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Turn That Light On, Even in the Day

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There are reasons that daytime running lights have become standard on many cars, they add safety.   It would be obvious to cyclist to add this extra level of safety to their daily bike rides, even during the daylight.

A Customer’s Story

Two years ago a good customer of the bike shop I was managing was literally run over by a car.  She was on a quiet road during the mid day, with 4 open lanes around her.  The customer is now healthy and able to bike again, but it was a touch and go case.  The owner of the bike shop kept the fork off her run over bike in reminder of the actions we take when riding our bike.  The driver of the car had a pretty standard reply,  “I didn’t even see the person!”  The cyclist was in a very shady part of the road and even though it was sunny out, she was camouflaged by her surroundings.

“I didn’t even see the person!”

As a cyclist and a driver I know this can sometimes be the case.  When lighting is bad, clothing is dark and the cyclist blends into the scenery.  With so many other distractions for drivers to checking in on, phone, radio or the screaming baby in the back, I push everyone to give them better time to see you.

Brighter clothing and not riding in the gutter can help this. My big push to every person I’ve ever sold a bike to that is going to be ridden on the road is a light.  Buying batteries once a month is much cheaper than your life, and with most lights viewable 2,000+ feet behind I’ll take it.Cateye Light

From Facebook and Twitter

Several people chimed in on our Facebook and Twitter accounts to answer the question about riding with their blinky light on during the day.

Tawny Yambrovich I see other cyclists do it in daylight and it is virtually invisible; therefore it is a waste of batteries, and a waste of resources (reducing your use of batteries means fewer in landfills or needing recycling).

Tawny, I agree with you that normally a light isn’t viewable but in that one low light situation I would rather be wasting a bit more than wasting my life.

Josh Lipton Something really bright like the Planet Bike SuperFlash on flash mode is bright enough to easily catch people’s eyes even in broad daylight. I figure the sooner other road users see you, the better.

Amen.   Give motorist a heads up that you are riding, most people aren’t used to riding around cyclist and they need prepared.

About the Author

Bike Shop Girl has over 12 years of bicycle industry experience and hands on knowledge. Hoping to empower women and others on the bike so they too can feel the freedom and power that two wheels can give someone.

8 Comments

  1. Although I less than persuaded by the “I didn’t see the cyclist” line, as I’ve heard it under conditions where a light would have made no difference, I do ride with Reel Lights on the all purpose bike. The red rear blinks and the right front stays on constantly and, what is more, no batteries. I have other lights for night time.

  2. The other thing I’ve wondered is why don’t all cycling clothes automatically come with reflective bits? Running shoes have them so why not jerseys? Every little thing helps when trying to stay visible.

    • My guess would be price, the 3m tape and reflective bits add cost. Plus only certain manufactures give that option (it seems.)

    • Oh I really like the solar blinky!

  3. Just ride with a superflash (or even better, the new 1W superflash turbo coming out soon). It is plenty bright in full daylight. At the end of the day, if it is so bright out that a decent flash is invisible, there should be no reason that a motorist can’t see you. For shady bits, underpasses, and other spots in the ride where a change the light for a motorist can temporarily blind them what’s ahead, a superflash can save your life. I regularly do group rides with cyclists who run their superflash during the day and I can attest that they work. Very bright, noticeable and a added measure of road safety.

    Reflective clothing only works at night, when a motorists lights are shining on you. Sometimes, all the bright clothing in the world may not help you during the day when it comes to a distracted or inattentive driver. A flashing tail light that can be seen in the daylight is one way to call additional attention to yourself.

    The the nay-saying battery-filled landfill crowd out there: go buy some eneloop rechargeable and quit yer whining.

  4. I always ride with my 900 lumen flashlight on the front in SOS mode (rechargeable battery) and a 400 lumen Dinotte taillight (also rechargeable) that I wear on my helmet – so that the cars behind the cars will see me. Additionally, I wear a hi-vis (lime) cycling jacket or jersey (depending on the weather).

    As a commuter with a 33 mile RT daily commute through the busy streets of Charlotte, NC, it’s all about being seen. You can find some pretty cool hi-vis stuff out there…picked up some gloves recently at a running event. Also, last November I found a hi-viz Endura jacket that is pretty cool.

    I also believe you need to have a rear view mirror for safety as well.

    Commuting is fun and I also get a lot of enjoyment out of looking for good safety apparel.

    Ride safe,

    Jeff

  5. Craig – I was not whining; I simply posted my observation that taillights lit during the daytime are virtually invisible – I can rarely see that they are on until I am next to the cycle and it is parked. When I ask, “Do you know that your taillight is on?” the answer is usually “Yes,” but MOTORISTS won’t know that their taillight is on because they won’t be able to see it. The landfill comment was just an additional observation that they are burning batteries without adding visibility. Calling my input “whining” just suggests immaturity on your part.

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