Tips & tricks

Bike light safety

Today’s bicycle lights are brilliant in terms of safety. But the brilliance can be blinding as well.

Our members, while recognising that responsible cyclists ensure they are highly visible at night – and during the day in poor light conditions – have raised concerns about being blinded by the powerful new generation of bike lights.

That feedback has come through our northern regional advisory committee, one of the three regional committees that amplify the voice of members and give the us advice and guidance on our policies and our advocacy.

The issue was also raised when we asked members for their input into our submission to the Legislative Council Select Committee into Road Safety.

Our message to bike riders is that they ensure their lights are positioned so as not to potentially blind drivers or other cyclists. Essentially, make sure your front light is not on high beam, just as you would if behind the wheel.

There’s also a safety message for drivers. They share the road with vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists, so they must ensure lights don’t blind oncoming drivers and riders.

In summary, research shows that the best place to put lights is at handlebar and seat post level, and that flashing lights are more visible.

Increasingly bike riders attach lights to bags and helmets. In fact, some helmets now have lights in-built.

Bicycle Network says that while lights on helmets and bags are not illegal, they don’t make you any more visible to drivers if you already have lights on your bike.

There are risks with having them on bags because of dislodgment. And lights on helmets are not in a driver’s expected eyelines and can disappear more easily into surrounding ambient lights.

There are some useful guides available online for cyclists, and for motorists to understand the proper use of lights.