The Importance of Using Bike Lights
Benefits of Using Bike Lights
It may seem obvious but there is a dual benefit in cyclists using bike lights in dim/dark conditions. They are used to not only to increase the rider’s visibility, but also to help others to see the rider. Lights are an extremely important piece of equipment as statistics suggest a car-bike collision rate is several times higher at night than during daylight. What is more startling is that these collisions are largely down to the inadequacy of the cyclist’s equipment which can be easily prevented. Using the proper equipment makes cyclists visible to other road users and can make cycling at night much safer than this statistic suggests. The most common setup for bike lights are white lights at the front of the bike, red lights at the back, and orange reflectors on the side, but be sure to check the legal requirements of your jurisdiction as there are different rules on what is required.
Looking specifically at the UK, the regulations governing bicycle lights are set out in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 and subsequent amendments in the UK Highway Code. The standards for reflectors are quite straight forward however the regulation for lights is somewhat less straight forward. Reflectors must conform to BS 6102/2 or an equivalent European standard which means that bikes should have a red rear reflector and amber/yellow pedal reflectors on the front and rear of both pedals. For UK use, bike lights must abide by the BS 6102/3 or an equivalent European standard. However, it must be noted that a steady light can be used on if it flashes at a constant rate of between 60 to 240 flashes per minute and has a luminous intensity of at least 4 candela.
LED Bike Lights
Most LED bike lights have a higher luminous efficacy and a lifetime of around 40,000-50,000 hours of operation and options to dim and turn on/off the blinkering. There are varying degrees of power to bear in mind. Higher powered LED lights would be recommended for those cyclists that cycle in dim/dark conditions on a regular basis. For those cyclists that occasionally ride at night a lower powered inexpensive LED front light and rear LED flasher would be sufficient, especially for riding on well-lit streets that do not require such an intense beam. There are many types of bike lights on the market to meet the needs of all bike lovers.