Appropriate use of lights helping to keep cycling a non contact recreational sport

Effective lighting on bikes is essential for safe riding and there is a lot of different styles and brands on the market to make a choice from.  The current road rules state the minimum requirement is for the front and rear light to be visible at 200 metres. The brightness of most lights would meet this requirement when the lens is clean and the light is fitted with fully charged batteries.  The continued effectiveness of the lights brightness and power is relative to the batteries power outputs. Keeping this in check is important for your own safety and visibility. Ask other riders how bright the light looks or hold your hand in front of the light to see how much reflection you are getting.

Not all lights however make for safe riding as they don’t necessarily throw a beam onto the road surface but can be seen clearly by other shared road users. Some lights are dependant on the LED (Light Emitting Diodes) and the quality of the lens used but don’t throw a beam. While other lights have employed the use of either a magnifier or a reflector to increase the intensity of the light they omit in conjunction with a lens. 

Some thing that is prudent to check of your lights is the amount of visibility they create and if there is a deviation from being seen straight on as to how well they are still clearly seen. The most vulnerable time for a rider is when they are approached from the side and knowing that the lighting system you use gives some degree of visibility is some thing to be considered.

Head lights that throw a constant beam may seem expensive as they have an incandescent globe and or halogen and a rechargeable battery operating system but this cost is minimal when it is weighed up against the risk of not being seen.  The use of a incandescent globe does require much more power to illuminate compared to the bright and flashy LED’s and usually have some smarts about the manner in which the battery pack is charged hence the additional purchase cost. When weighing up this comparative cost over many years of purchasing batteries and quality of light it will become evident there is good value in a quality lighting system

The wearing of lights on clothing, back packs and attached to beneath the seat tool kits reduces the effectiveness of the light. To get the best of your lighting system they are best kept at a static height and alignment to been readily seen and not creating a peek a boo game of where are they now for the shared road users. 

The wearing of additional lights on helmets can give be an advantage when trying to gain eye contact as you approach intersections of fast approaching shared road users.

To complement your lighting system the wearing of reflective clothing such as vests, anklets or wrist bands work very well as these are reflective of the headlights of cars and are not as reliant on directional eye contact with a light source.  Above all making your riding style predictable for others and being seen readily will keep you with a better chance of being a non contact opportunity.

See you on the road soon God willing.


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