What are the best bike lights for night riding?
Riding at night is far different from biking during the day. According to PEDBIKESAFE, 31% of all bicycling injuries caused by road collisions occur between 6 pm to 6 am, and 50% of fatalities related to biking accidents occur within the same 12-hour span.
As bikers, it’s essential to have the proper riding equipment if you’re used to biking at night. One of the essential riding accessories that you should have is bike lights.
However, with all the bike lights available in the market today, it could be challenging to find the right light that will suit your riding habits–especially at night.
Is it safe to use a bike light at night?
There’s a misconception that using a bike light at night can cause blindness to other road users. Thus, it increases the risk of getting into an accident.
This is not true. You can use bike lights at night without causing blindness to other road users by getting the correct brightness on your bike light.
Research suggests that for riding at night in an unlit city street with partially lit biking lanes, you can have at least 600 lumens of brightness for the front lights and 50 lumens for the rear lights. On the other hand, you can go as low as 50 lumens for front lights and 100 lumens for rear lights for well-lit urban streets.
On the other hand, if you’re thinking of riding along dark trails, it’s best to keep your front light above 1000 lumens and your rear lights at 25 lumens.
The combination of front light and rear light is essential. Even though you have a premium front light, you’re still at risk of getting into a road collision if you don’t have a rear light. The front light allows you to see at night, while your rear light allows you to be seen. Together, they give you the road visibility that you need.
How can you prevent blindness when biking at night?
Aside from keeping your bike lights within the suggested level of brightness, it’s also best to look for bike lights with various features regarding light projection.
The first thing you have to look for in buying bike lights is the optics. There are many bike lights out there that only focus on the brightness of their units without considering the optics their products need.
As of this writing, some smart bike lights already have the Total Internal Reflection or TIR technology. It’s an engineered optics used by high-end automobiles.
TIR technology makes use of dual CREE LEDs. This way, the brightness of the bike light will not be concentrated in one LED light.
The use of dual CREE LEDs gives the bike light optimal projection without the risk of causing blindness to other road users. It will emit an ideal light threshold depending on your distance and your angle of vision. Your bike light is visible from a long reach without emitting ultra-bright light on the road user near you.
Aside from the TIR technology, getting a front light with a cut-off line would also be best when you’re used to biking at night.
Dazzling oncoming drivers with your light increases the risk of a fatal head-on collision. A bike light cut-off line is a precisely desired engineered optic that directs light below a virtual horizontal line. This allows the light to illuminate the road ahead without blinding other drivers, even at maximum brightness.
In short, a cut-off line serves as a direction for light projection. This way, you can see the road correctly without pointing your light directly toward other road users.
These optic technologies don’t just ensure your maximum safety at night, but they also increase the battery efficiency of your bike lights.
Lumen rating refers to the maximum power output of a bike light. The higher the lumen rating is, the brighter the bike light is. This also means that its batteries get drained faster as it uses more energy.
However, the excellent visibility brought by engineered optics gives bike lights the same visibility level as those with a high lumen rating–only without the heightened use of power. Since the light is projected correctly and efficiently, the bike lights wouldn’t have to depend solely on the ability given by its batteries to emit the level of light that you need.
This feature is vital for bikers who are used to riding at night. It will ensure that your bike lights won’t suddenly run out of batteries as you ride. Therefore, you can go through unlit roads or tunnels at night without worrying.
What are the best bike lights for night riding?
As of this writing, the best bike lights for night riding are the FARINA front light and the CLIQ front light.
FARINA comes with an 1100 maximum lumens rating, making it fit for city or trail night riding. Aside from this, it’s also equipped with the cut-off line and engineered optics discussed a while ago, which lessens the risk of blinding other road users at night.
Most importantly, FARINA comes with ambient light sensing technology. It automatically changes the brightness level of your bike light depending on your environment.
FARINA will automatically reduce its brightness to conserve batteries if you go through a well-lit street after riding through an unlit road at night. Then, FARINA will automatically boost its output to give you visibility if you return to dark roads.
On the other hand, the CLIQ pioneered TIR technology among bike lights. Its dual CREE LED lights ensure that you are visible even to the large vehicles on the road. It also comes with 90 maximum lumens output, perfect for night riding.
Aside from this, CLIQ also uses an adjustable panel that you can tilt upward and downward. Other rear lights often neglect this simple feature, so the result is that the projection of the light varies depending on the height of your bike light. More often than not, lower bikes tend to get visibility issues as their rear lights aren’t appropriately projected on the road.
That is not the case with CLIQ. With its fully adjustable panel, you can get optimal visibility regardless of the design and height of your bike.
The best thing about CLIQ is its accelerometer. Unlike other brake lights, it goes off as you slow down and not when you’ve already hit the brake. This way, you can alert the driver behind you before you go into a complete stop. This can significantly reduce the risk of a road collision.
FARINA and CLIQ both come with impressive smart technology.
Both FARINA and CLIQ have smartphone connectivity. You can adjust the light setting, motion sensors, and other features through your smartphone apps.
They also have anti-theft alerts. Through their built-in motion sensors, you will automatically receive a notification of any malicious movement on your bike.
That’s not even the best part yet. The best bike lights for night riding, FARINA, and CLIQ, can be bought as a pair at a discounted price.
It would be best to never compromise on your safety, especially when riding at night. Get the best bike lights for a better and safer riding experience.