Thursday, November 4, 2010

It's dark out there.

I've mentioned a bit about lights before. They're important, and they're about to get more important as we sink into the darkness as Daylight Savings is over (remember to 'fall back' this weekend). Let's talk about rear blinky lights today.

Why is it important to have a rear light? The shortest answer is, so that you don't get run over. If drivers know where you are, they know not to be driving in that spot (I would hope). The longer answer includes that it's the law and it's your responsibility. There are lots of blinky options out there. Rear lights are red, just like in motor vehicles.

The Planet Bike Superflash has been the gold standard in rear blinkies, in my humble opinion. That 1/2 watt strobe is retina searing (in a good way), even in the day time. I've had one clipped to my backpack for a good long time now.

Despite my love for the Superflash I'm pretty excited about the Danger Zone, from the fine fellows at Portland Design Works. It's not your average blinky. Here, watch this video(pay no attention to the man without(!) a helmet). The idea is that a constant blinking pattern gets lost in a light heavy environment, like a city, and that by making the blinking pattern crazier (slow/pulsing & fast/strobe-y) it'll catch human (drivers, peds, other cyclists) attention better.

Want something a little sneakier? The Planet Bike Spok is just a little guy that attaches to your bike (or helmet, even) via velcro strap. Here's where Charlie likes to put his:

When it's not turned on, you don't even know it's there. It's a nice way to have a light on your bike when you don't want to take it with you, but you also don't want it stolen. It's a single LED, so it won't knock your socks off, like the other two, but it gets the job done. All three of these a solid mode, but I only ever use the blinking modes, so they won't get lost in the city landscape.

Pretty soon some (many?) of you will leave for and return from work in the dark. I'm sorry about that. It is kind of a bummer, but it's no reason to stop riding your bike. Just grab some lights. No matter which blinky you choose, it's just important that you use one.

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