Whether you choose to leave in the pre-dawn for an early training ride or you get caught late at work and have to commute after-hours, it is inevitable that you will ride your bike in the dark. You think that having a few reflectors on your bike is enough for motorists see you? Nope! Drivers have to deal with light pollution from streetlights or roadside businesses as well as different lighting conditions (especially at sunrise and sunset). Also, you can help yourself and see potential road hazards ahead of you if you have extra lighting options.
The absolute minimum:
White headlight on your handlebars. There are lights for merely being visible to others, as well as those that are made to guide you on your way.
Red rear light. This can be mounted on your seat post, fender, or rack.
A few things to consider when purchasing lights include the type of bulb (LED and halogen are the brightest), what kind of batteries they use, and how many hours are in the battery life. Be sure your lights have blinking or flashing options to increase your visibility.
The next level of safety:
Front helmet mounted light. Advantages of a helmet light include a higher light for cars to see and having a beam directed wherever your head turns.
Rear mounted light on helmet, shirt or jacket, or backpack. It is a great idea to have a blinking light on your person as well as the bike. This is an easy and inexpensive extra layer of safety that can make you stand out to a passing motorist.
Reflective jacket or vest. Of course, you can wear your lightest colored clothes, but ramp it up and get a bright neon vest or jacket with reflective strips on it. Think you will feel silly wearing it? Safety doesn’t always equal fashion!
Reflective calf or ankle strap. The same logic as above applies here. That reflective material is obviously designed to pick up a car’s headlights.
To help guarantee that motorists will see you and hopefully avoid any potential mishaps, be as visible as you can when you ride. Combine these ideas or use one or two. Be proactive about bike safety lights and not only will you be able to see where you are headed, but you’ll likely avoid any car versus bike close calls.