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Some lighting advice for a newbie

Recycle15Recycle15 Posts: 5
edited September 2012 in Commuting general
Hi there,

I've recently decided to take the plunge into commuting via bike and have got myself a second hand Felt z100 road bike (I'm so very happy with it :P ). I've been researching what lights to purchase as a lot of my riding will be at night; the sticky on this forum has been great.

I live in Bath and my commute includes a short unlit dual carriageway and a small amount of country-lane type roads as well as general street lit city roads.

Obviously I am after a light which will allow me to see during the darker parts of my journeys, but I am aware there are a lot of elements to consider in order to be safe. I understand that more brightness does not mean more safety - a good compromise is required to avoid dazzling oncoming road users and an appropriate beam angle etc is important. That being said, unfortunately I am not in a position where I can spend £100+ on a front light.

I get the impression that, generally, the importance of appropriate road cycle lights is underestimated and I've struggled to find much content with an emphasis on considerate and safe light use.

So... any advice as to what lights to consider from more experienced road cyclists would be very much appreciated (maybe multiple lights could be my answer?).

As a backlight I've decided on Topeak Redlite Mega which I gather is balanced with the above.

Thanks, for any advice!


  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    You don't really want to be cycling on dual carriageways unless it has a cycle path.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • I'm talking about less than 1km of dual carriageway which is totally unavoidable. There are no slip roads or anything like that, just lights/a roundabout on either end. Many cyclists use it every day.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    I see, I can recommend a front light for under 100 quid, it's called the philips led saferide, the 80 lux one. It is very bright but doesn't dazzle because it has a cut off like a car light. ... =en&cr=GBP
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • Which bit of dual carriageway is that? If it's the A4 towards Box then that bit is avoidable by taking the old A4. If it's the Bristol road then you're right, it's probably unavoidable but as dual-carriages go not too bad.

    The lights I usually use are Blackburn Voyager 2.0. They're inexpensive but bright enough for occasional rural road use. I fitted two of them on my commuter for a bit of extra illumination.
  • Thanks for the replies.

    Both lights look great - exactly what I'm after. Yes, it's the Bristol Road dual carriage way Corshamjim. It suprises me how badly lit it is, especially after all the work they've done on it.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
  • supersonic wrote:
    Try one of these:

    Purchased. Thanks everyone.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    You did say you didn't want to dazzle oncomers, you will with that.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Not if you turn it down/angle it down - had no problems with mine, no complaints.
  • Try the Alpkit gamma head torch, only £15 from the Alpkit website. Really bright for the money and runs on AAA batteries. It also has a rear light and has plenty of brightness settings. Unbeatable for the money.
  • wyadvdwyadvd Posts: 590
    antfly wrote:
    You don't really want to be cycling on dual carriageways unless it has a cycle path.
    That's a gross generalization not backed up by my experience at all. I have a 15 mile route which goes along "lovely quiet idyllic country lanes" and a 10 mile route which is almost all 50mph dual carriage way. I have not had one single close call on the dual carriageway is 3 years of using it at least three times a week. I can count on one hand the number of times I swear per week on the "lovely quiet country lanes route". (stupid overtaking, both me and oncoming etc etc). Most dual carriageways are straight, and all the cars you encounter are travelling in the same direction as you. They also have a whole 12ft lane to overtake you in. More cars and faster cars may FEEL more dangerous or SEEM more dangerous, but that doesn't make them more dangerous per se.
  • antflyantfly Posts: 3,448
    Some are obviously worse than others, some are wider, some are quieter, some are only 50 mph.. A quiet dual carriageway is fine but one with two fast, busy lanes is very unpleasant, I don't enjoy having my elbows skimmed and being honked and gesticulated at by traffic doing 70mph and over, I don't care how safe it is, although my only collision with a car happened on a dual carriageway roundabout.
    Smarter than the average bear.
  • antfly wrote:
    You did say you didn't want to dazzle oncomers, you will with that.
    I have one of those it also has a reduced setting which gives more usable time
    Cycling Daddy
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    It's worth having two on the front and two on the back; partly for redundancy and partly so you can have one flashing and one fixed, which makes your position a bit easier for drivers to find.
    - - - - - - - - - -
    On Strava.{/url}
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    A couple of cheap flashing LEDs are well worth having in addition.
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