Equipment and On Road Behaviour, Laws and Rules. Cycling Promotion and Advocacy
11 posts • Page 1 of 1
After reading a few threads regarding people riding without lights when they should have them it made me wonder what I would need for night riding?
I don't ride at night but am thinking of riding the few km's to work and start at 7 so in winter I will be riding before the sun is up.
What do I legally need and what would people recommend?
How much do you want to spend? How well lit are the areas you plan to ride in?
The legal requirement is a white light front, a red light rear, and must be visible from 200m.
Xtracycle, Surly Long Haul Trucker, Bike Friday New World Tourist, Giant TCR, 9:zero:7
A good "high standard" that is very common is:
Rear: Planet Bike superflash (0.5Watt) or PDW Radbot (1Watt)
Front: 3Watt LED, a lot use DealExtreme Torches & a torch mount
do some searching on here & you'll come up with answers
Lets call it $50?
I doubt that it will ever be pitch black but at 6.30am in a Melbourne winter it can get pretty dark.
So are the lights to help me see or just to help me be seen?
The minimum legal standard doesn't light the road ahead of you, so you have to ride slowly unless its street lit - and likewise the amount of spill from a little front white blinkie isn't very good at being identified by motorists as they approach from a cross road, nor in a rear view mirror for people intending to pull out or do u-turns, nor by oncoming vehicles overtaking each other.
I use an 8w niteflux, but I also do 100km/week at night in winter in Sydney, even in the wet, so if I used a weak headlight, the odds would eventually stack up against me. Plenty of deal extreme options that have similar power for less $$$.
You could pick up cheapies for as little as $10 that would fulfil the legal requirement - just - the setup Nate described would be more like $50-100 or upward (depending on whether you go for name brands or dealextreme cheapies) and is adequate to ride unlit streets in the dark.
I run two Superflash ripoffs at the back, a Dealextreme torch on the front and a front flasher for extra visibility/redundancy. Also have some of those watch battery lights in the saddle bag, just in case.
There are four phases of bicycle commuting; first there's fear, then rage, then self-righteousness and finally, fun.
In the middle of winter it will be pretty dark at that time wont it? Check out this thread. viewtopic.php?f=9&t=31837
I have just upgraded from a 2W Planet Bike light to Ay-ups. Pricey at $300 but worth every cent imo. The LED's are also 40% brighter this year.
I think if the road you are riding on is nice, i.e. smooth, not likely to get too much debris then having lights so people can see you is enough. If the road frequently has potholes and cracks it's probably a good idea to get a light you can actually see with.
Personally I have had high failure rates with the dealextreme ones... out of 4 lights bought only 1.5 are still functioning. The Kathmandu cheapies I bought for $15 a set on special are still going strong though.
What you need in your price bracket.
The Planetbike set will do all you need for Melbourne commuting, maybe a bit low power for dark bike paths, but great for all suburban street uses. There are lots of great light set-ups (I prefer a good dynamo-powered LED set - always there ready to go) but they are all a good deal more expensive. This set is legal and quite bright.
By the way, 6.30am in Melbourne winter is quite dark. I use lights for my commute at 7.30-8.00am.
Riding bikes in traffic - what seems dangerous is usually safe; what seems safe is often more dangerous.
Thanks I P they look the goods.
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