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  1. #1
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    Do I need lights?

    So I went riding a few days ago from 7:30pm to about 9:30pm. On two lane roads most of the time, traveling in the bike lane. At one point, once it was dark, a passing car just simply told us to "Be careful". Neither my buddy or myself have lights/reflectors on our bikes so I am thinking that is what they were referring to.

    Are lights at night neccessary? Do I need front and rear and can you recommend some that are relatively low in price? I'd rather not get hit from behind. I want something that can be easily removed for day riding. I also plan to get a saddle pack that I can carry some tools in, so a rear light that will attach to a bag would be good too.

    Any suggestions for smallish bags would be good too.


  2. #2
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Yes, lights are necessary for night riding. White and steady in front with red and flashing at rear is the most common configuration.

    I have gone without lights at times and am still alive. I've also survived other foolish behaviors.

    Many lights are available. You might start with checking out Planet Bike.
    George
    Laissez les bon temps rouler

  3. #3
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    Thanks! I just ordered a Jandd Mini Mountain Wedge seat bag also.

  4. #4
    Pat
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    Lights are critical for riding at night. An effective rear blinkie can be bought inexpensively. They are visible for quite some distance ahead. You can get a front blinkie (a white light). These are good for letting drivers know that you are there. But a strong headlight is necessary for dark areas so you can see things like turns in the road, animals, pedestrians, potholes, tree limbs etc. Unfortunately, strong headlights are relatively expensive. Still they are a bunch cheaper than a serious injury.

  5. #5
    Pat
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    Ooops forgot one thing. Nearly 50% of the total bicycle fatalities occur at night. Now there is no way that half of the time ridden on bikes occurs at night. I would think that it is something under 5%. Very few people on bikes use lights at night. I would think that riding at night without lights is at least 10 times as dangerous as riding in daytime.

  6. #6
    Go Leafs kgriffioen's Avatar
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    Not only are they needed at night, but I would also recommend that you at the bare minimum have a decent rear blinky going at all times of the day.

  7. #7
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    I have a planet bike super flash for a rear light. It's very bright and has flashing pattern that's hard to ignore.

    As for the front light, I would go for a flashlight like a Q5, P7, or Fenix. They're much brighter than any bike specific light at the same price.

    Also, check out the electronics forum for more information.

  8. #8
    Senior Member DX Rider's Avatar
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    I saw a rider the other night with a rear blinky and he was wearing a bright yellow vest with reflective strips, and no headlight. He was riding in my direction on the wrong side of the road.

    I could barely see him and my headlight is pretty bright, so I'm sure cagers were having a hard time seeing him as well.

    I loved the fact that he had a blinky in the back yet was riding on the wrong side of the road, so all of the traffic was approaching him from the front, which was just a dark silhouette.
    Quote Originally Posted by stronglight View Post
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  9. #9
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annc View Post
    I have a planet bike super flash for a rear light. It's very bright and has flashing pattern that's hard to ignore.

    As for the front light, I would go for a flashlight like a Q5, P7, or Fenix. They're much brighter than any bike specific light at the same price.

    Also, check out the electronics forum for more information.
    +1

    PB super flash is consistently one of the first suggestions when people ask about lights here. I have one, and it's fantastic. Reminds me of the lights on the end of airplane wings.

    My only complaint is that it kind of goes on the fritz when it gets REALLY wet.

  10. #10
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    Lights at night are only essential if you consider your survival essential. If you do not use lights at night, you should seriously consider a large life insurance policy.

  11. #11
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    Some state and local laws may require light and or reflectors. IE for TX....

    Sec. 551.104. Safety Equipment.

    (a) A person may not operate a bicycle unless the bicycle is equipped with a brake capable of making a braked wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement.

    (b) A person may not operate a bicycle at nighttime unless the bicycle is equipped with:
    (1) a lamp on the front of the bicycle that emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet in front of the bicycle; and
    (2) on the rear of the bicycle:
    (A) a red reflector that is:
    (i) of a type approved by the department; and
    (ii) visible when directly in front of lawful upper beams of motor vehicle headlamps from all distances from 50 to 300 feet to the rear of the bicycle; or

    (B) a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle.
    Figures don't lie, but liars figure.
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    I think you don't become a saint through the sins of your peers.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Sailorman13's Avatar
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    Here's the best lumens/dollar package out there for well under $100

    Get a Planet Bike Superflash here:
    http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ducts_id=21103

    It's a couple more bucks than Amazon, but you'll make it up in shipping because you will also get a set of Two-Fish Lock Blocks to mount your flashlight. Get both items there and their shipping is very reasonable.

    Get the set of 3 lock blocks. You can use the other two for other stuff.
    http://www.niagaracycle.com/product_...ucts_id=411261

    Then get this light. You won't have to wait a month to get it from Hong Kong. The place ships super fast and it's tweaked to be brighter than the Dealextreme version. It uses AA's if you want, fits into the lock blocks and it has a High and Low Mode. It's a great light for the money. Use code CPFUSER and you can have it for $26 shipped. I have 2 of them

    http://www.shiningbeam.com/servlet/t...II-Cree/Detail

    You should be able to do the whole deal for less than $70 shipped. Spend $30 at Dealextreme for batteries and charger and you'll be good to go.

    I spent mondo hours researching this and this is the best deal going IMHO.

  13. #13
    road plague
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    Thanks Sailorman... Just ordered the blocks and flashlight. I've already got a bunch of NiMH AA's and AAA's (which I use in my PB SF's and 3 & 5 LED headlights) and have a proper charger/conditioner on the way.

  14. #14
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    Good question.

    Answer: YES!

  15. #15
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    I have a PB Super Flash on the back and it has plenty of mounting options. I leave that on flashing mode because its pretty bright and like Gods said, it flickers like an airplane. The front is nice to have too. You'll run into a couple dark hidden potholes and then realize you need a front light.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by annc View Post
    I have a planet bike super flash for a rear light. It's very bright and has flashing pattern that's hard to ignore.

    As for the front light, I would go for a flashlight like a Q5, P7, or Fenix. They're much brighter than any bike specific light at the same price.

    Also, check out the electronics forum for more information.
    I too have PB super flash that i mount to my helmet. I have the dealextreme AA Q5 flashlight
    http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.14909
    and it's pretty bright.

    I also have a cheap blinky that is on my seat stay. I think two blinkys are also a good idea.

    The Dealextreme flashlight seems pretty well made, but thier real blinky lights are real crap.

  17. #17
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    Lights are a good idea(and sometimes the law), but reflective clothing and riding in a manner to be visible is more important. It is not clear that a driver (distracted?) that cannot see you without bike lights, will be able to see you with them.
    2000 Montague CX, I do not recommend it, but still ride it.
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  18. #18
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    Just get some glow in the dark paint for your bike.

  19. #19
    Senior Member trackhub's Avatar
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    Yes, lights are absolutely essential for night riding. Most, if not all states, require them. Lots of lights on the market today, so there is surely something to fit your budget. Bike Nashbar usually has some pretty good stuff on sale.
    I thought I was suffering from depression once. Turned out, I was simply surrounded by idiots.

  20. #20
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    I picked up rear and front Planet Bike lights. It was like $30 for both so we will see how they are. The front is the 1200x and the rear is the Blinky 7.

  21. #21
    Domestic Domestique UnsafeAlpine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pat View Post
    Ooops forgot one thing. Nearly 50% of the total bicycle fatalities occur at night. Now there is no way that half of the time ridden on bikes occurs at night. I would think that it is something under 5%. Very few people on bikes use lights at night. I would think that riding at night without lights is at least 10 times as dangerous as riding in daytime.
    Interestingly enough, 74% of statistics are completely made up.

    I'm not saying riding at night without a light is a great idea, but don't just make up numbers to support your opinions, please.

  22. #22
    Senior Member maximushq2's Avatar
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    It's rare for me to see a cyclist using lights around here. I wouldn't really care if they ride without lights if they would at least pay attention to what they are doing. I almost ran one fella over at night that flew through a red light right in front of me when I had the green. Of course he had no lights and even worse no brains.

    I use 2 PB Superflashes and that is actually the brightest rear light setup I have ever seen around here unfortunately. I would love it if more cyclists around here would use lights. I mountain bike a lot at night so I bought some bright lights that get me over 2,000 lumens so there is no problem being seen up front. I use them on the road too, but I dim them down.

    If you can swing it jamesbernatchez I would add a second rear light when you can and I would suggest the PB superflash as it is bright and has a great flash pattern. The best bang for the buck in front lights seems to be the P7 flashlights with rechargeable batteries. I have no idea about the Planet bike 1200 light, but I'm guessing it may be a disappointment . A lot of people here seem to have gone with lower end lights and work their way up until they get to something they are happy with and in the end wishing they had just shelled out more money in the beginning. Still, I congratulate you for getting any kind of light b/c it should definitely help you be seen better. Above all be safe and have fun.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by GodsBassist View Post
    PB super flash is consistently one of the first suggestions when people ask about lights here.
    Too bad it (according to the LBS) was discontinued a year or two back. I've tried getting one and it's a no-go.
    Current stable: Sun Atlas X-type (mine), Trek Navigator 3 (wife), two Sun Revolution cruisers (wife, daughter)

  24. #24
    uke
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    Quote Originally Posted by JusticeZero View Post
    Too bad it (according to the LBS) was discontinued a year or two back. I've tried getting one and it's a no-go.
    Your LBS was definitely wrong. They're readily available at Amazon, which is where I obtained both of mine from. http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-30...723623-5767063

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  25. #25
    Biscuit Boy Cosmoline's Avatar
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    I run a high powered white light out front and two stacked flashing reds on the seat post. Plus in the dark months I wear a light on the helmet with an insulated btty pack, like the mushers use. Plus reflective bands on the equipment. You can see me from space.
    ''On a bicycle you're not insulated. You're in contact with the landscape and all manner of people you'd never meet if you were in a car. A fat man on a bicycle is nobody's enemy.''

    Tom Vernon.

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