well folks it's that time of year again where at 3 pm sharp it becomes darker than the stp route at 3 am.  i've been noticing down here in portland the many folks who have head lights on their bikes which can cut through 3 inch steel but have tail lights that anything beyond 10 feet are next to impossible to make out.  think about it.  how many cars are going to be driving on the left hand side of the road as they approach you??  if you are going to use lights, and i hope you do, how about powering up on the tail end of the bike.  after all that is where you are most likely going to be hit by a car.  a lot of commuters out there, as they expressed to me a couple of years ago, think that motorists are spending all of their waking hours watching out for cyclists.  well, i hate to break their hearts but the opposite is true.  you should be lit up on the back end as if the motorist has no choice but to see you out there on the road.  you can quote  all the motor vehicle laws you like but the truth on the road is to protect yourself because no one is looking out for you.

let me also add that now that it is so overcast and or dark out there people on side streets entering your street cannot see you as well and this may be even more important this time of year.  i don't have a ready answer but please dlon't assume that just because you have the right of way and they have a stop sign in front of them that they see you.  it's bad enough on a clear sunny day as you all know but this time of the year it is plain out scary.

Jim..   those Vista lights (the first brand of rear flashing tail lights) are pretty good for increasing visibility and are also pretty inexpensive.  I've seen them for as little as $10-$15 bucks.  It seems buying two (or three) and putting them on your rear rack/seat stay/helmet would really make a rider visible.

Submitted by Jim Werner on

jcjob you bring up another subject that being multiple tail lights.  there is no such thing as too many tail lights.  too many folks out there think one is enough.  they make this judgement by walking behind their bikes a few feet and notice how bright their light is.  the real test is the motorist who is approaching from 100 feet back not looking for a cyclist and can't help but see the cyclist ahead.

My main Tail Light is a Serfas Thunderbolt set to "Blink". That little thing is BRIGHT! A worthy investment. On my Timbuk2 bag is a Nathan Strobe blinky I want to replace. It's a good light. But the housing is not clear where the light shines. And some little Rear Blinky on the back of my Helmet. I'm sure I can be seen with the Set-Up that I have. The rest is up to car drivers.