by John Brown
With school now in session and fall in full swing, we should all consider using visibility gear now available as a key component, so we are better seen while riding our bikes. The two main forms of visibility we need to focus on are passive and active visibility. Things like reflectors and bright colors are forms of passive visibility. In contrast, lights and blinkers are great examples of active visibility. Read on to see where each one is helpful and most efficient.
Using visibility passively
Most autumn rides start in the light and only devolve into darkness as the ride stretches on. In these cases, most riders rely on passive visibility to get them home. Provided that your ride is under street lamps or some form of light, that passive visibility will get you home safely. The most common form of passive visibility is a lowly reflector. The CPSC requires these plastic devices to be installed on all bicycles sold in the united states. You will find reflectors in two colors, white (front and wheels) and Red (rear). Additionally, many apparel companies install reflective materials on their products. Like the reflector on your bike, these reflective materials will take any light thrown at you and return it to the source of the light. Where passive reflectivity falls short is when there is no light source to activate the visibility.
Using visibility Activly
When the area is devoid of a light source, you need to create that light to keep yourself safe as a rider. For cyclists, Lights and blinkers are the most common devices for light. The light and the blinker differ because blinkers are designed to be seen while lights allow a rider to both see and be seen.
Great lights are usually rechargeable and use an LED bulb. These lights are a necessity for riders who spend a lot of time off-road or on unlit paths. While most mount onto the bars or helmet, a few companies integrate lights into the bike or your helmet.
Blinkers are usually battery operated and use an LED to flash intermittently. These blinkers can easily be mounted to your bicycle. In some cases, blinkers are incorporated into helmets, gloves, shoes, saddles, and handlebars.
What to use this Fall
Mount a pair of blinkers to the bike (one front and one back). When you get stuck in low light and high traffic, switch on the blinkers. If your route is going to be unlit for any portion, a front light makes things safer. Overall, think ahead before your next ride and pack to ensure you can see in the dark while others can see you.