Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Be Seen - even in the summer

I didn't make last evening's Griggstown Grinder. The threat of rain made me think twice. Sorry guys ...

However, it did remind me that it's still a good thing to be seen, especially under the trees on a dull day, or as sunset approaches. Even after a clear sunset, darkness can fall very quickly with just a mile or two to go.

Blackburn Mars 3.0
I use two lights, both of which frequently elicit comments from other riders and road users.

The Blackburn Mars 3.0 rear light is excellent value for money. One or two more expensive red lights may be brighter or flash in a more effective pattern, but the Mars 3.0 is very bright from the rear, employs an effective, attention grabbing strobe effect, and also shows a bright amber light to either side, a requirement of European rear lights. The Mars 3.0 uses two AAA batteries, which last a very long time.

Blackburn Flea 2.0
For the front I use a Blackburn Flea 2.0. The Flea 2.0 is a remarkably small, usb or solar charged light which has a flash mode which lasts for several hours. I'm not sure how bright it looks from the front, but it illuminates reflective road signs up to 100 metres away, so I'm assuming drivers coming the other way are aware of me. The Flea is not going to illuminate your way home, but is a very effective aid to conspicuity.

Blackburn also manufacture a Flea rear light, but its strobe mode employs LEDs only a few millimetres apart, so I'm not certain the differentiation is noticeable.

Of course, there are other effective bicycle lights available. The most important thing is to be seen. So, regardless of manufacturer, make sure front and rear lights face the traffic. Too many conspicuity lights are aimed down towards the ground, make them far less effective as aids to safety.

Incidentally, you can find New Jersey sunset times here ...