A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Riding at dusk: A point about bike lights

Written March 9th, 2021 by Hasso Hering

Driving around Albany at night, you often come across people on bikes who can barely be seen, if at all. So with nothing better to do on a slow Tuesday afternoon, I tried my hand at putting together a little video on the subject of bikes and lights.

So now that I’ve finally figured out basic video editing, more or less, maybe future offerings in this line won’t be quite so rough. (hh)

Posted in: Bicycling, Commentary

6 responses to “Riding at dusk: A point about bike lights”

  1. David Smith says:

    Good job, Hasso, with the video, I like the background music. I couldn’t agree more with you about the the need for lighting on a bicycle and, perhaps supplemental lighting. My bike came from the factory with a fender mounted head light and a rack mounted taillight that are battery powered that can be turned on and off at the handlebar control. I leave them on all the time. They are mounted lower on the bike and are steady, i.e. they don’t blink, and, IMHO, are somewhat marginal in terms of illumination. I’ve supplemented them with a flashing handlebar mounted white lamp similar to yours light in front, not for illumination but one that will better signal my approach. I also have a flashing red lamp that I’ve attached to the back of my helmet. It is , much higher off the ground and does a better job of alerting overtaking motorists to my presence, esp. those in SUV’s and the high pickup trucks that are so popular. I have my lights on at all times. I wear and also suggest a vest or jacket that is highly visible, fluorescent lime with retroreflective taping in my case.

  2. Scott Brulind says:

    Quick shout out to the good people at Bike ‘N Hike and their bike lighting selection and advice. We’ve bought (and will continue to buy) many different kinds of lights. Sometimes a quick purchase at Fred Meyer or BiMart because we forgot; sometimes lots of a dozen, or so, from Alibaba- straight from the source, if we can wait.
    We spent big money at Bike ‘N Hike at Christmas this year on bike lights and went the rechargeable (USB connection), easy to dismount (so they don’t get stolen) route.
    Compare lumens, as that is the fairest parameter for brightness.
    The thing with Bike ‘N Hike is go to the store, as their online catalogue may/may not be current. See for yourself if the value is there for spending more. At least you can turn it on and see what you’re buying. So far, we’ve been satisfied with durability and ease of use.

  3. Glenda Fleming says:

    Very good illustration of bike lights. I especially like the flash option, not only because it saves battery life, but because it makes it easier for motorists to recognize the light source as a bicycle.

    However, the video also illustrates one of my big gripes — knowledgeable bicyclists not obeying traffic rules, in this case, running a stop sign. As I commented on Mr. Hering’s bicycle boulevard post, I think bicyclists not obeying traffic rules are a big contributor to bicycle accidents. Yes, I saw that this particular circumstance wasn’t egregious, but I’d hope a bicyclist with Mr. Hering’s experience and audience would be set a better example.

    • Hasso Hering says:

      Thanks for the comment. However, the law on stop signs was changed a couple of years ago. Cyclists may treat stop signs as yield signs. That means I go through them without stopping if there is no vehicle in sight that has the right of way.

  4. Ron says:

    My issue with bike riders dusk early morning is there coming toward me in the right lane coming close to getting hit on narrow roads instead of going the direction of the traffic

  5. Albany YIMBY says:

    Some other ideas:

    Because of the spread out layout of Albany, like most American towns, the city does not have the budget to appropriately lit its streets.

    Some people riding their bikes at dusk are poor, I also complain about them when they appear out of nowhere but many times they don’t have the money or bandwidth to deal with getting a light or reflective vests.

    Many streets in Albany are more like “stroads” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-01-07/defining-the-worst-type-of-street-design, wide, ugly, and designed so cars can go fast. Road diets and traffic calming measures wouldn’t only save money for the city, but would also reduce the number of cyclists and pedestrians hit or injured to nearly 0. https://www.propublica.org/article/unsafe-at-many-speeds

    Saving lives is more important than speed or convenience. It creates a greater feeling of safety in our residential areas and as another benefit, it allows for children to feel safer, walk or cycle by themselves to places like the park or school.


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