Cycling equipment for visibility


New Member
Jun 21, 2018
I'm doing a bit of research on runners/cyclists who exercise at night or in the early morning where there is not much sunlight. I was wondering if I could get some feedback on:

-what kind of equipment you use to be seen
-what you like and don't like about your equipment
-any improvements you want to for your equipment
-injuries/stories you've had highlighting the difficulties of being seen by vehicles, pedestrians, etc.
-Your age and gender if you are comfortable mentioning
-how often you cycle each week and approximately for how long
-anything else you'd like to talk about

Any feedback would be awesome!
I'll take it in your order.

1) Up front I use a Philips Saferide on the bars and a Cygolite Mitycross 480 OSP on the helmet. On the rear I run a Light & Motion Vis 180 on the seat tube and a Planet Bike Superflash on the helmet. I wear ankle reflective straps, and sometimes a neon green mesh safety vest with wide reflective bands, the shoes have a reflective thing, the helmet has a reflective band that goes around the helmet, and my seat bag has a reflective strip. On my touring bike it has reflective bands on the tires and on the panniers.

2 & 3) I like my equipment I have, the only change I have to make is my Planet Bike tail light is getting long in the tooth and will probably replace it with a Lezyne Zecto Drive Max and put the Light & Motion on the helmet and the Lezyne on the seat tube.

4) I haven't had any issues riding at night and not being seen. Heck I never had any issues riding at night back in the day when tail lights were dimmer than a candle and headlights were just a standard bulb.

5) 65 year old male.

6) I cycle an average of 4 times a week and average 40 miles a ride.

7) nope!
Since I live in a rural town, streetlights are pretty sparse in some places, so visibility is a pretty important aspect when riding. In any case, on with the answers!

1. I have two sets of LED lights on my bike, one white light strapped to my handlebar, and one red light strapped to my seat. When riding at night or early morning, I have them both set to the strobe setting so that they act as a warning to potential pedestrians and motorists. I also have reflective tires and visibility tape on my backpack.

2. I can’t say I dislike anything about my equipment. It serves its purpose without being cumbersome.

3. I need more durable lights. I’ve had three sets die on me within the last 12 months.

4. Can’t say I’ve ever been injured as a result of not being visible. I was nearly hit a while ago by a driver who was looking in the wrong direction while turning, but all the visibility in the world can’t help you there.

5. 26-year-old male.

6. I typically try for 6 days a week and for at least 30-40 minutes of intensive riding.

7. That’s enough typing for one post, haha.
When I’m driving, or as long as my bicycle lamp is performing as it should, all I really need from my fellow road users is a hi-viz, reflective vest. Nothing says ”unprotected road user ahead” as well to me as to see that torso light up ahead.
And working on the assumption that I’m not particularly unique, I use a hi-viz, reflective vest when I ride or run along roads.
When I ride, I ALSO use the legally required white front light and reflector, red rear light and reflector, orange side reflectors.
Like or don’t like doesn’t really enter the equation. I do what seems sensibly. Where I live, climate and average working hours generally means that by the time it’s dark enough to put a reflective vest on it’s ALSO cold enough to make you want to put a vest on.
My main ”dislike” is that reflective fabrics degrade with each wash, and bike gear needs regular washing. I’d like to see an app that could measure reflectivity, and advise on when a replacement might be recommended.
Stories - well, there are all these people who use lights and reflectors as if they are amulets instead of functioning items.
Like a seat post mounted light and reflector and a rider dressed in a long coat.
Or lights tossed into a basket and the groceries set on top.
And all the bike ninjas who think that they seeing you is a guarantee that you see them.
For me, I don’t think it’s about not being seen as such.
I’m THERE, perfectly visible.
IMO what happens is that I’m not NOTICED, or expected. And that’s where the danger lies. I’ve been run down from behind by a car who could have sworn I’d already gotten out of the way when he mowed me down.
I’m male, 48, I commute by bike 4-5 days/week, 16 miles, 1.05-1.10 each direction.
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Dennis reminded me of something I forgot to mention.

During the day I don't use my front lights because I have eyes and I can see if a car is going to turn in front of me. I do however when I'm on the street and not on a path, I use my brightest tail light on the strobe setting with the helmet one off, but at night it goes on steady and the helmet one on flash. I just started doing the flashing thing during the day about 10 or so years ago due to distracted drivers. The flashing and steady rear light at night came about from articles I read from some European country and Canada where in Europe it's against the law to use a flashing tail light because their studies showed that motorists can't ascertain how far they are from something flashing but could if it was steady; however Canadian studies showed that motorists were alerted to a flashing lights presence faster then if on that's why I do both!

I also said that I wear ankle reflective straps, that's because some study showed that elderly motorists couldn't recognize something reflective if it wasn't moving, but the up and down motion of the reflective strap they noticed right away. So that's why I wear those.

All in all I don't put a lot of faith into reflective stuff, I use them just because, but lights is what shows up long before anything reflective does, and reflective stuff only works if an oncoming headlight is properly aimed and hitting the reflective thing, this is why night road crews have all gone to an LED vest. With newer LED's becoming brighter and brighter I am seriously considering getting a pair of Planet Bike (LED ankle) BRT straps. The other night I saw a jogger out running with a LED vest that stood out far better than anything reflective would have, in fact better than any other lit up vests I've seen even far better than the vests road crews wear!, she said she was wearing Tracer 360, which is sort of expensive at $60 but it really did work fantastically; see: