winter is coming, and the night is dark and full of terrors.
as we approach winter, the days are getting much shorter. currently sunrise is 7:00am with first light not appearing till after 6:30am. as such, if you are doing any of our morning rides you must have a good set of lights on your bike. by good set, that usually means something a bit better than a small front flasher.
when you are riding alone or commuting to work, a front flashing light is fine to let cars know where you are. however, they don”t really show you much of the road, so you may not see obstacles until it is too late. if you are doing a turn at the front of the group, this can be particularly dangerous to those travelling behind you. also, in the group situation, a front flasher can be hypnotically epileptic. the people all around you reflect back and it can be very distracting. so, no front flashers in the group.
rear lights are essential and there are lots of good cheap ones out there nowadays. there are a couple of points that need to be made around the type and placement of rear lights. firstly, if you light has a name like “blinder”, “retina burn” or “laser eye surgery 3000” then please be very careful about where you place it and what mode it is on. it is great that cars can see these lights from many metres away, as this does go well towards keeping us safe. however, when the rider directly behind you is having trouble seeing due to your light, then it can cause problems further back in the group. if someone”s light is particularly bad, please let them know (as they probably don”t know) and ask them politely to put it on another mode.
placement is also important as some people like to have the light pointing straight out to give maximum sighting distance. if you are using your bike more for group riding then solo, then it may be better to point it down a bit. you will find that it will often light up the ground behind you, effectively giving you bigger light footprint.
some people also like to have their lights mounted on the back of their helmet or back of the jersey. again the mode set is important as in these positions, the light is usually directed straight into the eyes of the person behind you. nothing wrong with having extra lights mounted on your body, just take them off the flash, flash, FLASH mode.
so, lights, we need them to stay safe but be aware of how your lights are affecting the other in the group.
- no front flashers.
- check your mode.
- check your placement.
- if you aren”t sure, ask the person behind you if your light is annoying.