I ride with two lights on the front, two on the back. This is why http://ajenningsfrankston.blogspot.com/2011/03/two-lights-at-front-...

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To have t-boned a car like that, side displays would have made no difference, especially at 35km/h. The motorist would only have had a front view, which they either didn't see, disregarded or they misjudged Michael's speed. (The latter being quite common, even at 25km/h, many non-cyclists have no idea how fast a bike can be, even in the hands of a chubby hack.)


Like traffic lights, dooring, lethal road rage and lethal inattention, lack of visibility ceases to be a problem if motor vehicles are removed from the road. I can't wait for the petrol to run out. (Not sure what we'll do for bicycle tyres without fossil oils, but the sooner cars are too expensive to run, the better.)

Steve, how do tiny pieces of retro-reflective plastic on your wheels slow you down?

"wheel reflectors are useless and slow the bike down"

I can't see this at all; just possibly you might lose a fraction of a percentage off your rate of acceleration due to increased rotating mass, but your topspeed will not be slowed at all, it will just take you perhaps 1/10 of a second longer to get to it.

Not effective? I disagree, these things are ugly, look childish, can be a pain if they come loose, but they do work! An orange circle of light in the drivers vision is a clear indication of a bike; the LED ones are even better. I am currently spraying one of my bikes with retro-reflective white paint full of small glass beads; will look like the white road strips for reflectivity, better than going stealth. A lot of people put their faith in one small red light with weak batteries that even I, as a cyclist who is aware of other bikes whether I am riding or driving, can barely see. There is no such thing as too much!

A gram off the wheels is worth 5 off the frame. The centripetal acceleration of the wheels uses more energy per gram than the forward acceleration of the bicycle. Removing wheel reflectors (not embedded tyre reflective strips) makes the wheel lighter and easier to spin up.


As for side visibility, if a cyclist is crossing a motorist's T, and the motorist has enough time to even move their foot to the break, the cyclist will be gone before the car gets to the cyclist's position when the driver first saw them. If the car hits the cyclist, they were too close to notice side reflectives, the front visibility is the important issue there. I'd rather reflective tape on the frame (and have heaps.)

Steve, I can see out minds are working on slightly different wavelengths; wheel reflectors are so light as to make almost no difference & can be a useful safety feature - your top speed will not be affected at all, just the acceleration - in fact, it will help your momentum once up to speed!

To suggest that reflective material on the side is ineffective is nonsense & the second paragraph in your post just plain wrong - I'm not picking a fight here, I just think that your argument is wrong, doesn't cover all scenarios; I've had close calls in which the only reason I've been seen in time was the reflective tape on the side - the driver even said so when he apologised for not seeing me earlier (despite no fewer than 8 lights on the bike! - I used to commute through St Kilda in the early hours of the morning including Saturday night.)

Safe riding.

Tyres with reflective strips on them too.

All of our commuters have, upon replacement time, gone to Schwalbes with reflecto.  Light up an absolute treat.



I agree with you on that Cory. I have Schwables on all my bikes. It' quite puncture proof too and the reflectors very effective.

I have one on the back of my commuter bike. Nice fast tyre. I think it's a marathon from memory.

I wondered if that strip was reflective - then I forgot all about it.


How clean do the reflective tyres need to be to work effectively? My new commuter came with gumwall style tyres as stock but after a few wet days the sidewalls are close to black from road grime. I need to replace the rear soon, would consider a reflective tyre as long as i don't need to clean it every time it rains!
Simon, gumwalls are rubbish, get rid of them asap; the gum part breaks down in the sun fairly quickly as it doesn't seem to be UV stabilised. The Schwalbes are great, particularly the Marathon Plus; I put some on my wifes bike and we haven't had a flat in over a year, and probably only have to pump them up every couple of months - with Schwalbe tubes they hold air really well. The reflective part does need to be clean, wash a section of it and shine a torch on it at night & you'll see the difference; cleaning the wheels can prolong rim and brake pad life and make for better braking too.

I ride with 3 lights down the back and one on the front, but on really dark mornings I found a pair of safety glasses with single LED's on each side called Eyelites. Only thing I had to do was put some gaffer tape over the battery compartment to stop the sweat getting in but they are awesome on dark mornings and they allow me to see my computer too.

Got em off ebay for about $30 including shipping.

If you're on a budget, or you're just after a cheap backup light, I've found these lights to be really worth the money. They're brighter than some lights I've paid four times as much for in bike shops. For $10 you can't go too wrong.

It's a good point in the article about the importance of aiming the lights effectively. Can't believe the number of people I see with flashing front lights aimed at the ground a couple of metres in front of them. Not only do they not work to make you visible to other road users, they make it harder to see ahead because of the flashing.

When I'm on a dark bike track I have one down, one up - as in the article, but on the road I just point both straight ahead. One always on, one flashing. The idea is that the flashing one is better at attracting attention, the solid one is better for judging your speed and position. And then one on my helmet for pointing at the cars on side streets or turning in front of me.

Exactly what I do - though I have two flashing on the rear, one big LED up front and a flasher as well.


What really scares the hell out of me is running along the MYT and almost hitting a couple of fixies without lights - just mad - though I expect that they were more worried than I was because I only saw them for a couple of seconds before I went by.


Naving no lights makes about as much sense as having no lid.


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