Ensuring you can be seen on the road is most important precaution you can take to ensure you stay safe on the roads. If you are going to invest in just one piece of kit for your commute, make it a set of lights. They are something that no commuter should be without.
Your bike should be equipped with a good quality front and rear light. In addition to this you can add blinker lights to your backpack etc and wear high visibility items of clothing.
Purchasing commuter lights can be a tricky business. There can often be a full wall of lights to choose from in the bike shop, ranging radically in appearance and price. In a bid to make the process a little easier, here is a short guide on what to look for when purchasing commuter lights:
[part title=" Brightness"]
There are two types of lights, one to be seen with and the other to see with. The first are the types of lights you should have if you are riding on well-lit roads. You need the latter if you are riding on remote country roads after dark and need a light so you can actually see where you are going.
The majority of commuters need lights to be seen with. These lights just need to be strong enough to alert other road users of your presence and ensure you are easily seen.
Light brightness is measured in lumens. Most manufacturer’s commuter lights offer between 50 and 300 lumens. You do not want to opt for the lower end of this range as even on brightly lit streets, the light will not be very effective.
[part title=" Mounting"]
Lights come equipped with a mounting device and this is meant to create a solid attachment to the handlebars or helmet for your front light and to the seat post for your back light.
When choosing a commuter light, it is essential that you choose one with an easy mounting system, A tool free mount will be easy to install and will also mean that it Is super easy to transfer your lights onto another bike if needed.
You should also consider how easy it is to pop the lights on and off your bike. Leaving lights on your bike while it is locked up outside is an open invitation to thieves, they’ll be gone before you blink.
[part title=" Batteries"]
More and more lights these days are re-chargeable. These lights may cost a little more initially but you will make up the added spend over time. Especially handy are lights that are re-charged with the use of a USB cable. Simply hook them up to your computer when you get into the office, remove before home time and you’ll be all set.
[part title=" Casing/ function buttons"]
It is also advisable to choose a light with a large power button, it makes it far easier in the depths of winter when you are wearing gloves.
Most lights will feature just one large button that will run through all of the various settings per touch, it will then require one long push of the button to switch it off – this eradicates the chance of being plummeted into darkness by mistaking powering the light off!
[part title="Supplementary / Blinker Lights"]
These are lights that can be attached anywhere and are fantastic for providing additional visibility on the bike. They are super cheap to buy so it is worth popping a couple in your drawer at work just in case you are caught short without your other lights.
They are also very handy for attaching to your backpack or the back of your helmet.