Lights and Reflectivity: Cycling Safety in the City

Lights and Reflectivity: Cycling Safety in the City

Lately there has been an alarming number of pedestrian related collisions with motor vehicles in and around the city of Richmond. It feels like every couple of days we hear of a cyclist or jogger getting run over by a vehicle. The ever-increasing prevalence of cell phone equipped, distracted drivers isn't helping the matter. We won't debate who's wrong and who's right here; we all bend the rules when we drive and when we bike. Honestly, how many of us drive at or below the 25 and 35mph speed limits all the time?

Instead, we can do our part to promote cycling safety. That is part of our job here at Carytown Bicycle Co. Along with bikes and service, we sell lights. And we've got plenty to say about it.

We all know this light. It is usually the cheapest, most affordable way to equip your bike with a light. Several manufacturers make these and they usually run on a CR2032 watch battery or something similar. 

Frankly, they just don't cut it. Go ahead, hop in your car and drive around The Fan. I'd guess about 50% of Richmond cyclists use this light and realistically, you cannot see them in the middle of the road. They are easily out-shined and drowned out by car brake lights, street lights and even the lights from your dash board. During a light rainfall, forget it. The water on your windshield will amplify the effects of the street lights and other bright car lights. You may as well be invisible. 


The Specialized STIX light is one of our favorites. Easily three or four times brighter than a tiny, single-LED tail light and USB rechargeable. It's a no brainer. The easy to use rubber strap mounts around your seat post or handlebar and the light itself can be removed easily so it doesn't get stolen. Leave the strap mount on your bike, the light comes with you. $30 and very convenient. 



Serfas has recently released a super-affordable and powerful tail light called the UTL-9 Flat Panel. At 40 lumens, it is twenty times brighter than those dinky single-LED tail lights and is also USB-rechargeable. At $25, it's kind of a ridiculous deal. Within a week we've already sold almost every single one. This might be our new favorite rear light at the shop.

The most powerful tail-light we tend to carry is the Knog Blinder Mob. 44 lumens spread out over a 90 degree grid. It lights up the widest area behind you and your bike to keep you safe. It's a bit more expensive but it's always been reliable for us and it comes with different straps for a variety of mounting positions AND is 100% waterproof. $60 and totally worth it.


It is worth noting that lights aren't solely to be used at night. A bright, flashing light during the daytime, particularly during a cloudy, overcast day is worth just as much to your safety as they are at night. This is another great reason to invest in a higher lumen, brighter light. The smaller lights are virtually invisible during daytime hours. 

As cyclists, lets do our part in keeping us safe. Equip yourself to make it home alive. Stop by any of our stores to check out our selection of lights. It is the law, but more importantly, it's your life.