Cycling lights are a wonderful safety tool for people who find themselves riding after dark. Riding a bike after dark is dangerous, not only is it difficult to see what is ahead of you, but it is also difficult for car drivers to see you. Riding a bike on roadways can be equally dangerous during the day. Drivers always have difficulty spotting cyclists, and flashing lights can help keep you safe.
Bike lights come in a variety of styles. One type are headlight signal devices designed to get a driver's attention. These lights are usually small, and are not meant to light the road. These lights are designed to blink a bright white, getting the attention of a driver.
A second type of lights are tail lights. Tail lights are small signal devices that mount to the post under the cyclist's seat. These are usually red. Higher end models offer both a standard setting, that regularly glows, and a blinking setting, that flashes to draw attention to the bike from passing motorists.
The third style of lights are the headlights. These are best used in environments that are not bright enough by street lamps, or when you need extra illumination for the road ahead of you. These headlights are designed to light your way, unlike the smaller signal lights. These lights mount to either your handlebars or your helmet.
When looking for cycling lights, there are several things to keep in mind. To begin with, you should look into getting all LED lights. LED lights shine brighter and use less battery power than their counterparts. LED lights appear crisp and bright in the darkness, getting the attention of drivers faster than other types of lights.
Each light will claim that it offers a certain amount of lumen. A lumen is a standard unit of light, and a count of lumen shows how much light is emitted by the device per second. This means that the higher the lumen, the brighter the light. Non-signal headlights should be at least 300 lumen to provide enough light to see obstacles in the road.
Rechargeable cycling lights will save you a lot in battery costs. Look for lights that recharge as an entire unit. These are usually the easiest to use, frequently detaching from your bike quickly. The light can be charged in the house at night, and reattached to the bike easily in the morning.
Signal tail lights should be mounted to the post under the seat, pointing directly backwards. Signal headlights should be mounted near the center of the handlebars, facing directly forward. Headlights should be mounted both on the handlebars and your helmet. The handlebar headlight should be pointing at the ground a few feet in front of your bike to illuminate the near road. The headlight on your helmet should be centered above your forehead and pointing straight forward. This will cause the light to shine where your head turns, giving extra light when needed. All lights operate with a small switch. Remember to turn all bike lights on before you start riding, and off when you reach your destination.