So you just went online and searched out the absolute brightest bike light you could find. You bought yourself a couple of super bring rear lights and strapped them on. You absolutely want to be seen, so you set everything to flashing mode and you’re out the door on your way. Great, right??
NO! STOP! BAD! HALT!
While you’re off by yourself on some deserted road you can light yourself up like an amusement park ride all you’d like, but riding on bike routes with other people is a whole different thing. Nobody wants to ride towards this:
Annoying right? Like you can barely stand to look at your screen right now? Yeeeep.
A few interesting articles talking about flashing bike lights and the bad side of using them:
- Epileptic seizure warning over flashing bike lights
- Bike bullies: Turn off those blinking lights!
- The Case Against Bright-as-the-Sun Flashing Bike Lights
While you see lots and lots of cyclists out there running flashing lights all around we really, REALLY recommend that you don’t be that person. If you come out on a group ride with flashing lights, don’t be surprised if someone asks you to turn them off!
Some basic etiquette:
- No flashing headlights or tail lights please! (decorative lights are fine -we all like to party!)
- Tail lights really aren’t necessary on bike-only trails – you do NOT need a tail light riding around Stanley Park in a group at night for instance
- Aim your headlight low; if you are lighting up reflective street signs, it’s pointed too high
- Turn your lights off when we stop; besides wasting your battery you’re probably blinding someone
When it comes to being seen we usually worry about cars more than anything. Thankfully cars typically have bright headlights meaning reflectors are an excellent way to catch their attention without annoying anyone.
The bike above has nothing more than a couple of strips of DOT reflective tape and a few spoke reflectors, yet it stands out nice and bright!
I quite like spoke reflectors personally – they’re barely visible during the day, but they’re highly effective at night. Since they’re attached to your wheels, they catch driver’s attention better than stationary reflectors. Best of all they’re cheap, and they don’t get stolen when you leave your bike locked up!
Velcro reflective straps are great too – you can wear them on yourself if you so choose, but you can strap them on your bike too. I have a couple like this strapped to my rack and saddle:
Reflective stuff will give you the confidence to ‘be seen’, won’t get stolen and doesn’t need to be charged – how great is that??