The long days of summer are winding down bringing cooler temps and less daylight which means it’s time for lights on your bike for riding in the early morning or after dark. Don’t have a light? Let us help you pick one. Read on for what to look for or ask about when you’re shopping.
Lights aren’t just for night riding. Turn on your lights during the day particularly rear lights to flash mode to make you even more visible to cars and trucks.
36% of all fatal bicycling accidents occur at dawn or dusk*
48% of all fatal bicycling accidents occur between 4 p.m. and midnight*
➤ THE BEST-LIT BIKE is one with front (a white LED) and rear lights (a red blinkie) for best visibility to drivers and pedestrians. If you’re riding on roads with street lights, lower to medium output bike lights work well. But if you’re riding on dark streets or trails, you should go for higher output or lumens.
➤ WHAT ARE LUMENS? A lumen is a measure of the total amount of light emitted by a source. The higher the lumens, the brighter the light — and also the higher the price. But when it comes to staying safe, paying for the best light that you can afford is wise. Lumens are typically listed in a product name, such as Volt 300 (300 lumens) or Blaze 180 (180 lumens).
➤ RECHARGEABLE LIGHTS are the best way to go. They can be charged hundreds of times, making them a more economical and environmentally sound alternative to disposable batteries. Unlike battery-powered lights that dim slowly over the battery life, most rechargeable lights deliver a consistent beam until their power is exhausted and have a low-battery warning so you know when it’s time to plug in.
➤ WHEN CHARGING BATTERIES, be sure to fully charge them. Because inactive batteries lose their charge over time, plug in and charge your system before every use just in case.
➤ YOUR LIGHT’S BATTERY LIFE will depend on what settings you use. The higher steady setting is the brightest beam but also has a shorter total run time, compared to flash- ing modes, which use less battery power. Most rechargeable lights have multiple settings, so you can switch between them depending on what you need when riding.
➤ A HEADLIGHT IS TYPICALLY MOUNTED on the handlebar, but some lights come with an option to mount on your helmet. Red rear safety lights can be mounted on the seat post or a backpack or pannier depending on what mount accessory they come with. Some can also be attached on a rear bike rack.
Lights aren’t just for night riding. Turn on your lights during the day particularly rear lights to flash mode to make you even more visible
to cars and trucks.
The Latest Lights
All of these lights are available in various lumens and prices. Remember, the higher the lumens, the brighter the light but also the higher the cost. These lights are all USB rechargeable, so you can take them to work with you and charge them on your computer or via other devices at home.
CATEYE VOLT 300 & RAPID X–REAR
The Volt 300 offers up a nice beam for city riding and features five modes, from high to normal to slow and fast flash settings. It can be easily mounted on the handlebar or on your helmet. Match it up with the Rapid X-Rear red LED, which mounts with an O-ring to your seat post or seat stay and has 6 modes. Volt 300 $70, Rapid X-Rear $40.
LIGHT AND MOTION URBAN 350
Available in four fun colors, the Urban 350 has three mode settings (high, medium, low) and is easy to attach on your handlebar with its tool-free strap. Amber side lighting offers up 180 degrees of visibility to vehicles as well as to other bicyclists and pedestrians. A battery charge status indicator lets you know when it’s time to recharge. $60.
PLANET BIKE BLAZE 180 USB & SUPERFLASH USB
Bright, rechargeable and compact for riding after dark, the Blaze 180 has high and low settings, plus a flashing mode. Easy to mount on your handlebars, this light has a built-in low battery indicator so you know when to recharge. Pair the Blaze with a red Superflash in back, which mounts on your seat post or clips on a pack or pannier. Blaze 180 USB $45, Superflash USB $35.
NITERIDER LIGHTNING BUG 150 & SABRE 35
Easy to pop on and off your handlebar with a tool- free mount, the Lightning Bug has three settings: low, high and a super-bright flash. Team it up in back with a Sabre 35 tail light, which also has side lights for added visibility. Lightning Bug 150 $35, Sabre 35 $29/$60 for both.