Do I Need Bicycle Lights during the Day?

Active young bikers with safety gears cycling on urban roadBicyclists can be very difficult to see at night, hence the necessity for lamps, reflectors and bright clothing at night. But recently, a group of independent bicycle dealers, industry representatives and bike advocates attended the Rider Safety Visibility Summit at California Bicycle, Inc. in San Diego to push a slightly different message: cyclists should not only use lights for visibility at night, but also during the day.

It only takes a second when a cyclist enters a road environment for an accident to happen, and without lights and other visibility aids, cyclists can be hard to see for drivers. At the summit, advocates demonstrated a slew of new products that could help cyclists be noticed; for example, a Bluetooth-activated helmet containing lights and blinkers that could broadcast to other drivers the cyclist’s intention to turn. Others demonstrated super-reflective clothing and one consultant even showed off a rub-on product that would make a cyclist’s skin shine in the sunlight.

Some at the summit spoke of other solutions to San Diego’s bicycle accident problem. Infrastructure was a frequent topic, and with Caltrans working on the Toward an Active California plan, it is hoped that we will have safer biking infrastructure in place within a few decades. Others mentioned distracted driving as a reason that lights on bikes are not enough. After all, does it matter how much skin-shine you are wearing or what the Bluetooth signal on the back of your helmet says if a driver is glued to his or her cell phone?

The big takeaway? While maybe brighter lights or better infrastructure might not help in every single accident, a mass effort by all cyclists to increase their visibility, even during the day, could help reduce bicycle accidents.


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