If you plan on riding on the roads at night or in low light, you need a set of lights for your bike – it’s the law. While it’s a legal requirement to use lights in the dark, many riders now use daytime running lights (DRLs) to make sure they get noticed.
A 2012 study found DRLs reduced the risk of accidents by almost 20 per cent. Modern USB-rechargeable LEDs offer much improved running times over old-style cell batteries and can be much smaller. You can easily top them up via an office computer or pocket powerbank too.
Pay attention to the “lumen” rating of lights – it’s a measure of their brightness. If you’re after a set of DRLs make sure they are rated to around the 100 lumen mark so they can be seen far off in daylight.
If you need to travel on unlit roads in the dark you’ll probably need a front light with at least 600 lumen so you can see the road well ahead of you.
There are a variety of fitting options available, from simple elasticated bands through to more substantial clip-on fittings. Clip-on attachments tend to be more expensive but they make it really easy to remove and reattach your lights – something you will appreciate on cold winter nights, or if you struggle with your dexterity.
Many of our selected lights will warn you when their batteries are running low – some even do it via bike computers – but it’s not a bad idea to buy a couple of cheaper lights as a back-up, just in case you ever find yourself running low on juice on a dark ride home.
We put a selection of lights to the test from dusk to dawn – and even tried them out in driving rain and blazing sun to check how well they could be seen in daylight.
Our testers also looked at how easy they were to fit to bikes, and gave them a run out over cobbles and rough roads to make sure they didn’t work loose.
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