Have you ever been cycling merrily along and suddenly an ultra bright bike light blinds you?
According to a recent spate of emails I’ve been receiving this is becoming a “hot issue” for London’s cyclists.
Cyclists tend to love their accessories. From our waterproof jackets, to our bike locks and our bike lights. It seems in the later category, people are choosing ultra bright lights, to both see the road ahead and to be seen.
There’s a stark difference between a bike light such as the Magicshine MJ-872 and your typical front bike light. The Magicshine was original designed for mountain bikers. It’s incredibly useful for late night cycling, down off road trails or even down country lanes.
The power of a bike light is typically measured in Lumens. The Magicshine provides 1600 Lumens of light. In comparison, a typical bike light will provide around 20 Lumens.
The result of any cyclists unfortunate enough to be caught in the beam is that they’ll be dazzled or even temporarily blinded.
In response, you have to slow down and avoid looking at the beam of the light. Even then, the effects can be at best irritating and at worst dangerous.
As a driver you tend to reserve your full beam lights for dark country lanes. The moment you notice another car, you are meant to turn them off.
Unfortunately, it’s not as easy for a cyclist to do the same things as bike lights tend to be located further along the handlebars. This would mean removing your hands from your handlebars to adjust them, every time you saw another cyclist.
The common sense practise would be to reserve full power bike lights for quiet country lanes or locations where you are not likely to dazzle a fellow cyclist.
The problem tends to be focused on front bike lights that are either on the handlebars or on a helmet. However, I’ve also heard reports of issues with ultra bright rear bike lights.
I personally tend to cycle with two small bike lights of around 20 Lumens. This is enough to be seen, but won’t cause a problem for a cyclist coming towards me. I have found myself on the receiving end of ultra bright lights. While it’s a little frustrating, there’s not much I can do.
So what should be done about this “epidemic”?
There’s obviously no harm in calmly approaching a cyclist with ultra bright lights and letting them know why that might be an issue. Although, you may well be told to mind your own business!
I’m interesting in hearing your opinions in this one. Leave a comment below and I look forward to reading your thoughts.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.