I am a regular cyclist and often end up cycling in the pitch dark on my way home. You won't be surprised to learn that I have several lights on my bike.

The other night I was driving my car along a road I cycle on regularly when I saw a very bright red light ahead of me which seemed to be at the side of the road. I slowed down but found it hard to guess how far ahead of me it was and wondered if it was a slow moving car or scooter. I discovered it was a chap cycling with a super bright rear light and he was closer than I thought and I had to touch the brakes a bit sooner than I expected.

This got me thinking - I know what the law is here but has there ever been research or trials to discover the perfect combination of rear facing lights for a cycle. I always have a red blinky as well as the red toplight - do other people have approaches or know of research into this area and driver perception?


Gkam84 [9110 posts] 5 years ago

I have no idea. I just base my lights on the rear so that people can easily work out I'm a bike, I never thought about their perception of how close or far away they were from me either as I'll see them normally long before they see me  39

Interested to find out if there are any studies.

chrismday [50 posts] 5 years ago

I agree, this is an area some useful research could be done. I used to motorcycle and had a similar dilemma; do you put the main beam or dip beam on? Main beam is more visible, but much harder for drivers to judge your distance and speed. I suspect that beyond a certain point, brighter is not better.

plodalong [4 posts] 5 years ago

There are couple of lights I know of that address this issue.
Busch & Müller Toplight Plus has a strip of red light apparently this makes it easier for people behind you to judge how far you are away http://www.bumm.de/produkte/dynamo-ruecklicht/toplight-line-plus.html
Another is the Philips SafeRide which even has an illuminated ring apparently for the same reason http://www.philips.co.uk/c/Bicycle%20bulbs/saferide-srrblrbnbx1/prd/
I have the B&M and my wife the Philips. Personally I think the Philips is great if you don't mind the look of it and the prominent logo. Both work great as dynamo lights, highly recommended.