Best Rear Light:
The most common problem with rear lights is glare. If your bike is parked in the dark at night, then it will become visible from far away. You may not even notice it if you are driving or walking around the street.
But when you ride through a parking lot or driveway, you might have to stop and look twice before seeing your own shadow against the car headlights. That’s why there are several types of rear lights available on the market today.
There are two main types of rear lights: reflectors and diffusers. A reflector reflects light back towards the rider while a diffuser disperses it outwards so that it doesn’t interfere with other road users’ vision. Reflectors are usually mounted on the top of the frame or on the fork blades.
They cost more than diffusers but they give better visibility at night and they don’t make your bike seem like a police car flashing its lights behind you!
Here are some popular models:
If you want to save money, then a front light would be the way to go. These lights shine straight ahead and provide maximum visibility at night. However, they aren’t very bright and they tend to cast shadows on the ground behind them which makes them less visible than a rear light.
They are also more visible to other road users. Here are some of the best front lights:
Diffusers are usually mounted on the seat post or the handlebars. They provide good visibility to other road users as they shine light outwards and away from the rider. The only drawback is that they don’t draw attention to your rear, which can be a problem in some areas.
These lights are perfect if you’re cycling around the city as they provide visibility without blinding oncoming traffic. They are also easy to spot by drivers. Here are some popular models:
Lights are extremely important for all cyclists. In fact, it’s a legal requirement in the UK to have a working front light and rear reflector on your bike after dark. If you’re cycling home in the twilight or through dark country lanes, then using lights will make you more visible to other road users and help prevent accidents.
There are lots of bike lights on the market today and choosing the right one can be a bit daunting.
Why do you need lights?
A common question that many cyclists ask is “why do I need bright rear lights when I have a high visibility fluorescent jacket?”
. The answer to this question is that while your jacket will make you more visible to motorists, it won’t make you seen from behind. This is where rear lights come in. The red flashing light acts as a beacon to other road users, making you seen from all angles.
Are dynamo lights reliable?
The short answer is yes! Dynamo powered lights are becoming more and more popular every year. They are reliable and efficient so they will last the distance. They don’t require any batteries or charging which means less maintenance for you.
Can dynamo lights fail?
They are an electronic device so they can fail but they usually last a lot longer than you would expect them to. Dynamo lights are also a lot more reliable than standard battery lights as they rarely develop a “memory” (where the light turns on for half a second before going out altogether) like some battery powered lights do.
Do I need to pedal to get the dynamo light working?
Your dynamo light is attached to your wheel so if your wheel is turning, then your light is on. You don’t need to pedal faster or harder, the resistance of your wheel against the dynamo is enough to keep your light working.
How bright are these lights?
Dynamo lights are great as they offer a strong steady beam of light without the need for batteries. This makes them very reliable and efficient. You can get dynamo lights that produce 500 or more lumens of light while others produce just 300 lumens. Of course, the more lumens you have, the stronger and brighter your light will be.
Do I need to worry about replacing the dynamo lights?
The great thing about dynamo lights is that they don’t require any maintenance at all! Because they are attached directly to your wheel, there is very little that can go wrong with them. Even if the lights do stop working, you can take them into a repairer to get them fixed or replaced.
Stick with quality lights
When it comes to buying dynamo lights, it really is worth spending that little bit extra to get a good quality light. It might be tempting to go for the cheapest light you can find but they are often made from inferior materials which means they won’t last as long. If you do have to replace your light in the first year of owning it, you’re actually spending more money than you would if you just bought a good quality light in the first place!
What safety standards should I look out for?
We have already mentioned that quality lights are important but they also need to meet safety standards. If you buy a light from a no-name or cheap site online then it might not meet any safety standards at all. This means that not only are you putting yourself in danger by using the light but you could also be liable if you cause an accident.
Always check that the dynamo lights you are buying have been certified to Australian Standards. You can do this by looking for the Standards sticker on or in the box the light came in, if it has one. If you can’t find one, do not use the light and return it to the place you purchased it from.
How long do dynamo lights last?
Manufacturers will give you projected life expectancies for dynamo lights but they are only estimates. The reality is that it is impossible to tell how long a light is going to last before it fails. Factors such as how much you use your bike, the quality of the light and the quality of the dynamo all have an effect on how long your light will last.
If you have a very expensive light with a high lumen count and you use it on the lowest setting and infrequently then you could get years of use out of it. If you have a cheaper light with a low lumen count and you ride your bike every day then it probably won’t last as long. It really does depend on how you personally use your bike.
The lifespan of your dynamo is not something you can easily measure either. There is no odometer or mechanical device that tells you when your dynamo needs to be replaced. It all comes down to personal experience and how it feels to you.
If you start to notice a slight dimming of your lights or they start to flicker, then it might be time to replace your dynamo.
Are dynamo lights legal?
Yes, dynamo lights are completely legal in Australia. Although it is recommended that you use front and rear lights at night or in low-light conditions, it is not a legal requirement. If you are using reflectors instead, make sure they are securely attached to your bike and are in good working order (not faded or cracked). Front and rear lights are required by law when riding your bike after dark or in low-light conditions. You can be fined for not having them.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Daytime Conspicuity Benefits of Rear-Facing Bike Lights by D Edewaard – 2020 – tigerprints.clemson.edu
Bike Swarm by A Berke, T Sanchez Lengeling, J Nawyn… – … Publication of the 2019 …, 2019 – dl.acm.org
Dynamo led bike safety lights by I Martín Montemayor – 2016 – repositorio.comillas.edu
Where do bike lanes work best? A Bayesian spatial model of bicycle lanes and bicycle crashes by MC Kondo, C Morrison, E Guerra, EJ Kaufman… – Safety science, 2018 – Elsevier
Bike Safe: An Automatic Turn Signal System by BH Chan, RA Duran – 2014 – digitalcommons.calpoly.edu
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry Bike Library Program by D Gamils, F Monasterio – 2013 – dspace.sunyconnect.suny.edu
Best Bike Rides Orange County, California: The Greatest Recreational Rides in the Metro Area by WD Cottrell – 2016 – books.google.com
Best Bike Rides Los Angeles: The Greatest Recreational Rides in the Metro Area by WD Cottrell – 2015 – books.google.com
Best Bike Rides San Francisco: The Greatest Recreational Rides in the Metro Area by WD Cottrell – 2013 – books.google.com