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Great selection of bike lights online at Bikester.co.uk
Some cyclists think pedalling without lights is only a little, insignificant mistake. But in the dark, rain or fog, this kind of nonchalance is pretty risky. Without adequate bike lights, you’ll spot other road users, obstacles, bends and pot holes too late – and you also won’t be noticeable to other pedestrians and vehicles. These dangers are all avoidable. A battery powered or dynamo headlight allows you to see the way ahead in poor light conditions, whilst a taillight indicates the direction of traffic to fellow road users and reflectors make you better visible to them.
UK Regulations: Bike Lights
According to the current UK Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations your bike:
- Must have a white coloured front light
- Must have a red coloured rear light
- Must be equipped with a red rear reflector
- Must also be fitted with amber pedal reflectors (unless your bike was manufactured before 1985)
It’s also worth noting that:
- White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen
- Flashing lights are permitted but it’s recommended that cyclists riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp
- Bicycle trailers also require a rear light and a triangular rear reflector (with an ECE mark III or IIIA)
Penalties for not meeting these requirements range from a fixed penalty notice of up to £30 to a maximum fine of £1000 in court.
Now you know the particular bicycle lights and reflectors that you’re required by UK law to have, let’s look at the differences between the battery-operated and dynamo lights available on the market today.
Battery-operated bike lights can be mounted on your handlebar or luggage carrier. For road and MTB bikes without a luggage rack, fix the tail light to the seatpost, ensuring it won’t be covered by your clothing. This type of bike lighting offers the following advantages:
- The lights can be easily attached and detached. You can remove your lights when you get off your bike to prevent theft
- Their low weight doesn’t bother ambitious racers and weight weenies
- They don’t require any physical effort whilst cycling to operate
- The headlights work regardless of the weather
- The light doesn’t turn off when a rider stops at an intersection or traffic light
- With many models, brightness can be adjusted according to varying light conditions
The life of a battery light is limited. For longer bike tours, you’ll need to take replacement batteries. For breaks of more than one day, removing your batteries from your bicycle light is recommended. This will interrupt the voltage and avoid premature discharge, especially with rechargeable batteries.
Many bicycles designed for everyday use come equipped with traditional dynamos. They don’t require recharging and are firmly installed on the bike. Even the most forgetful cyclist will always have their bike lights with them – no matter how spontaneous their ride is. Also, no extra equipment is required for long tours. The movement of the wheels is all it takes.
Side running and rim dynamos produce the energy needed for the lights via friction on the tyre or the rim. This costs extra energy while cycling. If no bicycle lights are required, disengage the dynamo. This will reduce wear on the tyres or rims and the dynamo.
Hub dynamos generate electric for the bicycle’s lights during the rotation of the wheels via a magnet. Compared to side-runner and wheel/rim dynamos they have a higher weight. However, they are largely weather-independent. Rain, snow, puddles and mud won’t affect the function of the dynamo.
For high-quality and durable dynamo lights, consider models from lighting manufacturers such as Busch + Müller, Trelock and Supernova.