Lights for bikes
Cars for decades have had daytime running lights. Increasing visibility reduces accidents. The same is true for cycling as well. In a world full of distractions, getting drivers to notice you is the best way to avoid incident. Weather you are commuting in twilight hours or riding in the dark; lights allow you more options for spending time on your bike.
There are 2 basic classifications of lights:
Headlights are the brightest and designed to primarily to illuminate your pathway. They are mounted on your handle bars, helmet or both. They are designed to be on all the time you are riding and usually have a few levels of brightness to match your conditions and maximize battery life. Most of them also have a daytime flashing mode that ups your visibility even in the day time. Excellent options are available starting at $60-70.00
Tail/Safety lights The most effective tail lights blink and are like brake lights on your car. Drivers can see them from 1/4 mile away. These can and should be used day and night for maximum viability. They are inexpensive at $25, and should be the minimum if you or your kids ride in the twilight hours.
What is a lumen? Measured at a uniform distance, a lumen measures is the light intensity. Most light manufacturers provide a lumen rating that is listed on the packaging. Bigger lumen number means a brighter light. If you are riding at night we recommend at least 600 lumens or more for headlights on or off road. There are light options that go up to 4200 lumens used for off road endurance racers, but most riders will be fine with 800-1200 lumen headlights.
All headlights and tail lights are rechargeable lithium ion batteries. The most powerful head lights have separate battery packs, but you can get great lights with integrated batteries the size of a small flashlight. (way brighter though) They are rechargeable via a micro USB cable. Larger tail light are also micro USB or regular USB to recharge. This makes it easy to top off charges if you commute to and from work. Personally, I have a USB hub, on my workbench to keep my Garmin computer and all lights topped off.
Most lights are the same brightness until their power is gone, so most lights have a low-battery warning. The Niterider Lumina OLED 1200 has a digital screen that shows you remaining battery time in minutes remaining, so you know exactly how much time you have before its lights out. Lights take a couple of hours to recharge.
RunTime and Battery Life
Battery life depends on the light’s battery type, the power of the system and the kind of LEDs in the light. A flashing light emits an eye-catching pulse (either steady or random) that uses less battery power than a steady beam. Most lights offer flashing and steady modes. It’s difficult to see well with a flashing headlight in the dark, so save the flash mode of your headlight for daytime use. Most rechargeable lights have multiple brightness settings. This lets you switch between long-lasting, low-power light and bright, high-intensity light that drains battery power more quickly. Most systems let you select from a range of illumination levels. Generally on its highest strength setting, lights will last a little over an hour, and on medium or low 2-3 hours respectively.