Bike Lights - Too Bright?
This week I’ve been doing some work at a local company, which involves working ‘regular’ hours - 8 ’till 5.
For the last year, I’ve been cycling to all local appointments (those within a 30 mile round-trip). I’ve managed to schedule meetings so that I could do travelling in daylight, and carry only small lights for my bike in case of emergencies / delays. But this week’s work means that I’m travelling in the dark twice a day (sunrise is at 08:30, and it’s dark again by 3:45), and in the peak of traffic.
So this Sunday I thought I’d better get some brighter lights, and headed off to Byker’s (no pun intended) Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative for a chat with the staff. Their view was that my Cateye AU100BS rear light was more than adequate (Cat Eye’s brightest rear lamp, it turns out), but my tiny front lamp could do with more ‘oomph’
After what seemed like hours of trawling through the front lamps, I settled on the Blackburn Quadrant lamp. It’s got four seriously bright white LEDs, and three modes - constant / half-flashing / full-flashing, and is apparently a favourite of the local police cyclists. And less than 20 quid to boot. Fantastic!
So I’ve been using my new lamp for the last three days, and given the conditions (freezing & foggy) I’ve been really glad of it.
But tonight on the way home, I had a motorist stop his car in the middle of the road in front of me at the bottom of quite a steep hill. I braked, and went around. But was rather alarmed when he then followed me, and pulled level with the window down, shouting,
“That front light’s f**king lethal. I was completely blinded by it in me mirror”
My initial thought was that this was just another motorist thinking that they own the road (but in reality cyclists and pedestrians have a right to use the road - motorists do so under license).
And then I wondered if I’d got the lamp set too high, and spend the next few minutes of pedalling in adjusting it up & down. But in the end, I set it back to its original position - any lower, and the light focus was on the road only a few metres ahead of me, and I reasoned that at least the offended motorist had seen me.
I’ve had too many near-misses in the past (interestingly enough, worse on my race bike, with it’s lower cycling position on the tri-bars) , and I never want to wake up hearing those words:
“Sorry mate, I didn’t see you” (”SMIDSY“)
So I’d rather dazzle, and have drivers wonder if they’re on the set of Close Encounters, than experience my own close encounter with a ton of metal.
Am I right or wrong?