You like using your bike lights, especially if you happen to be riding in areas that have low visibility or if you prefer to ride at night. But you might want to have control of turning your bike light on and off.
Like a car, if you leave the lights on your bike, it can wind up killing its battery, which is really annoying when it’s, say … the dead of winter. The last thing you want to do is to try to turn on your bike’s light when it’s cold enough to make even a polar bear shiver. So, you want to turn off the bike light when you are not using it, which makes sense but can be easier said than done.
How can you do this, though? The manufacturer may have them set to be on all the time, so shutting them off can be a bit tricky. There are ways to do it though.
You Might Have To Do A Bit of Searching
It would be great if the manufacturers decided to design their lights with very visible on/off switches. Some of them do – so kudos to them. But there are others that seem to make you want to feel like you are in one of those locked room events where the switch is so subtly integrated into the light that not even Daredevil with his heightened sense of touch could find it.
You might have to cycle through a few settings before having the light turn off. It might flash first, then faster, then slower and then finally turn off. Test this out during a time when you are not in a rush – you should not go on your first ride and then try to figure things out.
There are times where it can be hard to find this switch even if you do consult the manual. You kept the manual, right? RIGHT? Just kidding. If you are really stumped, you could always just search on YouTube – someone has to have uploaded a video about this sort of thing.
All you have to do is watch the video. This is a great option since you can just pause or rewind it to see what they are talking about. You can take as much time to get the handle of turning the light on and off, which will help if you are going to do this in the cold.
Now you have found the switch. You can turn the bike light on and off. Now the second thing you need to do is keep it consistently powered up so that you can use it when you want to.
What About Rechargeable-Battery-Powered Lights?
This can be a great way to ensure that you have the power to have consistent light for the times that you need it. You can usually use a USB port and hook it up to do the job overnight.
You just want to be careful when handling these batteries. They can get overheated pretty easily, so be sure to lightly touch it. There are some risks that it could explode if things get too hot .
Rechargeable batteries are good – but they also start losing power after a while. Then you will have to get replacements. It may not be often, but it could be a sudden hit on your wallet at the worst time.
What About Dynamo Powered Lights?
This is when you have a hub put on the front wheel and wires connected to the light. You don’t have to worry about battery power here, it’s all based on the motion of your bike.
Are you someone who likes to go for long rides? This can take care of having to worry about battery power. It is also fantastic if you have long commutes riding your bike.
If you have dynamo power, you can power both the front and rear lights of your bike and it can last quite a long time. If you had a similar set-up with rechargeable batteries, you could only expect to have it last for anywhere between 1-3 hours. That could be a problem if you are on a long road trip.
With some of the other lights, there is a chance that you might have to do some jury-rigging and set a spring on it to make the light turn off after a bit if you are idle. This works great for short lights, but if you are sitting at a long light, you do NOT want people to lose sight of you.
There are drawbacks to having these lights shut off, though. Your main goal is to be visible at all times to other people on the road. If you have your lights turned off when you are waiting at a traffic light, then you are opening yourself up to the possibility that other people around you might not see you. That’s a very bad thing when they are driving something that weighs upward of a thousand pounds or more.
If you are going to do that, then you should strongly think about adding other things to you or your bike that increase your visibility. Things like reflectors or very brightly colored clothing or even adding a bell or horn to the bike handle. You just want to stand out from all the other scenery on the road and be dressed in such a way that it says, “Hello! I am a biker. Please look out for me!”
Ultimately, you might want to consider keeping your lights on and having back-up power ready. You can always bring your bike in for maintenance and they can look at it and make the best determination for you. Then you will be able to ride around with the confidence that your lights will be there for you when you need them.