Cycling at night or in low light conditions without a bicycle light is a risky endeavor. Being seen is of utmost importance to cyclists. Lights are also important on bicycle trails, which are usually unlit. These days cycling is regaining its popularity as a form of commuting to and from work. High gas prices and horrible traffic have encouraged more people to give bicycle commuting a try. However, many of these people are choosing not to equip themselves with proper bicycle lights.
The purpose of a bicycle light is to see and be seen. Drivers are accustomed to seeing a variety of different lights, particularly in urban areas. An unlit bicyclist is nearly invisible to drivers. Not having a light also hinders the rider from being able to see obstacles in the way that could be easily avoided. Pot holes, drainage grates, and broken glass are all easier to avoid at night with the proper lighting.
Many riders, particularly those just getting into it, feel that since they have reflectors on their bikes that they are safe. While it is true that having the legally required reflectors are better than nothing, the fact of the matter is that reflectors only work well under very limited conditions.
Can you think of a time when you were driving your car at night and came upon a bicyclist without any lights? More than likely they had reflectors on their bicycle. Did you feel that the rider was easy to see? If you did, then chances are they had reflective clothing on and your car lights were at the ideal angle to get the best light from their reflectors. But what if it was foggy, or their reflectors were dirty, or they were wearing dark clothing? What if they were riding on the road in an urban area with many other lights crowding out the light from their reflectors? What if one of your headlights was out? No doubt you agree that reflectors are a poor substitute for adequate lighting.
Reflectors also do nothing for helping the rider to see. Riding on an unlit bike path in the dark is just as dangerous as riding on the road without any bicycle lights. Fortunately there are many options for bicycle lights to help you see and be seen. They are available in all price ranges. Of course, not all lights are created equal. If you’re a cyclist who regularly rides at night, or someone who occasionally finds yourself out on your bicycle after dark, then you owe it to yourself to make sure you have a proper set of lights. Your safety depends on it!