Yours truly was driving home a few nights ago, about an hour after sunset. A young person was on his bike, riding towards me, but I only saw him when he was about 50m from the front of my car - and this was on a well lit street. The reason? No lights, none, nada, not as much as a candle. It was quite unreal and from the kid's perspective it was probably no big deal as he was ambling along and was probably able to see his way under the street lights on a familiar road, but as a motorist he was pretty much invisible. Oh yes, no reflectors either.
There's a saying about the essential 3 L's among cyclists, which are a lid (helmet), lights and a lock. If you are cycling in poor weather, let alone in the dark, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to be seen by other road users from the rear as well as the front. Today's bike lights are affordable, light-weight and rechargeable, so no ongoing battery costs. There are precisely zero reasons not to get bike lights.
Melbourne based Knog are one of our favourite bike light vendors. Their designs are practical, innovative and they look mighty fine. Their lights range from small and simple 'beacon' type lights that make you visible to other road users right up to seriously high-performance units that light the road or track in front of you. As with many other things, you need to consider the circumstances under which the lights will be used and make your choice accordingly.
The brightness of lights is measured in lumens and thanks to fast evolving LED technology, high output lights are a very practical reality. As the batteries are mostly built into the lights you should have a look at the run-time of the light to make sure they have enough capacity for your needs. Many lights now come with a few modes, such as high, medium, low, eco-flash etc, so it pays to have a closer look at the exact run-times per each mode.
The Knog range of Cobber lights are among the best lights to be seen by as they offer 330 degree light from a front and rear light combination, making sure you can be seen from the sides as well as front and back. When it comes to lighting up the road ahead of you, taking a look at the beam angle of the light is a good idea - is it a narrow or wide beam. The Knog Blinder Road 400 and 600 have two light beams from two independent reflectors, one is a narrow 12 degree beam, designed to light further up the road and the other is a 32 degree beam for a wider dispersion of light, albeit not as far. What makes these two Blinders even smarter is the ability to run the lights together for max visibility or one at a time in order to achieve a longer battery life.
It is also a good idea to have a look at the quality of the mounting mechanism and how easy it is to remove the lights, because while you can always lock up your bike, some sticky-fingered individual might fancy grabbing your lights. A quick release system means it's easy to take the lights with you. While many lights are now rechargeable, it is a good idea to see what kind of a charger is used with proprietary chargers being our least favourite. All Knog lights, for example, are USB rechargeable, so it is highly likely you already have a USB charger (or seven...) and this also gives you even the option of charging your lights with a USB power bank.
As always, we’re on hand to give you advice on the best lights for your bike and the type of riding you do. Be bright, be seen, be safe - get lights.