People find it odd that different states have specific requirements for cyclists and lighting their bicycles. Some states have no requirements. Perhaps these states believe that cyclists are responsible for their own safety when using bike lanes, the road, or a sidewalk. To find the laws for bicycles in your state, check the League of American Bicyclists.
Even if you discover that your state does not have laws that require bikers to have lights and reflectors, we encourage you to consider adding them. If a 5,000-pound automobile doesn’t see your bike in time to stop, you probably will not live to tell about it.
What equipment is required to be on a bicycle that is being used at night?
Note: the following laws apply to bicycles to be used between sunrise and sunset or in inclement weather.
The bicycle is required to have the following:
- A front white light
- A rear red reflector
- A rear red light
These lights may be flashing (which we recommend) or steady. The lights must be visible from at least 500-feet away. The red light must be visible from a distance of at least 600-feet. This will ensure drivers will see you, even at night.
Safety is your priority
The equipment listed above are the minimum requirements according to the law. But you do not have to stop there. There is a lot of other gear you can customize your bike with that is affordable and increases your visibly greatly.
- Reflective strips can be placed around the wheels and pedals to catch the light of a car and illuminate the bike with neon colors.
- There are wireless blinkers that can be operated with a button on the handlebars. They are bright LED lights. The one-piece unit has a yellow light that flashes in the direction you are turning. In the center is a bright red light that lights up when you are stopping. This still allows room for the legally required reflectors. Some sets include yellow blinkers that attach to the handlebars as well.
Not every cyclist wears a bicycle helmet. But if you are going to ride at night, it is a good idea. Bicycle helmets are designed to absorb the shock of a blow to the head. The outside of the helmet is durable and houses a special material that protects your brain from trauma.
They now have smart helmets that include lights. Some smart helmets are equipped with turn signals and brake lights that drivers can see on the road. These extra accessories are not going to go unnoticed. Drivers will not only see you, but they will use caution passing you or riding behind you.
No, we are not going to recommend you wear a shirt that blinks. But we do recommend that you get a shirt, vest, or jacket that hasreflective material. This is much like firefighters or crossing guards wear. They are lightweight and comfortable, and they improve your visibility. If you invest in your bike gear, you will be much safer on the road.