Ninja’s are cool. They sneak in, nab their target, and sneak back out before anyone even realizes that they’re there. But when it comes to night riding on your bike, being invisible can get you killed. As cool as ninjas are, you don’t want to be one during your morning or evening commute.
The law across the U. S. is that you must have “a front white light and a red rear reflector and/or a rear red light” while riding a bicycle in the dark. There’s no requirement for how bright the light is, but the brighter the light, the more likely you’ll be seen.
It’s safest to use lights on your bike any time that you would be using them if you were driving a motor vehicle. So even if it’s not pitch black out yet, dawn and dusk are still times when it’s easy to become invisible on the roads.
Lights are cheap and can be easily mounted on your bike. Gone are the days of ginormous batteries that were a pain to charge and just as much of a pain to mount on the bicycle. Nowadays you can get cheap, wraparound lights for under $10. (They make great stocking stuffers!)
The lights shown above aren’t particularly bright, but they will help make you a bit more noticeable. You’ll be relying on street lights to find your way around, though.
If you’re going to need enough light to see by, then aim for something much more powerful than what’s shown above. It takes about 850 lumens to get a clear picture of the road, upcoming potholes, sticks and stones, etc. A light this strong is going to run closer to $100, but if you do a lot of night riding, then the money will be well spent.
When I attend City events where I’m in mixed company and we’re talking about transportation issues, the number one complaint I hear against cyclists is that they don’t use lights at night. Nobody wants to hit a cyclist. So having one pop up out of nowhere is scary and unnerving. It’s not just a safety issue, but a courtesy issue. We shouldn’t be scaring the daylights out of people on the road. That doesn’t make anyone happy.
If you need lights for your bike, but you can’t afford them right now, check out this event being put on October 28th and November 4th by the city of Fort Collins
Light Up the Night | Wednesday 10/28 4:30-7:00p at CSU LSC Flea Market | Thursday 11/4 TBD| Monday 12/7 6:00-8:30 PM at Northside Aztlan Center. Did you know that front lights are required on bicycles at night? Are you in need of a light? Stop by one of our “Light Up the Night” events to receive important cycling related information and a free light to keep you riding bright (while supplies last). Fun and free for the entire family!
There’s no excuse not to have a light on your bike the next time you’re out. You’ll be safer. And motorists will be glad to see you.
Be bright. Use a light.