While ideally we would have separated bike paths that can be safely used for recreation and transport, that’s just not the case in most areas of the country. Thus, some riding will have to be on streets that are shared with cars. Safety should always be a priority when sharing roads with drivers who are increasingly distracted. Wearing bright clothing, using a safety flag and riding in a predictable manner all help increase visibility and rider safety. However, as technology has improved, a rear tail light has become essential not just for riding at night but also for daytime visibility.
So how do you pick a rear light? Most rear lights are adequate in the dark but to be visible during the day it should be at a minimum of 50 lumens. Lumen is a measure of light output that can be a reference when comparing lights. However, brightness is not the only thing to consider. Having an eye-catching flash pattern helps greatly with visibility. Also, a good versatile mount helps keep the light pointed straight back instead of tilted up or down. This ensures maximum visibility for the brightness output.
YouTube can be a great resource when looking for rear lights. You can see the different flash patterns of each light in a video, something that’s not possible looking at pictures. Also seeing how the mount works will help determine if it is compatible with your use case. Lastly, bright rear lights have become very affordable so it’s a good idea to buy a couple to try out and use. Having one solid rear light and one flashing rear light increases visibility over just a single rear light. After all, safety should be the number one priority when out riding!