Anyone who knows me understands that I do my best to choose my words carefully (Colossians 4:6 KJV “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer every man”). But I do get passionate about things, and when I feel I have to point something out, I do.
So here we go.
I consider myself an enthusiast road and mountain bicyclist. I ride a decent amount, read about the latest gadgets, play around with Strava, and so on. In addition, I read various blogs about bicycle law and court cases of the aftermath of vehicle drivers colliding with bicyclists. All that to say that you would find me in the bicycle advocacy group as well. You know, the people that you find working hard to make the general public aware that bike riders are people with families and friends. We’re not a road obstacle to be punted off of the road.
Why then, with all this talk asking vehicle drivers to watch out for bicyclists, and knowing just how bad a bike vs. car incident can be, do we not do what we can to protect ourselves?
I’m talking about rear view mirrors and head/taillights. You wouldn’t want to drive without them, why do we ride without them?
Just about any group ride I’ve been on, I’ve seen precious few of these devices. Very few mirrors. Hardly any flashing taillights. My game plan has always been to see and be seen. Classic material from any Motorcycle Safety Foundation training course, just as applicable to road riding. I can see in my rear view if a driver is moving over as they pass, or if it’s going to be a buzz (or worse). It’s a split second choice for sure, but any day of the week I’d rather know to head for the ditch than the alternative. Likewise, that strobe red flasher on the rear should catch their attention and maybe I won’t end up having to make the choice.
For years I’ve been rolling along with a Planet Bike Turbo Flash but I’ve decided to up the ante. Amazon should be delivering two new gadgets to my door: the Cygolite Hotshot 2W and the Portland Design Works Danger Zone. Look for a “review” later. Yes, I fully intend to have both of these on the bike. Maybe I’ll look like a noob. But you’ll see me!
Here’s a great review of bike lights with some must read commentary on why the author decided to embark on such a test: