Cycling Lights - a quick guide

Cycling lights are an incredibly important piece of cycle safety equipment. Fundamentally, lights are about two things, allowing you to see at night and allowing others to see you. As we’ll come on to, these subtle difference require different approaches.

Lights for you to see ahead

Away from the city, roads can get pretty dark, that's why you'll need a powerful light to illuminate the road ahead. Ideally you should look for a light with at least 400 lumens to be bright enough, of course the greater the number of lumens the further ahead you’ll be able to see. There does come a point however where the light is more powerful than you need and you'll most likely be carrying an unnecessarily heavy battery around.

Front lights for the city

Contrary to what most riders would assume, a very bright light (over 400 lumens) shining at full brightness can actually be a hazard in a city environment. Very bright lights can dazzle the eyes of drivers, and it makes it particularly difficult for them to locate where you are. Front lights in a city are about being seen rather than to see as there is usually plenty of street lighting to see where you're going. What's important is to make sure you can be seen, this is best achieved with a flashing lower lumen light.

Rear Lights

Rear lights are again very much about being seen, this is why rear lights are typically lower lumen than front lights. Ideally a flashing pattern is best to catch the attention of other road users. There are many smart lights now available with variable flashing patterns. For example the See Sense lights are able to detect when you are slowing down for a junction and will shine a more intense flash pattern to signal the change in speed.

It goes without saying you should always ride with lights, be it day or night time. Make sure to always have a good pair on you at all times.

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