See the Lights

The other day I was biking home after work when out of nowhere…

See the Lights

It gets dark early these days. That means lights are something to plan on having. But even some folks that technically have lights don’t make it easy to see them.

See the Lights

So make sure to remember your lights, but also make sure they are visible.

See the Lights

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  • paul seamons November 16, 2013   Reply →

    I have 7 different lights on the front of my bike and 5 on the back. Don’t dare say you didn’t see me coming!

  • Pat Jones November 16, 2013   Reply →

    My front and rear are permanently mounted. I also have additional lights I put on or take off as the need arises. I’ve been toying with the idea of using a small “click” on/off light on a finger of both hands and using them as turn signals. Get ready to make a turn- click on-signal-turn-click off.

  • Daniel November 16, 2013   Reply →

    I ride with a 60 lux Busch and Muller in front (plus dynamo powered rear and red blinker in back) and turn on the 600 lumen blinder when I can’t tell what’s going on. It’s usually an unlit cyclist who yells at me for blinding them. I would not have turned on the blinder if they had lights or even reflectors, which my dynamo light would have revealed. Lets get with the program folks – lights are required by law and a good idea. That why Bikeyface is making a joke at your expense. BTW I turn off the blinder once I recognize what is careening towards me through the dark night.

  • William Fuchs November 19, 2013   Reply →

    I am another of those that runs a permenantly mounted lighting system by choice. Just the way I have *always* rolled. German spec Busch+Muller dynamo setup, with supplemental NiteRider CherryBomb for street traffic. I know Euro-spec dynamo lighting fell into ridicule in this country long ago, but *every* criticism of old has been resolved. LED emitter lighting surpassed the best 3 watt/6 volt halogen bulb years ago, and the B+M IQ Cyo headlight I run is so strong I *don’t* need additional lighting in front, in most cases. But it’s also supremely important to *not blind* the oncoming rider on the trail. My front light, per the German StVZO traffic safety standards, is designed to put light on the road *without* blinding oncoming traffic. Those of you who have dealt with a killer light square in your face, in flash mode, will understand.

  • Lee Hollenbeck November 20, 2013   Reply →

    I counted 9 lights on my bike for last nights commute. Don’t forget the important side view visibility, I like wheel lights there.

  • Doc M November 21, 2013   Reply →

    Ok so I got these new frog light or something to that effect, for my 10th anniversary. They are awesome and perfectly complement my set of planet bike lights. My plan is to have enough lights to make the people of Evanston think of Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

    It does make removing all of my accessories sort of tedious though…light…like…bike computer…light…

    You know? Now I need a detachable bike…man purse…to put in my damn back pack…

    I’m starting to feel like a rolling hoarder.

  • Pingback: Lights: See and Be Seen! | MassBike November 22, 2013   Reply →
  • I call those riders the ninjas and they make me crazy. Especially when they use their super stealth powers so I don’t know they’re there at all until they’ve brushed me in passing.

    In addition to front and rear lights on my bike I have them on my helmet. If a battery gives out on the ride on one of them I still have another.

    I also have spoke lights in my wheels and have had compliments on the extra visibility. Besides the cool “wheels o’ flame!” effect when riding, they provide side visibility going through an intersection.

    I moved to Seattle about a year ago and discovered a deep love for blinking lights here, despite the fact that state law says the front headlight should be steady, not blinking. People have the mistaken notion that the flashing increases visibility for others when in fact it makes it more challenging to triangulate actual distance.

    They’re not supposed to flash because, among other things, warning lights on many types of vehicles and devices, such as barriers around construction zones, flash. Good luck being seen and avoided if they think you’re a stationary barrier.

    Cars don’t flash their headlights constantly on/off to be seen–why should bike headlights?

    I had the ultimate bike insider compliment paid to me the other day–showed up for a ride with some other women in my Bern helmet with the built-in brim and someone said, “You look like Bikeyfacd!”

  • morlamweb November 23, 2013   Reply →

    Couldn’t agree with you more about using bike lights, and using them properly. I recently upgraded my lighting system for the dark days of fall & winter riding. In the summer, I had just a small front light and rear light. Those lights just weren’t enough when fall came around and it gets dark around here by 4:30 (and I typically leave work after 6 PM). So I bought an 800-lumen Cygolite Expillion front light and mounted it to the handlebar. Now I use the Cygolite in medium mode (say, 550 lumens ish) for most night riding and crank it up to full brightness for the off-road shortcut through the woods that I use on the way home. The old light is still there, still solar-powered, but relegated to blinking light duty, or backup light in case the Cygolite is MIA . As for rear lights, I dug another old light from my bag of bike stuff and clip it to my belt. I have it on in steady mode, while a second light, clipped to the back of the bag on my luggage rack, blinks. In fact, when I bought the luggage rack and bag, I quickly noticed that the old seatpost-mounted light was obscured, and moved it to the bag. For good measure, I also wear reflective straps around my ankles and wrists, and have some reflective material on my gloves, too. I had a headlight too that I wrapped around my hand as a signaling aid, but I haven’t found it for a few weeks (hope I didn’t lose it…)

  • Tom Brown November 26, 2013   Reply →

    These are my favorite lights
    They are cheap, hard to steal and make your bike easy to see.

  • VocusDwabe November 28, 2013   Reply →

    “Beware of people with no lights and not wearing a helmet.”

    And be even warier of people with no lights and dressed in black from head to foot – but wearing a helmet. You do really have to wonder what reasoning processes are at work there.

    Also be aware that a three or four weedy little Christmas-tree lights are just as difficult to see from a distance as one weedy little Christmas-tree light. Far better to invest in a real heavy-duty rear light like my own Busch and Muller 4-LED job. It’s as visible as the rear light of a motorbike, yet it still consumes only two AA batteries each winter: simply amazing light output for so little power consumption.

    • Ruth November 28, 2013  

      Please don’t diss my xmas lights before you see them. I wear a 10′ string and it’s only PART of my lighting and visibility wardrobe. I have very bright lights on my helmet (can’t wear 600 lumens because I would blind people, I’m in NYC) and wear hi-vis clothing as well. The xmas lights can be seen from all angles,including the side, are on my torso, so can be seen above parked cars,and I have received numerous compliments from cyclists, drivers, especially cab drivers, thanking me for wearing them because they stand out from the ordinary and make me highly visible! Here, being seen from all angles and high up is important – so many sight obstacles at bike level, and so much competition for attention.

  • Deb November 28, 2013   Reply →

    Here in Maryland, I ride for fun and exercise predawn, whenever it’s warm enough. I have many lights. Front, rear, side – all are powerful. I have blinking Knogs on on my front fork, and also Spokelit colored lights in both wheels. Looking like a Christmas Tree . . . and that’s the point! Cars coming from a side street are the greatest danger. They need to see you not just front and rear, but from the side.

  • Laura November 28, 2013   Reply →

    I’m in London, England. Walking through the city after dark I get seriously worried about the quality of lights some cyclists use. If a car passes me with it’s headlights on, then your lights have to be maybe 50% as bright, otherwise you disappear. Never worry that your lights are too bright – just adjust the angle (liked dipped headlights) and stay safe.

  • Keith C. Smith December 5, 2013   Reply →

    I couldn’t agree more about the need for lights, my bike currently has 7 lights, it is possible my bike may be visible from space. By the way great comic, keep up the awesome work!

  • David Pearce December 19, 2013   Reply →

    My thoughts exactly, Dr. C.

    Bikey Face, knowing your intended audience, illustrations reminding people about battery powered lights, batteries and charging will always be good; But I think it’s high time for you to step up, put in the admittedly complicated installation time, and get a dynamo front hub and wired front and rear lights (and who knows, maybe battery bar-end lights that can be set to blink to indicate turns).

    And then you can do a new set of illustrations on the high costs of quality bicycle parts!

  • Shawn January 5, 2015   Reply →

    Lights are made to be seen at a distance so approaching traffic can expect you. It’s a ‘heads up – something is up ahead’ warning. They can see you (even in the dark) when they get close to you. But without the warning, they could be going too fast, or aimed at you, with no time to avoid a crash.
    Anyone who says they ‘didn’t see you’ wasn’t paying attention. And if they’re not paying attention (on the phone, eating, grooming (!)), all the lights in the world ain’t gonna help.

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