Just because the sun is setting a little earlier doesn’t mean you need to shorten your bike ride. But it does mean you need to equip your bike and yourself with the right gear to stay safe while riding after dark. Take a glance at our list of tips for biking at night and then get out there and ride until your heart’s content!
The number one thing you need for riding after sunset (although it’s recommended to use them all of the time) is bike lights.
Cycling lights ensure you can see what’s out in front of you while riding after dark. They also make sure you are visible to pedestrians, other cyclists, drivers, and even the occasional animal that may cross your path.
Here are our bike light recommendations for safe nighttime riding:
(AKA Blinkers or Flashers) You’ll want to equip your bike with front and rear Flasher Lights. Having a light in ‘flashing’ mode makes it easier for drivers to differentiate you from static street lights and ensures everyone along your route can see you coming.
Your front Flasher, which is typically a white light can be mounted on your handlebars. Your rear Flasher, which should be a red light, can be mounted to the back of your helmet, your jersey pocket, backpack, seat, or any other visible, rear location. Some folks wear multiple flashing lights to increase their visibility.
In addition to your front Flashing Notification Light, you’ll also need to have a static front white Light (required by law) that shines brightly so you can see where you’re riding to avoid any obstacles along your path especially when biking at night.
A word on brightness —
In cycling, light brightness is measured in Lumens. How many lumens do you need? To stand out in traffic and ensure you can see your path easily we recommend a minimum of 650 lumens up to a max of 1200. If you opt for a light with a high lumen count, be sure to tilt it downwards slightly so that it’s not directly in the oncoming driver’s eye line. Many lights come with multiple brightness settings and flash modes, so you can adjust in response to your riding conditions.
To learn more about bike lights check out this blog.
Just like bike lights, reflective gear simply increases your chance of being seen when riding in the dark.
Many bikes come with a front handlebar, rear seat post, wheel, and pedal reflectors. However, it’s common to lose reflectors over time. Double-check your bike still has all of its reflectors and consider adding reflective strips on the tire sidewalls for even more visibility.
There are reflective cycling jerseys, jackets, gloves, socks, leg bands, vests, and more designed to make you super visible while you’re out riding at night. You can even purchase reflective stickers that you can place on your apparel and accessories to increase your safety.
A sensor that has your back and a helmet that calls for help if you can’t in the event of a crash? That’s right. Technological advances are helping to make biking safer for all.
The Garmin Varia works to alert cyclists when vehicles are approaching from behind to increase biker awareness.
The Specialized ANGI Sensor detects and reports potentially dangerous helmet impacts to the Specialized Ride app, which notifies your emergency contacts and sends them your most recent GPS coordinates. Learn more about ANGI on our blog here.
Once you’re equipped with all the right gear for night riding, it’s time to add your smarts to the mix! For ultimate safety while biking in the dark follow these guidelines:
Now that you know how to stay safe while biking at night, scoop up these nighttime riding must-haves online at shopERIKS.com or swing by your local store to grab what you need. Then, go explore, by way of your headlight, into the night.