Bicycles run on sheer human power. So, if there are no electric parts or components to it, how do bike lights work? Are bike lights automatic?
These may sound like simplistic questions, but for those really curious and interested in diving into the world of cycling, this information is just as much of a Must-Know as it is a Nice-to-Know.
Bike Lights as Riding Essentials
Bike lights are very important for every bike ride you do—day or night. The primary reason for this is the biker’s safety, of course. While some may scoff at the idea of biking with lights in the day, the truth is that it makes for a much safer ride for the biker.
Car drivers are prone to having blind spots, and are less wary about bikers around them. Having your bike light on can help get their attention and notify them of your presence near them, even in their peripheral vision. This way, they would be more careful before making a turn or switching lanes.
A surprising result of a study on bike accidents has in fact shown that as much as 40% of fatal bike accidents involved bikers getting hit by cars from behind.
This means that even when they’re right in front of the driver, it’s still possible that they’re not going to be seen as well, most likely because of the small frame of the bike. This, however, can be averted or mitigated with the proper rear light that can serve as a warning to the motorist behind.
Of course, the same concept applies during night rides. The usefulness of the bike lights has become amplified at this time, especially because you now also need the light to guide you on your route.
How Do Bike Lights Work?
Given the importance of bike lights, there’s no doubt in mind that you should invest in a good set to keep you safe on the road. But how do they work, and are they automatic?
Bike lights come in different shapes and forms. While there are those that need a switch to turn on and off, newer technologies have made it possible for automatic lights to be available in the market.
There are a good number of brands and stores nowadays that offer automatic bike lights. Like other typical bike lights, automatic bike lights are LED-based. The main difference, however, is that they have a built-in motion detector.
This motion-detector triggers the light to turn on automatically as soon as there is movement. This is a great development of the technology, because now turning the lights on is an automatic action. Even without the rider doing anything with the light, it’ll just be on anyway, and even as soon as the rider wheels or mounts the bike.
At the same time, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn off the lights because it will turn off on its own, shortly after movement stops. This helps prevent the batteries of your bike lights from getting drained, because you forgot to turn it off.
The last thing you’d want, after all, is to lose your light source, especially when you’re on a night ride.
As an added mechanism, automatic bike lights have a built-in delay to account for those times when you might be taking a short break from your ride, or you’re at the stoplight.
At the end of a certain length of time, however, if there is still no movement detected, then the light will turn off on its own.
Making the Most of Your Automatic Bike Lights
Depending on the make and model, automatic bike lights can feature different modes of light, from a steady beam to pulsating lights.
They may also come with a group ride mode, which essentially lets you control the brightness of the light, so that your fellow riders don’t get blinded by it when you’re riding at night.
When choosing your bike light, you should keep in mind that they primarily have two functions: for you to see and for you to be seen. Not all bike lights are built to address these needs together, so make sure to do your research on what kind of light functionalities it offers.
It would be ideal if you could find a bike light that does allow you to switch between these two modes easily.
You’d also want your bike lights to be waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about getting them wet during unexpected rain showers. You can’t keep them dry by covering them up, because then you’ll also be making the light useless.
Of course, while having lights that automatically turn on and off with motion detection, the most important thing is still to make sure that your light source will be strong enough to deliver the beam strongly enough.
Factor in the weather conditions, the pollution levels, the thickness of the fog, versus how well your automatic bike lights can hold up to it.
Hazy weather can already pose a lot of risk for the biker, not only because of the road conditions, but also because it may affect the driving of the other motorists on the road.
It’s therefore important to test the brightness of the light under less than ideal circumstances as well.
Why You Should Invest in Automatic Bike Lights
The easiest reason to invest in automatic bike lights is the convenience of not having to mind turning your lights on and off every single time. Its motion-detection features add to a more intuitive riding experience, because it gives you one less thing to think about.
At the same time, it’s more cost-efficient for you because you won’t have to constantly drain your batteries everytime you forget to turn off your lights after a ride. They will automatically turn off, so you can just park your bike and be on your way.
Having automatic bike lights keeps you automatically safer just by having them on your bike. Consider investing in them so you can have maximum enjoyment and safety on the road.