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Bike Lights: Safety for Night and Day(light savings)

Bike Lights: Safety for Night and Day(light savings)

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Image courtesy of Börkur Sigurbjörnsson via Flickr

Daylight Savings is to make better use of daylight. During the Spring, we adjust our clocks forward and during the Fall our clocks are adjusted one hour back. This month, night falls much earlier than we're used to, and most of us are commuting home after it's already gone dark outside. Bike lights are absolutely safety necessities. Here's why.

Riding with bike lights is an absolute must at night AND day, whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider. When you ride without the bike lights on, you are putting your life at risk.

Trust me, you don’t want to go on the highway on a bike without lights! You must respect the rules of the road at all times and have all the essential gear for safe riding.

This includes bike lights. Bike lights are essential for road safety at night and day. They make you visible in the traffic at night and during the days when visibility is limited.

Have the lights on during the day whenever you’re riding in the rain, fog or snow. I know of many cyclists who keep their bike lights on during the day and this is a good habit – one that has to be encouraged.

Image courtesy of Emilie Rhaupp via Flickr

What does the law have to say about bike lights?

The law on bike lights is pretty clear – you have to have them on. Most states have made it mandatory for bicycles to be equipped with a light on the front which emits a white light. This light should be visible from a distance of 500 feet in front.

Darkness, by law, is defined as the period from half hour after sunset half hour before sunrise. Not having the bike lights on when you ride the bike at this time leaves you at risk of being in violation of the law.

What’s important here is that the approaching motor vehicles should be able to notice you from a distance. Whether you are able to see them or not is of a secondary importance. The purpose of bike lights is to ensure that the bicyclist is seen by the other motor vehicles on the road. That’s the law on bike lights.

You certainly wouldn’t want the police to catch you riding the bike at night without the lights on. There is absolutely no excuse for that!

Keeping the Bike Lights On During the Day

There is every reason for you to keep the bike lights on during the day for your own safety. The most common reason for accidents involving bikers is that the approaching car driver was not aware of their presence, until it was too light. They just fail to notice the cycling on time.

Cyclists appear like tiny specks on the road – they do not have the heft or the size of a truck or a car. They are practically invisible to the drivers of cars and trucks especially in dim light conditions.

The car driver is not really aware of the cyclist’s presence. He is unlikely to check if there is a cyclist to his right on the road. The cyclist just does not appear on his radar screen and is never a part of the car driver’s consciousness.

What having a bike light on at day and night does is to get the car driver or truck driver to notice you when you are on the road, riding your favorite bike. They cannot ignore your light or headlamp.

There are special types of bike lights that get switched on automatically whenever there is a vehicle approaching from the other end, even during the day. This is something you should consider.

Finally…

When shopping for bike lights, you may want to consider LED lights as they are more energy efficient and last for years. Most bike lights are easy to use and can be clipped on to your handlebar or helmet without much trouble.


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