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Bicycle Lights & Reflectors

Even bikers who don't intend to ride their bike in the dark should consider investing in bike lights. Basic bike lights offer riders essential nighttime protection, increasing their safety around cars, animals, and more. There are several types of bike lights, and riders should be able to find a safety system that suits their needs.

What types of bike lights are available?

The kind of lights you can find include:

  • Front lights: Front lights shed light onto the upcoming road, giving riders a greater level of visibility. Most bikers mount them on handlebars. Some options have multiple operating settings, like a flashing mode and a walking mode. Bicycle headlights have high levels of lumens, ranging from 300 to 1,200. Front lights on the lower end of the lumens scale are sometimes classified as "be seen" lights, which means they alert drivers to the bicycle's presence rather than illuminating the road ahead for the cyclist.
  • Rear lights: Rear lights are designed to promote the rider's visibility, making them an essential safety accessory. Some are constantly flashing, while others simply provide a constant stream of illumination. Many of these rear lights come with a seatpost or seat mount, enabling easy installation. They tend to have lumens levels ranging from 100 to 300, which allows bikes to be seen by drivers on dark roads. Many rear options are equipped with multiple modes and USB compatibility.
What is the difference between bike lights and reflectors?

Both types of bicycle lighting options, front lights and rear lights, produce illumination. These lights fall into two categories, "see" or "be seen," which indicates the purpose of the light. Reflectors, on the other hand, are an array of mirrors that reflect available light. They are often placed on the front, rear, and wheels of bikes to maximize visibility during night rides. While most bikes come equipped with reflecting technology, many riders choose to add more to their bicycle for safety reasons. Riders can purchase reflectors and reflective tape, which can be placed on handlebars, helmets, and more.

What should you look for when choosing bike lights?

There are a few basic things to look out for, such as:

  • LED bulbs: Most bike lights use LED bulbs. LEDs provide extremely bright illumination, and they tend to last longer than traditional bulbs. For bikers who like to ride at night, LEDs are a good choice.
  • Lumens: Lumens refers to the amount of light emitted by a given bulb. Bikers should choose the level that best suits their needs. For example, if you often ride on unlit lanes, look for options with 700 lumens or more. If you only bike on well-lit roads, lower brightness levels will suffice.
  • Battery life: The brighter the light, the more battery power it requires. Many bicycle lights come with USBs, which allows users to recharge their lighting device at work or on the go.
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