Your guide to the best front lights for cycling + beam comparison engine

Here's everything you need to know about what to put on your bars, plus beam comparisons of over 40 current lights

by Dave Atkinson   October 14, 2014  

Knog Blinder Arc 1.7 front light

When the clocks go back and the nights draw in, you need to make sure you've got a set of lights on your bike. It's the law in the UK to run them after dark, and they're a major safety aid about town as well as letting you see where you're going in the dark lanes.

If you're in the market for some bike lights there's a bewildering array of lights out there to choose from, ranging from a few quid to nearly a grand, so what's the best bet for your riding? To help you choose here's road.cc's quick guide to the technology and the options available for your front light.

Check out our beam comparison engine

Our beam test comparison data contains beam shots and data for over 40 of this year's lights, so you can directly compare one with another. It's at the bottom of this page.

It's LEDs or LEDs these days

A few years ago you had a choice of different bulb options to consider, but LED lights have improved to such an extent – and come down in price too – that there really isn't a choice any more. LEDs tick all the boxes for a bike light. They're tiny, they cost tuppence to make, they last for ever, they're rugged, they run fairly cool and they're easy on the juice. No wonder that everyone's using them these days. There's LEDs and there's LEDs – the bulbs in a cheap flasher that look like the ones out of your old 100-in-1 science set are a long way removed from the high-spec emitters in top-dollar off-road lamps. Outputs have shot up in the last year or two as well, with the brightest lights claiming outputs of several thousand lumens, more than a car headlight. More general purpose lights range from 50 to about 500 lumens, with basic commuter lights and emergency lights weaker still; they're mostly to be seen by, though, not to see with.

Setting the standard.

Technically, all bike lights must be fitted to comply with the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations (RVLR). For the record, here's what those regs say...

Front Lamp
One is required, showing a white light, positioned centrally or offside, up to 1500mm from the ground, aligned towards and visible from the front. If capable of emitting a steady light it must be marked as conforming to BS6102/3 or an equivalent EC standard. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least 4 candela.

Rear Lamp
One is required, to show a red light, positioned centrally or offside, between 350mm and 1500mm from the ground, at or near the rear, aligned towards and visible from behind. If capable of emitting a steady light it must be marked as conforming to BS3648, or BS6102/3, or an equivalent EC standard. If capable of emitting only a flashing light, it must emit at least 4 candela.

You also need a rear reflector and four pedal reflectors to fully comply with the RVLR.

In practice, not all bike lights are kitemarked. The specification for lights dates back to 1986 and is designed to apply to lights with filament bulbs. That doesn't mean that LED lights can't meet the requirements – many do – but lots of them aren't specifically tested for the ageing Brititsh standard, especially those that are for the worldwide market. Since the RVLR was amended to allow cyclists to fit flashing LEDs we've heard very little about cyclists being stopped for having non-compliant lights.

Choosing a light: things to consider

What am I going to use the light for?
Are you going to be pootling down to the shops, or do you detour through the woods on the way home? You need to consider how much light you need, and where you need it to be put. Brighter is often better, but look for lights with good side visibility if you're riding a lot in town: side visibility is very imprtant when coming out of a junction.

If you're solely riding on the road, look for a light with a beam pattern that's not going to dazzle oncoming traffic. Narrow beams and German-style cutoff beams (designed to comply with German road lighting regulations, where 95% of the available light must be directed downwards) are the ones to look out for. If you're mixing up your road riding with paths and singletrack, a light with a wide beam that has lower-power modes for use in traffic may be the one to go for.

If you're going to be doing a lot of swapping between bikes, consider how easy that's going to be. Are the mounts quick release? Are there lots of wires to deal with?

How regularly will I use the light, and how long per day?
If your commute is an hour and your light gives out after 50 minutes then you're in trouble. If it has a proprietary charger rather than batteries or a USB charge option, then it needs to last to where you're going and back again. Think about when you'll recharge the light and how long that will take.

Many lights have low-power options that will extend battery life, so it's important to work out if these will give you enough output for certain sections of your ride. Many lights have fuel gauge displays to let you know the state of the battery, these can be very useful if you ride regularly and aren't good at remembering to charge your lights.

What conditions will I use the light in?
If you're riding every day, come what may, your lights will take a beating. They're very exposed to rain and spray at the front of your bike. Generally the more expensive lights are better constructed with more effective seals, so spend as much as you can afford. If you think you might break your lights from using them in all conditions, check what the warranty is like.

The gamut of glare

Okay, so you've got to buy some lights. What kind of lights do you need? here's a quick run down of the basic types you can get your hands on, and who they're aimed at.

Emergency lights

small enough to leave in your bag for when you need them, emergency lights normally attach with a stretchy band to the bars or frame and are powered by button cells. They don't put out a great deal of light but as an get-you-home solution if you get caught out or your main lights fail, they're a lot better than nothing.
Try: Cateye Loop Lights, Electron Backupz, Knog Frog

Small flashers

The next step up is a bar/frame-mounted flasher. Most of these are capable of putting out a steady beam too. They're a bit bigger and sturdier than an emergency light, and they generally take AAA batteries which last for ages. You can pick them up cheap so they can be better value all round – in terms of buying and running – than emergency lights.

Torches

There's lots and lots of choice when it comes to torch-style front lights. Powered either by AA/AAA cells or – more commonly now – a rechargeable battery pack, they put out a bit more light: if your riding takes you anywhere you need to see – rather than just be seen – you'll need at least one of these. Often manufacturers will bundle a torch-style front light with a rear flasher, seeing to both ends of your bike and scoring you a bit of a discount in the process. Rechargeable units sometimes come with a mains adaptor but USB chargers are becoming increasingly common, allowing you to juice up your light at your desk. The brightest torch-style lights now kick out over 1,000 lumens, which is more than you'll ever need for road riding, but on lower settings the best ones will run all night.

Rechargeable systems

These tend to be characterised by a separate battery pack attached to a smaller head unit that's a lot more powerful than a standard torch. They start at around £20 for a CREE-powered ebay light but you can pay the best part of a grand for the really high end stuff. If you want to go out regularly and train after dark on the lanes, or venture off-road, then a rechargeable set may be your best bet.

Dynamo lights

If you want your lights to be a permanent fixture and never worry about batteries then you can't do better than a dynamo. Hub dynamos are the pick for low maintenance and decent output; most will supply 2.4-3W which is plenty for a bright light front and rear. Pick a system that stores some of the energy from the dynamo so you don't go dark when you're stopped at the traffic lights. Many riders leave their dynamo lights on for daylight running too, as they draw very little energy from the bike.

Head torches

Fitting a light to your helmet means you can point the beam where you want it, making the light a lot more useful. Some of the smaller rechargeable systems come with a helmet mount, or you could go for a more general use headband-type light and ziptie it on. Bear in mind that you should also have a fixed light on your bike if you want to comply with the law.

The light comparator

If you have a nice big screen you can click here for the widescreen version (1400x1000px)

About the beam comparison engine

We've collected lots of beam data so you can compare and contrast the different lights. Light manufacturers use a number of different metrics to describe light output. We've used lux here, but measured at a number of points across the width of the beam. That gives an indication of the brightness of the beam at the centre, the amount of peripheral light and the throw of the beam. We think that's the most useful measurement to directly compare. Specifically, we measured the lux value of the beam at two metres distance, in 10cm increments from the centre of the beam to 1m from the centre, giving eleven readings.

We've also included data on the shape of the beam. In previous years we've struggled to get a meaningful shape for many lights using a fixed position, so this year we've been a bit more subjective. The lights were positioned such that the shape of the beam was most noticeable, then readings taken from 0° round to 180° in 30° increments. Then the numbers were normalised for all lights, to a maximum value of 10. That gives an indication of the beam shape.

Most of the lights we tested still had a more-or-less round beam.  For riding on the road a squared-off beam has advantages. You're not wasting your battery lighting up the tree canopy, and you're less likely to dazzle oncoming traffic. Such beams are widely used in Europe, and in Germany they're the only lights legal for use on the road.

To get a good idea of what each beam looks like, we set up a bike on a rig so that we could photograph the beams of all the different lights in a comparable way. Each of the beam shots you can see above was taken using the same settings on the camera: 28mm (effective 45mm), shooting for 2s at f22 on ISO3200. If you fancy doing some of your own. So as much as they can be, they're directly comparable to one another. If one looks brighter than another, that's because it was. Skardy the Altura-Night-Vision-sporting model is at 10m (the cones are 2m apart) and the car is 20m away.

A word about logs

The graph displaying the beam data uses a logarithmic scale to display the output of the lights. If you understand or care about such things, here's why:

Firstly, light beams follow an inverse square law regarding the strength of the light at increasing distance, because they're illuminating a two-dimensional plane. So at twice the distance, the light beam is spread over four times the area. Consequently, a light that is measured as twice as bright at its centre won't let you see twice as far. The logarithmic scale produces a more realistic visual comparison because of this.

Secondly, the variations in the amount of peripheral light, though much smaller than the variations in the centre, make a big difference to how much peripheral vision you get. The logarithmic scale amplifies these differences relative to the centre of the beam, so it's easier to see which unit is putting out more light at the sides.

53 user comments

Latest 30 commentsNewest firstBest ratedAll

Really, a site that is meant to be about road cycling should be doing a better job of highlighting beam pattern issues with dazzle, as the first poster has highlighted.

In addition, the ebay specials should be on here for comparison, and where is the rest of the exposure range? I'd be interested to see the Strada in particular as it's meant to be a road light with a dip pattern.

Light manufacturers really need to get more products out with non-dazzling beam patterns and decent output for cycling on unlit roads.

DaveE128's picture

posted by DaveE128 [78 posts]
15th October 2014 - 9:55

1 Like

Paul_C wrote:
curently running a Phillips Saferide 80 rechargeable on the front and its beam is very nice with no wasted light and no dazzle

I have the dynamo version and I am very pleased with it. Very bright but German road legal and the stand light lasts a decent time.

Be careful with the mounts though...I have had a few that have failed really quickly. My current one (with the addition of a large washer) seems to be holding out though. I would also suggest reenforcing the cable as it enters the light (I used heatshrink but tape would probably work as well) as they seem to sometimes develop breaks in just a place that its very hard to repair.

posted by cqexbesd [27 posts]
15th October 2014 - 12:40

2 Likes

helmet mounted lights on their own confuse motorists because they are too high. I have had this experience, and would avoid using them on the road as a result. I'm not sure i'd use onw with the handlebar light i use. I have started using my Toro day and night. You dont want motorist mistaking you for a lampost or alien invasion.

If you have ever seen a car with just one light and thought it was a bike, or further away you'll understand.

B

posted by birzzles [19 posts]
15th October 2014 - 13:38

1 Like

I'd love to see whatever proof you have to support that. Suspect it's complete nonsense.

You see a light on the road - it doesn't matter if it's a car, or a bike - it's another road user therefore you don't drive/ride into them. It's really very simple.

The key to lighting is to stand out. That doesn't mean use flashing lights, it means having bright enough lights, or a pattern of lights, which will stand out from all the other lights out there. A dim/feeble light really doesn't achieve this. A flashing light really doesn't achieve this. And it can all be achieved without dazzling any other road users.

A higher mounted light is also more noticeable than a lower one - see for instance why high-level brake lights on cars have become the norm.

posted by andyp [1019 posts]
15th October 2014 - 13:43

0 Likes

andyp wrote:
I'd love to see whatever proof you have to support that. Suspect it's complete nonsense.

You see a light on the road - it doesn't matter if it's a car, or a bike - it's another road user therefore you don't drive/ride into them. It's really very simple.

So please explain why drivers pull out in perfect daylight with perfect visibility?

Is it a bright light far away or a dim light close? How about if you turn your head there is no light of any description.

Quote:
The key to lighting is to stand out. That doesn't mean use flashing lights, it means having bright enough lights, or a pattern of lights, which will stand out from all the other lights out there. A dim/feeble light really doesn't achieve this. A flashing light really doesn't achieve this. And it can all be achieved without dazzling any other road users.

No the point of lights is to see where your going, it is not to blind other road users or to create confusion. There are reasons why the law is as it is, so everyone knows what is going on. The law may be crap but it is quite clear on where the main light should be. It is easy to argue that drivers know that flashing lights are cyclists, so using a flashing light is actually safer than a steady light.

And who is saying use a feeble light? get a decent light on the bike as per the legal requirements.

If you don't have a light on the bike and are involved in an accident you will be guilty, I would strongly suggest Insurance almost certainly will not pay out, any excuse and no lights would amount to contributory negligence.

Quote:
A higher mounted light is also more noticeable than a lower one - see for instance why high-level brake lights on cars have become the norm.

Or maybe it is so you can see the brake light of the car in front of the car in front and thus gain more time to respond?

How often do you see a car with a broken headlight and spend a moment thinking is that a motorbike with room to move over and I can go through on a country road, or is it some k*** who can't be arsed to fix the broken headlight and won't be going anywhere so I better wait in this passing place?????

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
15th October 2014 - 14:07

0 Likes

So... The talk about beam pattern etc has me intrigued.

I currently run a Hope Vision 2 (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/product-news/7-of-the-best-high-power-fro...) which I bought a number of years ago. My route includes a good few miles of unlit country lanes & that seemed the best option at the time for avoiding nasty potholes in the dark.

Are the more modern lights significantly better than the 480 lumes the Hope kicks out?

posted by Spiny [8 posts]
15th October 2014 - 14:13

0 Likes

Another vote for Philips SafeRide - A great commuting light - a bit heavy for Roadsters - I'll put up a YouTube comparison against my cateye oneshot...

I read somewhere that it is legal/suitable for use on mopeds in Germany.

posted by ydrol [22 posts]
15th October 2014 - 14:47

1 Like

I use a couple of generic18650 powered Cree LED lights on my bars and one on my helmet. About 3UKP each from China. Plus batteries and charger. 18650s are the new (super) AA. Even cheap red ones are okay. I use them dipped but maybe I will mask the tops a little just to make sure. I did have a 3x18650 face-toaster for country roads but I never used it and carrying spares was prohibitive. Google "18650 Cree Led" ftw.

posted by timtak [27 posts]
16th October 2014 - 1:32

0 Likes

Spiny wrote:
So... The talk about beam pattern etc has me intrigued.

I currently run a Hope Vision 2 (http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/product-news/7-of-the-best-high-power-fro...) which I bought a number of years ago. My route includes a good few miles of unlit country lanes & that seemed the best option at the time for avoiding nasty potholes in the dark.

Are the more modern lights significantly better than the 480 lumes the Hope kicks out?

Really a question of what you mean by better, basically a Hope puts out a circle of light, as much lights up the air as it does the ground. Lighting upwards helps off road where it illuminates low branches and the like, on the road though it is basically wasted. The german stzvo lighting regs demand that bicycle lights produce a distinct light pattern that means that no light goes above the horizon, ie all light emitted from the LED goes down.

This gives some idea of what the regs are, but it does mean that although the beam patterns are good, they aren't as powerful as is practically possible.

http://swhs.home.xs4all.nl/fiets/tests/verlichting/stvzo/index_en.html

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
16th October 2014 - 7:55

1 Like

mrmo wrote:

So please explain why drivers pull out in perfect daylight with perfect visibility?


Because they can?

Quote:

Is it a bright light far away or a dim light close?

I'm not sure. Which light is this we're discussing?

Quote:

How about if you turn your head there is no light of any description.

This is why you should use a helmet light *with* a bar light. As you would have seen had you paid attention.

Quote:

No the point of lights is to see where your going, it is not to blind other road users or to create confusion. There are reasons why the law is as it is, so everyone knows what is going on.

No, the point of lights is so that other people can see that you are on the road. A light is highly unlikely to 'blind' another road user. But I agree that you should neither dazzle nor confuse other road users.

Quote:

The law may be crap but it is quite clear on where the main light should be.

I agree entirely. As you would have seen had you paid attention.

Quote:

It is easy to argue that drivers know that flashing lights are cyclists, so using a flashing light is actually safer than a steady light.

It is easier to prove that drivers can both see, and judge both distance and speed, of a steady light. So using a steady light is safer than a flashing light. There is *no* argument for using a flashing light other than to conserve battery life.

Quote:

And who is saying use a feeble light?

Nobody is saying use a feeble light. I am saying *don't* use a feeble light. As you would have seen had you paid attention.

Quote:

get a decent light on the bike as per the legal requirements.

per my post. As you would have seen had you paid attention.

Quote:

Or maybe it is so you can see the brake light of the car in front of the car in front and thus gain more time to respond?

No, it's so that the light is more noticeable as it is closer to the eyeline than a lower light would be.

Quote:

How often do you see a car with a broken headlight and spend a moment thinking is that a motorbike with room to move over and I can go through on a country road, or is it some k*** who can't be arsed to fix the broken headlight and won't be going anywhere so I better wait in this passing place?????

I'm not sure why that is relevant here, but yes, I have seen a car with a broken headlight. HTH.

posted by andyp [1019 posts]
16th October 2014 - 9:09

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andyp wrote:

A light is highly unlikely to 'blind' another road user.

Really? Oncoming full beam car headlights can make it make it impossible to see enough to ride or drive safely. I'd call that "blinded".

Modern bike lights are getting to the point where they're comparable in brightness to car headlights, but whilst the shape of car headlight dipped beams is restricted and checked by the MOT, there's nothing equivalent for bike lights in the UK.

The typical response to this is to simply point a bike light down a bit, but that's actually a really poor way to light up the road. What you really want is a beam with a sharp horizontal cut-off and peak brightness immediately below that cut-off. That is what car dipped headlights do, and it's what the few bike lights with a "proper" road pattern do.

It would great to see road.cc do a proper review of this issue, including some photos of what the beam looks like to oncoming traffic.

posted by pdw [34 posts]
16th October 2014 - 11:04

3 Likes

pdw wrote:
andyp wrote:

A light is highly unlikely to 'blind' another road user.

Really? Oncoming full beam car headlights can make it make it impossible to see enough to ride or drive safely. I'd call that "blinded".

Modern bike lights are getting to the point where they're comparable in brightness to car headlights, but whilst the shape of car headlight dipped beams is restricted and checked by the MOT, there's nothing equivalent for bike lights in the UK.

The typical response to this is to simply point a bike light down a bit, but that's actually a really poor way to light up the road. What you really want is a beam with a sharp horizontal cut-off and peak brightness immediately below that cut-off. That is what car dipped headlights do, and it's what the few bike lights with a "proper" road pattern do.

It would great to see road.cc do a proper review of this issue, including some photos of what the beam looks like to oncoming traffic.

Also, car lights have different beam patterns between left and right. In the UK (and other 'left' countries) the nearside light directs light further ahead so as to illuminate the kerb further ahead. The right portion of the left beam (i.e. the bit more in the centre of the cars' path) is flat at the top like the entire beam pattern of the right light.
I've got a Moon X300 and been flashed several times so I've lowered the beam a bit. But as pdw said, this isnt what we want. The Germans have it right.
I suspect one of the reasons bike lights have become so (too?) bright is to compensate for bad beam patterns, I think design has been to simply blast out as much light as possible and try and point most of it in the right place.
I can forsee some issues though. Even if we use 'flat' front lights it is still too easy to blind oncoming traffic by just having a small error in adjustment. Cars to a degree overcome this by 1) the MOT and 2) a vertical beam adjuster to cater for how the car is loaded.
Road bike lights dont need to be as bright as cars' because of the likely speed difference on unlit roads, and if bike lights had 'correct' / better beam patterns we could see and be seen with far fewer lumens - smaller and/or longer lasting batteries is one benefit.
When my commuting front wheel gives up I'll be get a hub dynamo with a German front light.
Good subject and interesting.
Oh, and of course off road a different kettle of leds.

posted by climber [27 posts]
16th October 2014 - 19:06

0 Likes

All the comments about the Germans having it right, together with the CTCs apparent ambition to have the standard mandated here as well, worry me somewhat, because for some purposes lights meeting that standard seem utterly inadequate.

Not surprisingly, they aren't helpful on a mixed onroad / offroad ride, such as my preferred commute. But the Ixon Core is inadequate to light twisty onroad sections at any reasonable speed, and does less well at alerting drivers pulling out of driveways than my nasty DX torch.

I think the issue is that the Core does a good job of mimicking dipped headlights, but without the ability to switch to a main beam, iti s not a reasonable facsimile of car headlights, and is inadequate for rural night riding.

posted by oldstrath [196 posts]
17th October 2014 - 8:10

0 Likes

oldstrath wrote:
All the comments about the Germans having it right, together with the CTCs apparent ambition to have the standard mandated here as well, worry me somewhat, because for some purposes lights meeting that standard seem utterly inadequate.

Nothing can be perfect.

Quote:
Not surprisingly, they aren't helpful on a mixed onroad / offroad ride, such as my preferred commute. But the Ixon Core is inadequate to light twisty onroad sections at any reasonable speed, and does less well at alerting drivers pulling out of driveways than my nasty DX torch.

Again nothing can be perfect, now replace nasty driver with oncoming cyclist on narrow shared use path who because of the wall of light can see j*** s***.... Which is where we are with some lights.

Quote:
I think the issue is that the Core does a good job of mimicking dipped headlights, but without the ability to switch to a main beam, iti s not a reasonable facsimile of car headlights, and is inadequate for rural night riding.

What I would be interested in seeing is what can be done with a B&M reflector and throwing out all the power constraints that stzvo apply. and then adding a main beam function. How much demand there would be for such a light????

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
17th October 2014 - 9:46

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Mrmo
indeed nothing can be perfect. The current informal approach to bike lighting recognises this. Mandating a standard that is unfit for many purposes is what bothers me.

Your idea of a powerful headlight with main beam would be good, although I'm personally unconvinced there's a vast problem with current lights, certainly not round here

posted by oldstrath [196 posts]
17th October 2014 - 15:11

0 Likes

It's a pity you didn't test any of those lights that are designed specifically for the road. The B&M Ixon Core is a good start, but the beam is quite limited. Others mentioned the Philips Saferide.

I bought a B&M Ixon IQ Premium recently, and this is a very fine light for the price, which doesn't dazzle the oncoming traffic, but still bright enough to see the road ahead. The Philips is probably brighter, but the B&M's beam is wider, so overall I prefer the B&M. It has a few issues like artifacts in the beam, but for the price it is an absolute bargain.

Unfortunately it is not available in the UK (AFAIK), but can be easily bought from any of the German sites, such as Bike24. Make sure to order the Premium version, which looks exactly the same as the previous version (except for the title)! The older version has quite a narrow beam, and is not a very good light in my opinion. So the new version was a nice surprise.

posted by haspokember [0 posts]
18th October 2014 - 13:08

2 Likes

pdw wrote:
andyp wrote:

A light is highly unlikely to 'blind' another road user.

Really? Oncoming full beam car headlights can make it make it impossible to see enough to ride or drive safely. I'd call that "blinded".

I'd suggest you look up what 'blind' and 'blinded' mean. I'd suggest you mean 'dazzled'.

posted by andyp [1019 posts]
18th October 2014 - 16:39

2 Likes

andyp wrote:

I'd suggest you look up what 'blind' and 'blinded' mean. I'd suggest you mean 'dazzled'.

From the OED

VERB

1Cause (someone) to be unable to see, permanently or temporarily:
the injury temporarily blinded him
her eyes were blinded with scalding tears

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
18th October 2014 - 18:38

2 Likes

This year I got myself new LED lights and my first proper night ride on Monday of this week was a revelation.

As cars approached me, they visibly slowed down. I don't believe I was dazzling them but was the first time making myself properly noticeable.

One pulsing and one on steady beam to see the road myself - that seems to work just fine.

This comparison article is one of road.cc's best features so thanks for doing it year on year. Applause

stenmeister's picture

posted by stenmeister [69 posts]
22nd October 2014 - 10:20

0 Likes

from someone who works in vision care

The injury one would be correct. The tears one would not be, neither would the bright light one.

posted by andyp [1019 posts]
22nd October 2014 - 12:29

0 Likes

andyp wrote:
from someone who works in vision care

The injury one would be correct. The tears one would not be, neither would the bright light one.

Sorry you are sort of wrong, you are assuming technical English trumps accepted English. The OED definition which is what I have given in the accepted English usage of the word blinded. From a technical point of view blinded might mean stabbing someone in the eye so they can't see, but from a lay point of anything that means someone can't see means they are blinded. It could be looking at the sun, a car/bike headlight, etc etc etc

There is a reason why laws are so complicated, there is a reason why the highway code defines the word must. Nothing in the English language defines every word in perpetuity, and this is before you consider dialects, and international versions, each word evolves and its meaning changes. Classic example is gay, what does it mean?

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
23rd October 2014 - 10:50

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No matter what type of lights you have it seems distracted drivers will always find you. 4 weeks ago I had my "rear" lights on (brightest red lights they make) and the driver still drove into me. Massive road rash, concussion and now shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff will lay me up for more weeks.

Be careful out there the other drivers don't seem to be.

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posted by richardorgill [0 posts]
25th October 2014 - 14:45

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richardorgill wrote:
No matter what type of lights you have it seems distracted drivers will always find you. 4 weeks ago I had my "rear" lights on (brightest red lights they make) and the driver still drove into me. Massive road rash, concussion and now shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff will lay me up for more weeks.

Be careful out there the other drivers don't seem to be.

http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/12855/

I haven't seen this posted, but basically, hi viz appears to be more dangerous than not bothering.

Instinct suggests that in the same way as an mtber you learn never look at the tree but at the gap, if you are to obvious there is a fixation issue going on. NO proof of that though

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1313 posts]
25th October 2014 - 15:31

1 Like

mrmo wrote:
richardorgill wrote:
No matter what type of lights you have it seems distracted drivers will always find you. 4 weeks ago I had my "rear" lights on (brightest red lights they make) and the driver still drove into me. Massive road rash, concussion and now shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff will lay me up for more weeks.

Be careful out there the other drivers don't seem to be.

http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/12855/

I haven't seen this posted, but basically, hi viz appears to be more dangerous than not bothering.

Instinct suggests that in the same way as an mtber you learn never look at the tree but at the gap, if you are to obvious there is a fixation issue going on. NO proof of that though

I think a more circumspect interpretation would be 'no evidence hi viz reduces accidents'. The fixation idea is interesting, but I imagine hard to prove (eye tracking system in an experimental setup?) Could just be riders who know they are in dangerous locations wear hiviz, or maybe hiviz wearers feel more cautious and tend to avoid lane centre riding.

posted by oldstrath [196 posts]
25th October 2014 - 16:08

1 Like

Am a little surprised about the lack of conversation about dynamo lights. I've just built a Schmidt wheel with the Edeluxe front light for someone. It's ridiculously bright, and best of all it's powered by Big Macs (or whatever you choose to eat).

If you have a bike you ride regularly in the dark, I'd highly recommend them as worth a look. You can even get a front light with a USB charger so you can take calls all your commute home. If you do that sort of thing.

posted by Gordy748 [98 posts]
27th October 2014 - 17:53

1 Like

mrmo wrote:
richardorgill wrote:
No matter what type of lights you have it seems distracted drivers will always find you. 4 weeks ago I had my "rear" lights on (brightest red lights they make) and the driver still drove into me. Massive road rash, concussion and now shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff will lay me up for more weeks.

Be careful out there the other drivers don't seem to be.

http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/12855/

I haven't seen this posted, but basically, hi viz appears to be more dangerous than not bothering.

Instinct suggests that in the same way as an mtber you learn never look at the tree but at the gap, if you are to obvious there is a fixation issue going on. NO proof of that though

Probably conflating two things.

Cars are hit by other cars so being seen is no guarantor of not being hit. Ipso fact it doesn't follow that Hi Viz causes accidents. It's not magic it's just that it makes you more visible.

Being less visible isn't safer. And likewise to the above it doesn't guarantee disaster either.

If you are seen and more importantly seen earlier and from further away then drivers have more opportunity to amend their speed and direction. Yes it's a game of odds but the odds are that people are less likely to drive into objects that they can see and have been able to see from further away than they are to drive into objects that they can't see or only see when they are quite close to them.

You can be a counterintuitive as you like about it byt having been a professional driver for 30 years and a club cyclists sine 1973 I'd bet the house that the odds favour the highly visible cyclist over the only just visible if you're really looking cyclist.

Cycling is like a church - many attend, but few understand.

posted by oozaveared [713 posts]
28th October 2014 - 16:30

2 Likes

I'm more concerned with being seen by other road users in poor visibility than lighting up the road ahead with powerful beams.
My bike and I are lit up like a Christmas tree at night. A set of Reelights permanently on as backup safety (no batteries needed). A Monkey light M232 on the front wheel for side visibility. Three cheap handlebar mounted torch lights. One on full beam one strobe and one dim pointing at me and my Proviz - REFLECT360 Cycling Jacket . On my back I wear a Proviz Nightrider High Visibility Rucksack with a Triviz Light Pack attached ( flashing triangle.. usb rechargable ) Red Catseye on seatpost. Rear red reflectors. Four pedal reflectors ( a legal requirement ).Aero Sport reflective spoke clips...at least with all this I'm confident when I get knocked off someone will find me in the ditch. Plain Face

posted by Vid [0 posts]
2nd November 2014 - 1:51

1 Like

'Sorry you are sort of wrong, you are assuming technical English trumps accepted English. The OED definition which is what I have given in the accepted English usage of the word blinded. From a technical point of view blinded might mean stabbing someone in the eye so they can't see, but from a lay point of anything that means someone can't see means they are blinded. It could be looking at the sun, a car/bike headlight, etc etc etc'

'accepted English' also includes 'selfie' and 'Yolo'. Hashtag just saying, etc.

Anyway. Semantics aside, use your light like an idiot, you will cause yourself and/or others problems. Point your light slightly down and slightly left if you don't have a 'german standard' light. Not had a single flash from drivers in several years commuting with my Maxx-D and plenty of light still available to me. As with all aspects of road use, a little bit of thought solves most issues.

posted by andyp [1019 posts]
11th November 2014 - 21:00

0 Likes

I wish the tits I keep meeting on the canal would turn their bloody lights down at the ground. Some of the lights out there are actually illegal on the road.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1187 posts]
11th November 2014 - 21:15

1 Like

Angry

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
I wish the tits I keep meeting on the canal would turn their bloody lights down at the ground. Some of the lights out there are actually illegal on the road.

Illegal? What law are they breaking, or woukd they be breaking if they were on the road?BTW, I don't doubt they annoy you, maybe on a canal towpath endanger you, but illegal is a very specific claim.

posted by oldstrath [196 posts]
11th November 2014 - 21:59

0 Likes