Rear light for dense city traffic

Tina Marie

Member
I live in the city and use my bike to commute to and from work, and also for joy rides. I was extremely nervous about riding my bike in rush hour, as well as on suburban roads. It seems that a pedestrian or cyclist is getting hit by a car on a weekly basis. I didn't want to be a statistic.

About a month or so ago, I purchased the Bontrager Flare R Rear Bike Light. I liked the way it worked and would make me extremely hard to ignore. I've been using it on every ride. From the first time, I immediately noticed that the vast majority of cars acted differently around me. Many slowed down and would go into the other lane, others wait for traffic and then move into the other lane. There are still a few jerks that try to see how close they can drive next to me, but most are very cautious.

The other day, when riding home from work, a car drove along side of me, rolled down the passenger window and the driver asked if she could tell me something. I said, okay. She then went on to pontificate on how much she loved my rear light. She said she could see me for more then 2.5 blocks and was amazed that the light was visible that far in the daytime. She thanked me for using it and then drove away.

I knew I was visible, but I didn't know how far the beam extended. I feel even better knowing that I'm that visible to drivers. Especially since so many drivers are distracted these days, it's good to know that I'll be catching their attention. I just thought I would share for others that worry about riding in city traffic.

https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/equipment/cycling-accessories/bike-lights/bike-rear-lights/bontrager-flare-r-rear-bike-light/p/13202/?colorCode=red
 

Over50

Well-Known Member
I've heard good things about the Flare. I have a couple of rear lights I am particularly fond of:

The Lupine Rotlicht has a seat-rail mount (or can mount on seat tube) and has an accelerometer and something like 9 different modes with 3 levels of brightness. It is so bright I have chosen to use it on the lower brightness settings.

http://www.lupinenorthamerica.com/rotlicht_REDLIGHT_smart_taillight.asp

The Tern Vizy is a seat tube mounted light that lights up the ground around the rider giving a radius for cars to see. It also bathes the riders feet in red light such that cars approaching from behind can easily see the pedaling motion. It doesn't fit around my fatter seat tubes from Riese and Muller but I use it on my other bikes with lots of success. Even if I have a trunk bag that is blocking the rear light, the ground light/radius light works well. So usually I'll use a light on my trunk bag and the Vizy on the seat tube and I have ground effects plus rear lights (in addition to the built in lighting of the e-bike):

 

Robie

Active Member
I just rode in the hardest rain I ever have in Austin some puddles reached my bottom bracket glad I had good lighting Pedallion strobe white on the front and Servas strobe red one on the rear . Recommend them highly. I'm sure drivers could see me through the rain
 

mrgold35

Well-Known Member
I always liked using the Light & Motion Vis 180 Tail Light, Amazon or eBay, $60-$80. Extremely bright in southwestern sunlight at mid-day. I have two rear lights (one my rear rack and the other on the back of my helmet). Has a lower lumens yellow light if you are in a bike convoy and folks are following at night.

Don't get the Vis 180 Micro because I had to send 3 back because the on/off button would only work 20% of the time.

- USB rechargeable
-Pulse light instead of strobe
-can be seen from the side
- water resistant
-6 hours at 70 lumens high pulse
-12 hours at 35 lumens low pulse
-4 hours solid
- 32 hours at 5 lumens

vis 180.jpg
 

Dionigi

Well-Known Member
I replaced the Busch and Muller e-bike continuous luminance tail light on our Riese and Müller Nevo bikes with the Light and Motion Tuck e-bike light. It has a bright pulse rather than a strobe and also has side amber lights. The light turns on from the Bosch display.
673B6649-9413-40D5-ADC9-B6685A869891.jpeg
 
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lewes5

Member
We live in an area heavily populated by weekly and week-end tourists (Dewey, Rehoboth and Lewes, Delaware) who tend to forget common sense and courtesy when driving. Accordingly, I purchased the brightest tail light on our bikes. (I am always amused to see bikes on the road with tail lights which you cannot see until you are within 30 feet of the bike itself.)

I purchased day-time only lights from Dinotte lighting. It's 300 lumens and costs a bundle but in my mind, safety come first. Around our neighborhood, I can see the light on my wife's bike long before I can see her on her bike. It's that bright. The downside to this model is needs a small, separate rechargeable battery which I keep in a small seat bag hanging below my saddle. I also keep a multi tool in there as well. Dinotte has other models with built-in batteries but running time is not as long and they are not quite as bright.

http://store.dinottelighting.com/daytime-red-taillight---daytime-only-taillight--seat-post-seat-stay-chain-stay-or-rack-mount-p188.aspx
 

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regardless of what bike taillight you get, consider supplementing it with a small quarter sized "push button" type light to strap on the back of your helmet. My reasoning is that not only does this not only increase my visibility to motorists over just a taillight regardless of brand, but also it is positioned at literally the highest point it could be (the same reasoning that led to adding the 3rd brake lights to cars a decade or two back).

Finally, though I understand the idea of the blinking light as a way to increase your visibility, my experience as a motorist is that the super-bright blinking lights that some bikers seem to love are actually blinding to me as a motorist, I think they actually create a safety hazard because I have to look away from them as I approach (so if you folks swerve suddenly when you're on the road with me, good luck). So I usually set my brighter bike-mounted taillight to be solid red & my dimmer helmet rear light to blink. This for me is the best of both worlds: I have a low bright solid light, just like a car, and then on top of that (literally) a less bright blinking light that makes it clear I am not one.
 

tallpaul

Active Member
I use the Light and Motion Tuck taillight.A riding buddy does as well. When riding behind him in the daytime the pulsing doesn't seem as effective as the strobe effect that others use, and there is no way to change it on the L&M. I even called the L&M folks up in NoCal and asked if they could make mine strobe. Their response was that it is not possible as it is software driven, and that they have converted their lights to pulse based on studies that say the strobe tends to have motorists "fixate" on the strobe and possibly running into you or others as a result.
I do really like the quality of their products, made in the USA, and great customer service. So pulse it'll be! I use the Nip 800 lumen light paired with a Tuck as well up front, like the dual light setup for added visibility.
 

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christob

Well-Known Member
I have (and like) the same Bontrager rear light as the OP above. (And their small “cube” white light (Ion 100R) mounted on the front which I usually set to the blinking pattern—tho I appreciated it has a steady-on / full-power output option, on my one very dark ride home 6 miles after 10pm on a largely unlighted bike path!)
The small white cube light came with a matching red cube light—but only a handlebar rubber mount—I need to find a way to affix it to my helmet, as I like the suggestions to place a helmet light, above. The rubber strap isn’t big enough to stretch around the helmet parts...need to see if Bontrager has a compatible helmet mount — bet they do.
{EDIT - they do, of course; just ordered one.}

Additionally, my latest cycling jacket has a loop at the back / neck to accept a clip-on light... I have one, bought when I first got the bike—but never used it; pulled it out last night and the batteries died! (Unlike the 3 Bontrager lights I have, the clip-on is not rechargeable, so I dunno if I want to keep buying 2 ‘tab’ batteries for it on a regular basis!)
 
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JRA

Well-Known Member
No mention of a laser lane feature but I think its worthwhile and the more that use it the more it will be recognized by drivers.
 

Bicyclista

Active Member
I have (and like) the same Bontrager rear light as the OP above. (And their small “cube” white light (Ion 100R) mounted on the front which I usually set to the blinking pattern—tho I appreciated it has a steady-on / full-power output option, on my one very dark ride home 6 miles after 10pm on a largely unlighted bike path!)
The small white cube light came with a matching red cube light—but only a handlebar rubber mount—I need to find a way to affix it to my helmet, as I like the suggestions to place a helmet light, above. The rubber strap isn’t big enough to stretch around the helmet parts...need to see if Bontrager has a compatible helmet mount — bet they do.
{EDIT - they do, of course; just ordered one.}
I have the Bontrager Charge WaveCel helmet and it comes with the mount for the Bontrager Ion lights. I use the red one on my helmet and the white one on my handlebars. They are bright enough to be seen in daylight and they last for about five hours in blinking mode. I wish Bontrager had included two charging cords instead of just one.

On my rear bike rack I use the Cygolite Hotshot 100 which is dimmable from about 100 to 50 lumens with several steps in between. (The Cygolite Hotshop Pro mentioned by @FlatSix911 above is even brighter and also dimmable.) I had to buy a rack mount for it, and I wish they had included it in the purchase price. Unfortunately, it uses a different USB cable for charging than the Bontrager Ion lights.
 

Toomanycats

Active Member
I have a Salsa rear rack, and I use the Planet Bike Grateful Red taillight. It takes two AAA batteries and can be steady or flashing.
For the front, I use one of those inexpensive ($30.00) rechargeable lights that attach to the front handlebars. They’re pretty much all interchangeable.
It’s bright, but I don’t ride at night.