As cyclists, we want to make ourselves as visible as possible to other road users at all times, right? So why then, do so many of us only use bike lights at night? For next week’s Ask A Stupid Question, we have the experts at Bontrager on hand to field your questions on the best use of bike lights during the day time.

Do I need lights when cycling in the day time?

According to an ongoing research partnership between Trek and Clemson University, the use of daytime running lights are linked to a 33% reduction in accidents between cyclists and cars. Not to mention that a flashing rear light apparently makes a cyclist a whopping 270% more recognizable to drivers.

do i need lights for cycling in daytime

With numbers like that, it’s pretty motivating to slap a light on your bike before you head out the door. So, the important questions are less about whether you need them at all… (the evidence suggests you certainly do), and more about what kind of ones you need, and in what situations they’ll work best.

Should you use a front and a rear light? How many lumens? What beam color is best? What beam shape is best? Flashing or not? Here’s your chance to ask the experts at Bontrager who design bike lights specifically for day time light conditions.

Hit the link to submit your question, or pop it in the comments below.

bike lights for daytime riding bontrager flare rt tallight

pic by ©kramon

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  1. poul hansem on

    I have a flashing dazzling rear light and I also use a mirror and I see the cars pass an additional 50-70 cm when I have the light activated.

    I don’t use a daytime frontlight, as I can see anything happening in front of me.

  2. Slacker on

    I hear a lot claiming that flashing lights are not legal, or even attract drivers. Is there truth to that and if so what is the logic to a human being attracted to light?
    Also, many of the lights on the market are single LED, small point of light, similar to new LED fixtures in cars, wouldn’t a diffused, longer or bigger light be beneficial.

  3. timbo IOW on

    Where I live lots of cyclists use daytime lights. As a cyclist and motorist I think about this a lot. There is no doubt that when driving a car I spot flashing lights, and then several seconds later I realise it is a cyclist. The convention here is that red is a rear light and white is a front light. For me it is a complete no-brainer. Flashing lights are the ultimate attention getter – way more useful than those absurd day-glo items of clothing that lead to nothing more than a false sense of security (although at least they absurdly seem to satisfy insurers).

  4. Joenomad on

    It won’t change distracted drivers. It more for police reports and insurance when you are asked whether you as a bike rider were wearing a helmet and had lights on with the usual blame the victim game when the driver states that they didn’t see you.

  5. Frank on

    What is the legal status of flashing lights? In Germany they are forbidded, what about other countries? Are flashing lights less safe than steady lights in unlit country roads? Are they counterproductive in urban areas with high densities of cyclists?

  6. JL Stubbs on

    I ride 99.9% of my rides on a bike trail. I HATE flashing lights. It ruins the woods. There are no cars on the bike trail. Are there off switches on that stuff?

  7. RTJ on

    I lived in forested mountains for many years. The alternating sun and shade, with windshield glare, made me afraid to drive a car without light on. Still, I did not use lights on my bike. 8 years ago, I got clipped, concussed and broken up during a descent one morning. I was disabled then impaired for the better part of a year. It was probably by a car apexing turns on the way up. I say probably because I was it was a hit and run and I was left in the middle of the road with no memory of a half an hour till the fire department arrived. I realized it was stupid not to have lights.

    After that, I got bright flashing lights front and rear. On my commute, 16 miles each way, across the valley, my need to evade cars dropped from about 3 per day to zero, ever.

    The front is more important than the rear. People pulling in from side streets, making left turns from the other direction, pulling on to the shoulder to make a right when stopped in traffic, all completely stopped happening. I have seen numerous people pull back onto their side of the road in the mountains.

    I bought a L&M shortly after they got rid of their flashing and when to their feeble pulse. It was as useless as no light for daytime riding. I sent it back. You need flashing and an uneven pattern is better than on off.

    If you ride at a decent speed and don’t weave in and out between cars, someone approaching from the rear knows you are their. If they are close, it is because you are a nuisance and should not be on the road. Looking over your shoulder so you have at least perceived eye contact, turns you into a human, and is your best defense there.

    Bottom line: Bright flashing lights in the daytime are more important for your safety than a helmet. Pulsing lights are ineffective and blend into the background. The front is the most important for you safety in most potential road situations. Most drivers just don’t notice you and are not trying to hurt you so if you make them notice you will be much safer.


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