How can I be visible while cycling? Let’s figure out together how to be More Visible when cycling: being well visible is in fact fundamental for the safety of every cyclist, even and especially in urban mobility for bike to work.
Not only at dusk but also during the day, the more visible you are in general, the better your chances of being noticed even by distracted motorists.
Let’s see what tools there are to improve your visibility through a range of accessories and clothing, with also a focus on the best manufacturers and costs.
Why is it hard to see cyclists?
There are many reasons why it can be challenging, here are a few factors that may contribute :
Bicycles are much smaller in size compared to other vehicles on the road, such as cars and trucks. Their slim profile and lack of prominent lighting or reflective surfaces can make them less visible, especially in low-light conditions or when they are surrounded by larger vehicles.
Many vehicles have blind spots, areas around the vehicle that the driver cannot directly see through mirrors or windows. Cyclists can easily fall into these blind spots, particularly those to the sides or rear of the vehicle.
Various environmental factors can play a role to obscure a cyclist’s visibility: bad weather conditions like heavy rain, fog, or snow can reduce visibility for both drivers and cyclists.
Similarly, obstructions on the road, such as parked cars, vegetation, or large objects, can partially or completely hide cyclists from view.
Bicycles are typically slower than motorized vehicles, and this variability in speed and position can make it harder for drivers to predict the movements of cyclists.
Above all, drivers may simply not be paying enough attention to their surroundings or may be distracted by other factors such as mobile devices, conversations, or other activities.
How to be more visible when cycling
To improve cyclist visibility and safety, it is crucial for both drivers and cyclists to be vigilant and follow traffic rules.
- Drivers should always check their blind spots, use mirrors effectively, signal their intentions, and give cyclists ample space when passing.
- We as cyclists, on the other hand, should wear bright and reflective clothing, use lights at night, and adhere to traffic regulations to enhance our visibility on the road.
Best Front, Rear and Helmet Lights
Lights not only allow you to see the road better when riding in the dark, they also help other road users see you. Let’s see what are the best lights available on the market.
Commonly called front lights, they are mounted on the front of bicycles to improve the cyclist’s visibility while riding in low light or dark conditions.
Here are some characteristics:
- Light output: they can vary in light output, expressed in lumens. More powerful lights will emit a brighter light and be visible at a greater distance.
- Lighting modes: many front lights offer different lighting modes, such as steady, flashing, strobe and others. These modes allow the lighting to be adapted to different road and visibility conditions.
- Battery life: they can be powered by rechargeable batteries or disposable batteries. Battery life varies depending on light output and mode of use. More advanced lights may have longer battery life or power-saving features to extend battery life.
- Mounting: they are designed to be easily mounted on the handlebars or fork of the bicycle. There are various mounting systems, such as adjustable brackets or rubber bands, to ensure proper installation and stability while riding.
- Weather resistance: because bicycles are often used in a variety of weather conditions, they need to be water and weather resistant to ensure reliable operation in rain or wet conditions.
- Compact and lightweight design: they are designed to be compact and lightweight so that they do not weigh down the bicycle or impair handling.
- Additional features: some may include additional features such as ambient light sensors to automatically adjust light intensity, low battery indicators, or light indications to signal turns.
Lezyne and Cateye’s front lights are among the brightest and strongest available. Both companies offer a range of lights, from compact, USB rechargeable lights to more powerful lights for nighttime mountain rides. Prices range from 30 to 100 USD.
The technical features are not dissimilar to the frontal ones, let us now go on to list a few models.
Knog and Bontrager’s rear lights are small, lightweight and offer good visibility. Both feature different lighting modes and are USB rechargeable. Prices range from 15 to 50 USD.
Helmet lights: Helmet lights are a great addition to increase visibility. Models from Black Diamond and Petzl are lightweight, powerful and offer different lighting modes. Prices range from 40 to 80 USD.
The right clothing can make all the difference in visibility. High-visibility cycling clothes, often in fluorescent colors or with reflective details, help you stand out, especially in low-light conditions.
- Jackets: High-visibility jackets from Rapha and Gore Wear are designed to be seen. Made of reflective materials, they offer excellent visibility without compromising comfort and style. Prices range from 150 to 400 USD.
- Pants: Reflective pants from Pearl Izumi and Castelli combine visibility and performance. With reflective details and a close fit, they are ideal for low-light rides. Prices range from 80 to 200 USD.
Reflective Bands for Wheels and Clothes
Reflective strips are an easy and inexpensive way to increase visibility. They can be mounted on bicycle wheels or worn on the body.
- For Wheels: Reelight and 3M’s reflective wheel bands are easy to install and offer 360-degree visibility. They are water-resistant and suitable for all types of bicycles. Prices range from 10 to 30 USD.
- For clothing: Nathan and Salzmann’s reflective clothing bands can be easily attached to jackets, backpacks or helmets. Made of high-quality reflective materials, they are adjustable and comfortable to wear. Prices range from 10 to 20 USD.
Conclusions on how to be more visible when cycling
Being clearly visible when cycling is not only a matter of safety, but can also give you greater security and peace of mind while cycling. By investing in high-quality lights, high-visibility clothing and reflective bands, you will be more visible and safer on the road.
Always remember that visibility is only one part of bicycle safety. Always be sure to obey traffic laws and maintain your bicycle to the best of your ability
More cycling tips
Lots of useful insights for safe cycling: