HotRod front and rear lights have been a great bang for the buck so far. Super bright and pretty good life on a charge with a variety of settings for most situations.

  39. Blinking lights are not allowed in the Netherlands. Reasoning behind this is: With a blinking light it is harder to estimate the speed of the cyclist.

  40. The use of the correct lights for daytime riding should also be advocated especially for cyclists that ride alone 👍 it is also law to use them in certain countries

  41. In Germany it is forbidden to ride with flashing lights and the headlight's values are only given in Lux as they must have a certain pattern to see not only a spot in a distance but a certain area starting directly in front of the bike. Because of these laws there aren't as many headlights available here but I do think these specifications are so good that every Light (at least for roadbikes) should fulfill them, because 2000 Lumens which illuminate only a small spot 10m in front of you are pretty useless, right?

  42. Why, in your on-the-road example video, are you guys riding side by side…, in the dark? Here in my state in the good ol' USA, cyclist have the legal right to ride side by side, but in my experience that only infuriates motor traffic by blocking a lane. To ride side by side at night seems to be an invitation to problems, no matter how well illuminated one might be.

  43. Why is a built-in USB battery preferred when if you have regular rechargeable AA batteries you can always buy some cheap ones nearly everywhere should your charge run out?..
    It is extremely useful with a road bike; my Ixon IQ Premium lasts 5 hours in full beam mode and when it runs out of power I can just flip it open, put some AA things in, and continue with my trip. Good luck attaching a power bank securely to your monolithic USB-charged thing.

  44. Cheers Ollie BUT bit frustrating. As with most GCN videos this video was really good – apart from missing the single vital requirement that is the achilles heel of most bike lights – IS IT WATERPROOF? The weather has killed so many of my lights over the years – this can be a real problem if you are out in the rain miles from home. There are some brands from sunnier climes that just don't even attempt to address this. It supports your "Have more than one" point and your "USB charging" point as these tend to be far better sealed as you only have to seal the USB port and the switch. Last point: carry a small headtorch so that if you have any issues you can see to fix them.

  45. having tried lights from people like knogg and cateye i used to use a bicygnal setup with indicators (front & rear) til i got fedup with non-wired link from the front to back getting interrupted by cateye computer

    i'm now using blinkers which i've had for a couple of years and they are brilliant even if the rest of the world don't seem to take this seriously of offer cheap chinese crap that doen't work front and rear

    very sadly though i've just seen a press release on to say they've ceased development

    a guy from sussex got investment backing from deborah meaden on dragon's den but nothing ever happened despite him saying he had patents for technology that had already developed and in put the market place by other companies

  46. Im a UK resident, and and use white and blue flashing light's, this catches the attention, how ever some jobsworth officer's frown upon this

  47. Surprised you didnt mention the Garmin Varia rear light. Expensive but worth every penny as it works as a radar to detect approaching vehicles and shows up on my head unit. Invaluable when riding alone.

  48. 10:00 Turn 'em all on, go on, all of 'em! (That would've been a dazzling end to an <**ahem**> "en-LIGHT-ening" video.)

  49. good to remind about blinding drivers, this is especially the case if you choose to ride on the pavement (sidewalk) against the flow of traffic!. Also saw last year some guy with his speed displayed on the rear, handy to let motorists know how fast you are going before they try to overtake in a dangerous spot.

  50. As well as front and rear lights I have a Lumos helmet which has front and back lights that I set to pulsing, and a bluetooth switch on the bars that changes the helmet to left or right indicator. I commute in the dark (and mostly rain) for half the year. Every now and then a car window will slide down when stopped at a traffic light and the driver will thank me for wearing the helmet. Most drivers are worried about hitting someone they can't see. At my age (63), I know that my eyesight, especially in the dark, was much much better when I was young. Most cyclists are young and perhaps do not appreciate how hard it is for older drivers to see them through wet windscreens in the dark. The average driver (in Canada) is over 45. Sadly I do see young people with a death wish on the Vancouver bike routes (shared with cars) at night with no lights. The secondary hazard for them, as well as injury or death, is being yelled at by a passing middle aged curmudgeon with very bright lights.
    A secondary issue is the actual flashing pattern you select from the dizzying options on many lights. I believe that blinky, blinky, steady, blinky, blinky, steady is the best. The blinky bit gets the drivers attention, and the steady bit lets their eye settle and estimate range and closing speed.

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