There are many things that you should consider when riding your bike at night. There are things like state and country laws that are mandatory to follow and then there is your personal safety that you should consider the most as well, but all of this doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way and buy a thousand accessories just to ride your bike at night
First, let’s discuss what to expect when riding at night. Some of you might already be riding your bike at night. For those of you who don’t, here are the things you should understand about riding your bike at night.
Is it safe to ride your bike at night?
Riding your bike at night is completely different than riding in the daytime. There are many unexpected things that you can expect from speeding drivers to drunk drivers and more traffic on the streets
Did you know that: 8 am-10pm and 8pm-10pm are the busiest times of the day and you can expect double the traffic that you might see all day round or all night round
But of course, people still ride their bikes at night in the city, and also some people mountain bike at night as well, so yeah, it is a little dangerous to bike at night compared to daytime, but you can ride your bike. It’s perfectly fine by law as long as you are following certain laws and rules imposed by your government or your state.
What the laws say about riding your bike at night
There are different laws for different states in America for riding your bike at night and there are different laws in other countries as well, but the short summary of all of those laws is that you should be completely visible on the road
The laws don’t force you to have luminous lights on your bicycle at night. However, you still have to be very visible to any approaching vehicle from a certain distance which is usually 300 feet-500 feet, meaning you need to have either lights or reflectors (Rear, front, and sides) on your bike and if possible reflective clothes as well.
The laws about lights can be strict in some states and in some countries, so make sure that you check them beforehand but as I said usually it’s all about you being visible as much as you can.
Can you use reflectors as light alternatives as well?
Yes, reflectors can be used as light alternatives on your bike Reflectors are needed legally and for personal safety as well and in some regions and countries around the world they are needed by law even with lights on your bike if you are riding at night you are not legally required to equip them in day time of course
What kind of reflectors are there and what are better alternatives for them?
Reflectors are many types of plastic piece reflectors that come with a new bike, reflective strips that you can use on your bike that work the same as the plastic reflectors and there are reflective clothes as well that you can wear for maximum visibility.
Reflective clothes basically have reflective strips on them that you might see on medics crew and on police officers’ jackets as well.
I have written a whole article on reflectors as well, you can check that out as well if you have any lingering questions for example what different reflector colors mean and what color reflectors you can use on your bike
Where do you need reflectors and lights on your bike?
There are a few parts of the bike that you will need to have a reflector on for example on the front of your bike back of your bike and on your wheels as well the wheel reflectors are there if you are making a sharp turn on road and a vehicle might be approaching you the reflectors on your wheels are the most visible to the approaching vehicle or motorbike so that’s why they are necessary as well.
You can also change the reflector’s positions on your bike, for example, you can mount reflectors near the wheels a little below the handlebar, and different other places as long as they are perfectly visible you can mount them anywhere you want this includes reflective strips as well.
Can you use cheap lights or reflectors on your bike as well?
There are no pricing criteria for lights and reflectors, however, they should operate and work as per the requirements by your state/country law as I have already explained that reflectors or your bike lights need to be visible to other road users from 300-500 feet and your lights should be perfectly visible to them
You can buy and put up a 5$ light or a 10$ light by law you are only required to have lights that should be clearly visible you can also use reflectors only as well and the same thing goes for them as well.
If you are more of a technical person then cars usually have 1200-lumens lights on them and as for a bike front flashlight a 300-500 lumens light is more than enough and it’s observable by the given distance required by the law and is more than enough for personal use as well but you cannot go over the limit of vehicles set lumen limits which is usually around 3000 lumens
and the rear light for the bike can be from 5-100 lumens which are also visible enough by the same distance but you can also use a light reflector on the back of the bike as well and a flashlight on the front its usually perfectly fine by the law as well.
By law, you are required to be visible. It doesn’t mean that you should necessarily have lights on your bike reflectors are okay as well. But of course, if you are riding your bike at night you would need lights as well. You only need front and rear lights only in some states and in some countries, you might also need lights or reflectors on your bike wheel as well.
and you can find all the details of how many lumens lights should be and all the other questions that you might have above I also have a whole article on reflectors as well answering all your questions about reflectors if you’d like you can check that out as well