Insufficient visibility caused by having no bike light, a dim one, or wearing a dark, non-reflective jersey is a frequent factor in bicycle crashes. After hitting a cyclist, drivers commonly declare “I never saw them.” This is especially true when a driver turns into a cyclist’s path or pulls out in front of them. While safety is a shared responsibility, as bicyclists we can reduce our chances of being hit by making ourselves more visible to drivers.
You can easily increase your visibility by wearing bright colored clothing, reflective accessories, and using bright bicycle headlights and taillights while riding. It is recommended all cyclists wear bright colored clothing while riding during the day or night to be more visible to motorists. Reflective accessories such as reflective headbands, ankle bands, bracelets, and reflective strips on your tires will also make you more observable to other drivers. Reflective materials catch the human eye’s attention at all angles, unlike bike lights which are typically seen if they are in the driver’s line of sight.
According to the World Health Organization, using bike headlights and taillights during the day has proven to reduce accidents in several countries by 10 to 15%. In many countries, bicyclists must use their lights during the daytime to increase their visibility and reduce their chances of being severely injured or killed in a wreck.
We’d love to hear from you about what lights you use. Currently, I ride with Serfas© Thunderbolt lights, which can be easily seen up to a mile away and have a running life of 9 hours. They are 90 lumens and cost $100 a set. I have also added a 550 lumen NightRider headlight. It has good battery life and can be used on several levels of power including a blinking daylight function. They cost about $100.