As we head into the winter months, we must adapt to the shorter days this time of year. In Boulder, as well as many other cities across the country, commuting to work or school by bike is the preferred method of transportation. You might be looking for some daily exercise, maybe you don’t want to deal with parking a car, or you might be interested in a greener method of getting to work. Or perhaps, commuting to work is a New Year’s Resolution you want to set for yourself. Whatever the reason, bike commuting is becoming more and more popular throughout the world. For those of you that want to continue that habit on days when daylight is limited, it will be important to integrate lighting for safety and visibility during your commute.
Here are some tips to consider when planning what bike LED lights you might want to use:
- A “Tail Light” – When you think about cars, they are required by law to have working tail lights. A Tail Light on your bike is just as important. Red tail lights are the most useful and visible. It is good to have a light that can be in a solid mode or a flashing mode. Most tail lights attach under your seat. For additional safety, you can add a light to the back of your helmet as well. Items by Nite Ize to consider for this category are the SaddleLite Bag, the TwistLit in Red, the BikeLit and the LED Helmet Marker Plus.
- Handlebar Light: Having an led headlight that attaches directly to your handlebars is another essential item for commuting. You want the light to be at least 150 lumens to provide you enough projected light to see where you are going, but also to allow you to be seen by oncoming traffic. You might want to consider a flashlight attachment system so you can remove your flashlight from your bike and take it with you. The Inova X3A and Inova X2 Bike Lights have that option.
- Side-view Lighting: This is a category that is often overlooked because we don’t think about cars seeing us from the side. However, it is a very important aspect of safety and visibility. The way to be seen from the side is by using a spoke light. The color of your bike spoke light is not as important as just having lights in your spokes. For that reason, the spoke lighting allows for some fun and “bling” while keeping you safe at the same time. Nite Ize makes SpokeLits and See'Em in a variety of colors. Their most popular SpokeLit color is “Disco” which changes colors, adding another element of fun to your bike commute.
- Clothing Lighting: The final area to provide visibility while riding your bike is by adding an LED accessory to your clothing. You might want to have lighting on your wrist or arm, so you can be seen when signaling. An LED vest is another option to ensure vehicles see you. The flashing option is helpful to add to your clothing. Some items from Nite Ize that work well are the SlapLit, the LED Marker Band, LED Sport Belt, and the LED Vest.
- Day Time Lighting: The importance of visibility during the day is often overlooked. Even though it is not dark, having a flashing light on your bike makes it much easier for vehicles to see you during the day. The Nite Ize Twist Lit in the flash mode attached to your handlebars is an easy and safe addition to your daytime riding. You can use your rear tail light during the day as well. Flash mode works best for daytime riding.
Remember, just because the daylight hours are dwindling, that doesn’t mean you need to stop riding your bike to work or school. Just be sure to Be Safe and Be Seen and you can continue to enjoy your bike commute!