Happy Friday, everybody!
It seems like a lot of people are thinking of bike lights recently.
There are these cool active lightning bicycle tires. In Kansas City, local cycling advocates are handing out free bike lights. And the Chicago Department of Transportation created this bike lighting video as part of their series of bike safety videos (Via Chicago Bike Advocate):
Bikes For the Rest of Us “Bright Lights for the Rest of Us” repeats the claim that “taillights are even more essential than headlights.” This is an expression of the natural but irrational fear many of us have of getting hit from behind.
When bike light maker Light & Motion did market research last year for new and improved bike lights, they found 96% of surveyed cyclists fear the rear more than anything else.
Graphic courtesy of Light & Motion.
70% of bicycle crashes are from the front. If I had to choose between front and back lights, I’d pick the front.
Think about this: a motorist approaching from behind has his headlights shining directly at you. Unless you’re a complete bike ninja with black clothes on a black bike and a black backpack, the motorist at least has a chance of seeing you. He has headlights to ensure he doesn’t run over stationary hazards on the road, so hopefully he’ll see moving objects as well. Even cars with broken taillights aren’t invisible to following traffic.
A motorist going through intersection, though, won’t see the cyclist approaching from the left or right on the cross street. The cyclist is coming from the side, exactly where the headlights are not shining.
This is probably the reasoning behind many state bike equipment laws in which headlights are required, but only a reflectors are mandated for the rear.
I’m counting angels on a pinhead here, of course. Realistically, cyclists should have front and tail lights, and I recommend side lighting as well. I like to go bright on the front, but I don’t sweat things too much on the taillight unless I plan on hitting high speed expressways or ride in poor weather. As long as I have reasonably fresh batteries and the light is aimed correctly, I’m good to go.