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Bike lights

I'm brand new to cycling and have only just got my first bike. Now I'm after stuff to put on my Christmas list and the first thing that comes to mind is lights so that I can train in the evenings.

As a motorist I find flashing rear lights on bikes irritating. Not only do they draw your attention (bunny in headlight syndrome) so that you are not paying attention to any other hazards on the road (such as pedestrians) but I also find it harder to assess how far away the bike is compared to a bike with a constant light. I haven't noticed any difference with being able to see bikes with fixed lights (as long as they are bright enough) so why is it that cyclists seem to prefer flashing lights?

I think that a proper high vis jacket provides more safety to the cyclist (and I already have one of these for running that I can use for cycling) but lights are a legal requirement and do provide additional benefit.

Of course, up until now I have only experienced this from the motorists viewpoint, so I am interested to hear what cyclists have to say. So what does everyone else think? What should I put on my wish list?


  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I always watch for the lights to be with LED-lamps ,you know, the tiny lights that use almost no power, but give a very bright light. People from my work who pass me by car when I commute by bike,say that they can see me from very far. I suppose you dont really nee flashing lights as long as the permanent one is bright enough. But on the other hand, it won't harm you if you have a flashing one. Personal favour i guess.

    Have you ever heard of ID-tags? That would be a great thing foryour wish list I think.
  • By ID-tags, do you mean identification so that if I have a medical problem / accident someone can find out who I am? Don't have one yet, but then I never run / cycle on my own. Something to consider for the future though.
  • tony btony b Posts: 57
    I find flashing lights irritating too, not sure why, but when I get my new winter lights I'll get one which you can switch between flashing and constant, which seems the norm these days.

    The other thing that baffles me is why some cyclists buy these fancy lights, then dress in dark clothes. Stupid! Reflective vest would be a must (the grey reflective strips - don't know the name, light be Scotchlite - are really good), as are reflective ankle strips. If they're moving, they're even more visible. I also buy the stick on strips and put them on my helmet.

  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Thats what i mean. They are fluorescent, 3M or whatever you call it, thats why i brought it up here since you talke about vis jackets.

    Caz, don't always assume your training partners know your phone numbers of loved ones, know your blood type, ...

    Maybe I'm being pessimist, but better safe than sorry.

    I'm sure one day you'll have a solo training, when buddies wanna stick to the tube in their hot houses when its cold outside. Great to have these safety things like vests, tags, Lights,...

  • Or they have a high vis vest with a rucksack over the top so that you can't see the vest.
  • Benny, I train with Hubby and he knows more about me than anyone else. However, I do agree with you that ID is important, I'm just too lazy to get some.

    What really brought it home to me was when my cat got killed last week. We had only just got round to getting her a collar that worked the cat flap, but hadn't got round to putting a phone number on her. If we had, the person that run her over would have been able to phone us and we would have been spared 3 days of worry.

    Now, I'm hoping that if/when I get run over, I won't be left on the side of the road like the cat was, but it would probably improve my chances of survival if I had some sort of ID.

    I will add it to my wish list:




    Water bottle and holder
  • This is a bit gloomy but what happens if you and hubby are both unconcious? I was given a road ID tag as a present, it holds quite a lot of info.

    Flashing lights by themselves are actually illegal, as even though its a split second they are still off for that time. Im a cyclist and a motorist, but tend to use flashing lights as the battery lasts a lot longer.

    Totally agree with all who comment about a good high vis jacket. You can also get a band which is similoar to a cycle clip but hi vis and is a good eyecatcher as they're constantly moving on your legs.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I have a helmet with integrated lights in the back. Quite handy,LED-lights so batteries last long
  • tony btony b Posts: 57
    I was driving in the car last night. It was dark and the road was unlit, and I was thinking about this forum, badly-lit cyclists etc. And I thought, all a cyclist has to be seen is a small light and a few high vis accessories. And I thought, what if you could light up the back of your body on a bike? Possibly by having an additional light at the rear that shines forward - sounds a bit wacky but that could make a big difference. Fitting might be awkward, and you'd have to get it away from the seat, so commuters with racks would have less trouble.

    I'm going to think about it a bit more, and if anyone likes thinking through problems and solution-finding, maybe we could share a few ideas. Could be the start of something big - and bright.
  • You could be on to something there. I would file a patent if I was you and see whether you can get commercial backing.
  • All the talk so far seems to be about being seen, which is obviously very important, but what about the front light to actually see? Given the appalling state of out roads, a decent front light is essential to be able to see all the pot holes, raised man hole covers etc.

    Given the risks of cycling at night i've opted to join a gym to do my cycling indoors.

    Does anyone have any advice about the types of gym bikes and the effectiveness of gym bikes compared to the real thing?

  • I stay safe, warm and dry throughout the winter thanks to my turbo trainer.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Nothing can beat outside training, appousis and swissjonesy. You really need to get out there from time to time. What about cornering? What about uphill? And what if it rains on race day and you've been warm and cosy inside on your turbo all winter. I believe you need tomix turbo and outside training, because both have some up and downsides.

    What about commuting to work on bike? You need lights then, because it's still or already dark then. This is a big part of your training; for me its 32k a day. If you dothat 3 times a week thats 100k extra training.
  • I intend to cycle to the gym. I might do more work on the exercise bike while I'm there, but I would prefer to bike it than to take the car if I can. The route isn't badly lit and has cycle paths most of the way, but a decent front light wouldn't be a bad idea.

    Cycling to work isn't an option. I do about 100 miles a day and most of that is on the motorway. Firstly, I'm not that fit, secondly I'm not fast enough to get there and back in any sensible time and thirdly bikes aren't allowed on the motorway and to take the back roads would add even more milage!
  • A good point well made benny.

    This works for me as I work for myself from home and am prone to chest infections so try to stay warm and dry if poss. I do venture out at the w/e if fairly dry either on road or for some mtb action but avoid cycling at night as a general rule.
  • bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    I suppose thats the ideal combination you've got there. Especially mixing in the MTB at winter is great.

    There's nothing worse then junk mileage doing the same over and over again.(except maybe doing nothing[&:])
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