Home > Bicycling > The [not so] Lazy Randonneur on bike lighting

The [not so] Lazy Randonneur on bike lighting

I’ve been thinking a lot about bicycle lighting lately and have progressively ramped up the number and power of the lights on my bike.  Unfortunately, I have noticed a large number of oncoming cyclists shielding their eyes.  I don’t want to blind others to increase my safety so I’ve been doing my best to aim the lights considerately and keep the power down when I don’t really need high power.

Into all of this thinking comes a series of posts by The Lazy Randonneur.  (I’m not sure why he refers to himself as “Lazy”, given his prolific and detailed posts with supporting video and pictures)  After digging into a bunch of his posts on lighting systems and reflective gear, I’m adding this list to my 2011 resolutions:

  • More reflective gear including stripes on the side of my bike and ankle straps
  • Move the mount for my 2nd taillight, a Planet Bike Super Flash, to a lower position on the bike
  • Aim my Dinotte 140L slightly downward and run at lower power. Cars will still see it and it will light up the road behind me a bit. (High power is still an option in crummy weather)
  • No more flashing lights.  Yes, you can see them better, but they also screw with other road users’ night vision and depth perception. They are illegal in many places including Germany.  (If German cyclists can live without flashing lights, I think I can too)

Lazy also references a detailed Australian study on nighttime cyclist visibility.  It’s 6 pages of detailed stats.  If you really want to get into the weeds, it’s a good read.

Mr. Randonneur has some pretty unflattering things to say about my favorite North American light manufacturer’s products.  I’m not going to go out and replace my lights but if you are in the market for a quality lighting system, you may want to have a read.  In short, the Germans appear to have some of the best lighting systems out there.  No surprise since they require all bikes sold to have lights.  (For my part, I’ve emailed Dinotte asking for them to look at some of these issues.  I really want to support American bicycle, component, and accessory manufacturers – what few remain)

Be safe and hope to see you out on the road – even at night!

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  1. SJ
    January 4, 2011 at 2:35 am

    I would like to see all bicycles have front lighting (as well as rear) because you cannot see them in your mirrors! When I was driving buses at night there were many close calls with bicycles that were trying to pass me without any lighting. They had the nerve to yell at me!

    Trail illumination is one thing, it is good for the rider and optional. Cycle illumination is better, it keeps you from getting hit, should be a requirement.

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