||11-06-13 12:35 PM
Originally Posted by spivonious
As long the light is aimed correctly, i.e. not pointing in the eyes of oncoming drivers, then go as bright as you want.
For what its worth, my MagicShine 808 is plenty bright enough for me to commute home in the dark out in the suburbs. They say it's 1100 lumens, and I believe it; it's about as bright as the CFL bulbs I have at home, albeit more directed. I point the light so it illuminates the ground about 10-15 feet in front of me.
MagicShine is as guilty of output overstatemnt as anyone else. Not that it matters in their case. I have three of those lights. One on my helmet and two on the bars. The light on my helmet is a first generation MS. The two on the bars are newer. On their middle intensity they are as bright as the older one is at full power. I rarely use all three lights at full power, but in the rain it helps A LOT to have the extra lumens. When I drive I never wish I had more light. With the MagicShines, even with all three going I occasionally hit stuff that seriously destabilizes the bike. And I never saw it. Cyclists are the only vehicle operators that delibarately underate their equipment and then go out and put their lives on the line. Willingly. If you ride at night, you owe it to yourself to get the best lights you can afford, not the worst. The best lights money can buy are in the 1000 lumen range. A single light of that type is seriously underpowered compared to what a car suppies. If you hit a tree branch in your car, it may make you drop your cell-phone but you are not likely to suffer a broken collar-bone. Suburban and rural cyclists should know this but I pass many of them at night and the only way I knew they were there is because their pedal reflectors... ... they are cranking away at 2 mph with a 2 AAA light in front and they think they can see. SMH. By all means, bring shaped beam battery headlights of high intensity to the U.S. I am not going to pay $1000 for one though.
PS-- It also needs to be said. I have never seen anyone mention the fact that your lights need to be bright enough to show you what is happening in front of you, when you are blinded by the lights of oncoming drivers
. When even the low beams of oncoming traffic shuts your pupils down to pinpoints you need serious lumens coming out of your own lighting to keep you safe. I know I need more light at night than other people but, I don't seem to have trouble getting the amount of light I need from car headlights. Nor does anyone need to spend $1k+ on automobile lighting to get adequate performance nor, conversely do they have to stumble around with sub-optimal amounts of lights because that is all they can afford. Interesting that the DOT classifies bikes as legal road vehicles subject to all the responsibilities of road usage that such a designation mandates but then stipulates only that a rider have lighting that allows them to be seen. Once that low bar is achieved you are free to go out there in the dark with as little light as you think you can get away with.