||This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
Bicycle lighting improves the visibility of the bicycle rider to others in dark conditions, and may help the rider to see by illuminating the way forward. Both reflectors and active lights are used to make the rider more visible.
Many jurisdictions require one or more types of light to be fitted to bikes ridden at night. White light in the front, red lights in the back, and orange reflectors on the side is the most common setup. Many types of light sources are used for bicycle lights.
The earliest bicycle and motor-car Carbide lamps were powered by acetylene gas, produced by combining calcium carbide with water. The light given was very bright, although the lamps required regular maintenance; the arrival of battery-powered lamps in the 1890s was well received.
Early battery lamps generally used a lead-acid battery, but these were replaced by self-contained dry cells; lamps became smaller and more reliable. At the same time dynamos were developed which generated energy from the bicycle's own movement. These were more practical, as storage density in batteries was at this time very low.
Not all jurisdictions required use of lights after dark. In the UK the law requiring use of rear lights was resisted by cyclists' groups on the grounds that it downplayed motorists' obligation to be able to stop well within the distance they can see to be clear.
Replaceable-cell battery lights had a renaissance on the invention of the alkaline battery, with a much higher storage density. Moulding techniques for plastics also improved, allowing lens optics to be refined at low cost thus making more efficient use of the light output. During the 1980s the lighting market became more globalised: in Europe, the French "Wonder Lights" and Ever Ready brands gradually disappeared in favour of American, Japanese and German products.
In recent times there have been many advances: exceptionally efficient dynamos; cheap high-output sealed-unit halogen lamps originally developed for decorative lighting; improved storage density in rechargeable batteries driven by the computer industry; high-output light emitting diodes (LEDs); white LEDs; and high intensity discharge (HID) lights crossing over from the automotive sector.
Batteries, either rechargeable or disposable, are often used to power electric bicycle lights. For bicycle touring, commuting or if battery operation is otherwise unwanted an electrical generator, or dynamo, may be used. (While "dynamo" generally refers to a generator that produces direct current with the use of a commutator, cycling usage normally refers to an alternating current magneto.) Unlike batteries, a dynamo has unlimited duration, but the maximum power output is relatively low. This is somewhat mitigated by good optics and slight overvolting of the lamp; a good dynamo nominally rated at 6 V is generally allowed to produce 7 V or so by its voltage limiting circuitry. In Germany, it is illegal to use bicycles without a dynamo-based lighting system except on "racing bicycles" below 11 kg. This has stimulated the market for high quality dynamos such as B&M or Schmidt. Some tweaks have been done to put toggle switches on the lighting, and small rechargeable batteries in line with the dynamo during daytime hours to ensure continuous output of light when stopped, though the rare practice of using the battery for other gadgets during daytime use can negate this depending on watt consumption.
Other electric systems include 12 volt lighting with valve-regulated lead-acid batteries since they can also provide power for air compressors that fit in automotive cigar lighter receptacles when tires go flat. they are useful for other functions such as extending cell phone battery life, since cell phones are becoming more and more relied on by travellers.
3 volt: Often supplied by 2 AA or C/D cell batteries.
6 volt: Sometimes 4 AA batteries are used; also supplied from bottle-shaped battery or hub dynamos, and lead-acid batteries
9 volt: Sometimes supplied by a PP3 battery
12 volt: Mostly supplied by sealed lead-acid batteries. The main advantage with this voltage is versatility of the electric system, such as the ability to charge a cell phone battery with a cigar lighter receptacle as cell phones are now becoming more and more needed for users, though 5 volt USB is also used for that purpose too. It also allows electric air compressors to fix flat tires. Some 12 volt dynamos are available too, though their watt rating is underpowered for medium to high watt applications.
Red tail lights have traditionally combined a white light source with a red filter, which wastes power creating light that will not be transmitted. Red LEDs emit only red light in the first place, and hence consume much less energy.
The type of lights used may depend on the available power sources and the amount of light required, but as often reflects personal preference or local availability. A low power headlight and a rear red LED suffice for cycling at low speeds in familiar areas with street lights. Unlit and unfamiliar areas demand a more powerful headlight for safety, at the cost of greater weight, higher cost, or shorter run time.
A common setup for a bicycle commuter might include:
- a quartz-halogen or high power LED headlight powered by a rechargeable battery pack or dynamo
- a LED tail light, either steady or flashing/pulsating
- a flashing/pulsating LED front light for conspicuousness and as backup
Under the International Vienna Convention on Road Traffic (1968) of the United Nations, a bicycle is a vehicle. Article 44 of the Convention stipulates that: "Cycles without an engine in international traffic shall: (c) Be equipped with a red reflecting device at the rear and with devices such that the cycle can show a white or selective-yellow light to the front and a red light to the rear." In some countries, for example France, it may be an offence to even sell a bicycle not fitted with legally compliant lighting system. Germany requires that all bikes over 11 kg be fitted with compliant dynamo lighting systems, but even lightweight bikes are required to be fitted with lights (battery powered lights allowed) except when racing. However not all countries impose this requirement on their domestic cyclists.
Many jurisdictions require bicycles to be fitted with reflectors at point of sale. In the United States this is regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. CPSC compliant reflectors (also commonly fitted in other markets) have three retro-reflective panels positioned at 30° angles. The standard requires a forward-facing white reflector on the front of the bicycle, sideways-facing white reflectors on each wheel, a red reflector mounted on the rear, and yellow reflectors mounted on the front and back of each pedal. Some interpret this as an endorsement of reflector-only night cycling.
Many jurisdictions require the use of a headlight and a rear light or reflector after dark. Most European countries and some US states require front and rear lights at night, while others allow reflectors only at the rear. Individual jurisdictions define specific legal requirements in terms of light output and the size of lamp and reflector lenses, compliance with specified standards, or simply stipulate a minimum distance from which any lighting device should be visible. In some jurisdictions, some systems involving LED based flashers are illegal because blinking lights are only allowed on emergency vehicles, but those rules are rarely enforced.
In the UK, the regulations governing bicycle lights are set out in the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989 and their subsequent amendments, summarized in the Highway Code. The regulations require a white front light, a red rear light, a red rear reflector, and amber/yellow pedal reflectors on the front and rear of both pedals. Reflectors must conform to BS 6102/2 or an equivalent European standard. The situation for lights is more complicated:
- a light with a steady mode is considered approved only if it conforms to BS 6102/3 or an equivalent European standard;
- a light without a steady mode is considered approved only if it flashes at a constant rate of between 60 to 240 flashes per minute and has a luminous intensity of at least 4 candela;
The majority of LED lights available are not approved for UK use since they have steady modes that do not conform to BS 6102/3. It is, however, legal to fit additional lights providing that they are of the correct colour, they do not dazzle other road users and that if they flash, they do so at a constant rate of between 60 and 240 flashes per minute.
National cyclists' organisations such as LAB (US) or CTC (UK) are a source of lighting information.
The use of lights for night riding is generally recommended or required by authorities as a basic safety precaution, even in a well-lit urban context. Studies show a correlation between collisions and failure to use lights even during daytime.
It is generally believed that reflectors alone are inadequate for night riding (almost all cycling organisations unconditionally advocate using a headlight at night), but the Consumer Product Safety Commission and other regulatory agencies have declined to mandate the inclusion of active headlamps with new bicycles, citing increased costs compared to benefits and the fact that most bicycles are not ridden at night.
It has been estimated that 75% of bicycles used in the United States at night do not meet the legal requirements for lighting. This may be because the majority of unlit cyclists are riding in urban areas with many streetlights, and bicycles are not required to be sold with a headlight. In countries where bicycles are used widely for commuting and short trips, such as the Netherlands and Scandinavia, bicycle head- and tail lighting regulation is heavily enforced by the authorities.
Debates between no lighting, and ultra-bright lighting exist as to whether which one is less safe to the cyclist or the oncoming vehicle. There is also no explicit agreement on a unanimous voltage system, as there isn't much of a market for vehicular electronics to be used on bicycle bodies which generally run on 12 volts, and draw somewhere between 3 to 100 watts, and that bicyclists miss out on knowing the versatility of 12 volts for applications outside of lighting.
Cyclists who only occasionally ride at night may opt for an inexpensive LED front light and rear LED flasher. Red or yellow LEDs suitable for use as rear lights have been available for many years. Recently, white LEDs which satisfy the requirements for a front light have come on the market, and some jurisdictions have made or are considering making these legally acceptable. Very high-power LEDs are sensitive to overheating and over-driving, if the enclosure or driving electronics are poorly designed. Both of these conditions significantly shorten the LED's lifespan, causing them to dim or completely burn out, and LEDs are expensive to replace. Most LEDs have a higher luminous efficacy than halogen lights, but poorly designed driving electronics can negate the advantage. Electronics are needed for battery-powered LEDs to keep light high while battery voltage declines, and to provide flashing and dimming.
Low-power LEDs are sufficient for riding on well-lit streets, but do not generally project a very bright beam as it is difficult to collimate the output from multiple LEDs into a single usable beam. This can be overcome by using a few very high-power LEDs - each with their own optics. It is now possible to buy LED equivalents for halogen rechargeable systems (including drop-in replacement bulbs), and LED lights for dynamos. On a dynamo, LEDs produce more light than halogen lights at very low speeds (down to 3 km/h according to one manufacturer).
High-power LED systems often include an option to dim the LEDs. This done not by reducing the current but by flashing the LED, reducing the time current flows. By contrast, halving the brightness of a halogen bulb only slightly increases battery life.
Efficiency is set to increase, as LED technology continues to follow a Moore's Law pattern of exponential efficiency and cost improvements. As very high power LED lights become available and start to replace halogen designs, they may replace incandescent lamps whatever the power source, and are now surpassing Xenon HID lights. A 3-watt LED offers similar light output to a basic 10-watt halogen bulb. Cree is the major manufacturer of bright efficient LEDs. See http://flashlightwiki.com/Cree for current details.
- High luminous efficacy leading to long battery life for a given brightness
- Lifetime around 50000 hours of operation if current and temperature is managed
- Can be dimmed via current chopping
- Instantaneous turn on/off and blinking
- Limited light output per single LED - overcome by multi LED lights
- High power LEDs require a constant current source making them more expensive to manufacture but as a result do not dim through use
Low power LED lights are mainly for "being seen", or as an emergency backup, and are the dominant choice for rear lights.
- Home made LED lights
As with high-power halogen systems, high-power LED systems have attracted self-build enthusiasts, as top-end commercial products tend to be expensive due to low production volumes. Home brewers can incorporate state of the art technology months or years before it reaches the marketplace in retail products.
Low-cost battery lights
Low-cost battery lights can be a good choice for occasional use, and usually meet legislative requirements. But the saving can often be negated by poor battery life. These lights are low-power but compensate this to some extent with good optics. Some newer models have LEDs instead of halogen lamps.
Advantages of low-cost battery lights
- Low cost
- Readily available (both lights and batteries)
- Cost of batteries, unless they are rechargeable. This stops it being "low-cost" due to the amount of batteries used over time.
- Generally low power
There are some high-power flashlights with rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. Although not specifically designed for bicycle use, these are a viable alternative to rechargeable halogen lights, though they are still expensive. They can be fastened to the bicycle handlebars with various mounting devices such as a "lock-block". Although the optics of these flashlights are generally high quality they are still rotationally symmetrical (unlike motor vehicle lights).
Advantages of rechargeable flashlights
- Versatile - can also be used as a flashlight off the bike
- Portable, so theft resistant
- Limited burn time
- Heavy (rechargeable systems generally separate the weight of the battery from the lamp); weight may be an issue for off-road riders due to vibration
- Optics not optimised for road use
- Sometimes difficult to mount on the bike, which also leads to a safety issue—if a light falls off its mount, it may fall into and block the front wheel and cause it to immediately stop, typically causing the bike to flip.
Although these lights were primarily designed for off-road use, where they are almost universal, many commuters and transportational cyclists now choose to use high-power halogen front lights which operate from a NiMH, lead-acid, or Li-ion rechargeable battery pack.
The lights used by most halogen rechargeable systems are cheap, bright but fairly simple: they project a cone of light (wide and narrow beam options are available) which is good for off-road use but not ideal for road use as it can dazzle oncoming road users. This is why rechargeable halogen lights do not meet legal requirements in some jurisdictions.
Many systems use standard commercial prefocused optics, making a wide range of power and beam width combinations available. Most systems allow simultaneous connection of different lamps - for example, a wide and a narrow beam for off-road riding, or a high- and a low-power beam for road riding.
Advantages of rechargeable halogen systems
- High power output
- Readily available
- Reasonable battery capacity
- Very reliable
- Can usually be easily removed from the bicycle or to prevent theft
- Lamps are cheap and widely available.
- More suitable as an option for seeing ahead, instead of just "being seen".
- Limited run-time between battery recharges
- Hassle of being certain to keep batteries charged
- Batteries have limited life, typically 500-1000 recharge cycles
- Power cycling reduces lamp life
High-intensity discharge (HID) lights are the brightest lights currently available for bikes. They are very efficient, very bright, but expensive. They also tend to have high power consumption (although they use less power than halogens for higher output), so a relatively limited burn time. Otherwise they have the same advantages and disadvantages as rechargeable halogen systems, and like halogen systems they are designed primarily for off-road use, having rotationally symmetrical beams which cast as much light up as down. An additional disadvantage compared with halogen or LED lights is that the HID lamp does not tolerate repeated strikes, and in many cases does not relight immediately after shutting down. Likewise, should the battery level fall too low, the lamp will shut down rather than dimming. But the longer battery life than halogens tends to negate these problems, as many riders simply switch the light on and leave it running throughout the ride.
Advantages of rechargeable HID systems
- Very high power output
- High luminous efficacy
- Lamp requires warm up before reaching full output
- Inefficient on medium power settings
- Unable to run on very low power due to being unable to maintain the arc that generates the light
If using a HID lighting system on the road, lights should be adjusted to avoid dazzling oncoming traffic.
The only real advantage to these is that they are often omnidirectional, a quality useful in running lights which must be visible through a very wide arc. Newer LED lights have this feature, removing even this final advantage. Energizer once made a 2.4W halogen rear lamp, which was essentially a headlamp with a red lens, but most rear lights only need to be around 0.5W.
Most LED lights will work in either flashing or steady modes. Some LED lights have multiple banks of LEDs allowing both flashing and steady light at once. This can also be achieved by having one flashing light and one steady one.
In many countries, LED flashers are the norm for rear lights. In others such as Germany flashing lights are forbidden by law. In the UK flashing LEDs (front and rear) are legal from October 2005, provided that the lights conform to the requirements of the current Road Vehicles Lighting regulations. Many vendors claim EU compliance, however this provides no consistent safety or legal value across the Union.
The most common power source for rear LEDs is a set of alkaline cells and rechargeable cells. In both cases the battery tends to fail quickly when it goes; it is widely considered good practice to have two rear lights in case a battery fails en route.
Advantages of LED rear lights
- Compared with incandescent lamps, near-infinite service life
- High luminous efficacy
- Usually a choice of flashing or steady
An innovation in bicycle lighting, though common in industrial applications, xenon strobes are brighter than LEDs and are used by some as rear lights.
Advantages of xenon strobes
- Very bright
- Relatively expensive
- High power consumption (short battery life)
- Lamps require fairly frequent replacement
- Intense light can be a serious irritation to other road users
- Brief flash followed by darkness, can interfere with night vision and make judgement of cyclist's position difficult.
The introduction of the Low self-discharge NiMH battery (LSD-NiMH) in 2005 made rechargeable AA and AAA sized batteries more viable for powering LED bicycle lights. Previously, the self-discharge effect of NiCAD and NiMH batteries caused the battery to run down over a period of weeks or a few months, even when not in use. This was particularly a problem for low powered LED lights, and for users who only used their bicycle lights occasionally. The LSD-NiMH battery greatly reduced the self-discharge effect, allowing the battery to keep its charge for a year or more.
For higher-powered lights, an external battery pack of 12V VRLA battery is often required. These battery packs usually strap to one of the horizontal bars on the bike, or come in the shape of a water bottle to mount in the bike's water bottle holder, or can be placed in a basket. A cable connects the battery pack to the light. Another advantage with battery power (especially with 12 volt) is the ability to power other components outside of lighting, as well as all from one battery (as long as they run safe on 12 volts) though wire spaghetti from splicing can be a setback depending on how complicated the electric system is.
Alternatively, Li-ion and LiPo batteries have been becoming more popular with bicyclists due to their higher capacity and lighter weight compared with conventional batteries. More specifically, the 18650 battery, which has been popular with electric car manufacturers (for the same reasons) and are commonly found in laptops and flashlights.
Dynamo systems require no batteries to recharge or replace, and may be permanently fitted to the bike. Bicycle dynamos produce alternating current, so are more correctly called "alternators" or "generators", but the word "dynamo" is also popular.
There are three main types: hub dynamos are built into the front or rear wheel hub, and are generally the most efficient; bottle dynamos attach to the seatstay or fork and are rotated by a small wheel in contact with the tire sidewall, they are generally easiest to obtain and cheapest while European-designed tyres generally feature a raised "track" to run the generator's wheel; bottom bracket dynamos bolt between the chainstays behind the bottom bracket and are powered by a roller against the tyre, these are easy to fit and do not wear the tire sidewall. A fourth type is a spoke-mounted electromagnetic system.
Output and optics
Dynamos are generally limited to 0.5 A output, nominally 3 W at 6 V, although 12 V dynamos are available and the best nominal 6 V hub dynamos can produce 6 W at speed, as detailed here  (a bottle dynamo is likely to slip if run at twice the nominal power, a hub dynamo does not have this problem). A dynamo behaves as a constant-current device, not constant voltage, so additional lamps added in series will draw the same current. However, this is only approximate, and the voltage can exceed the capacity of a single lamp at speed, causing failure. Historically this was a nuisance, but modern lamps and dynamos often incorporate Zener diodes to prevent it, and dynamos can be designed to "saturate" beyond a certain voltage to protect the lamp (saturation is a feature of all permanent magnet generators). Good dynamos can achieve efficiencies of up to 70% (i.e., under 5 W of the rider's output is diverted to produce 3 W of electricity) and provide full output at surprisingly low speeds, often 4 to 6 mph (6 to 10 km/h) is sufficient for full brightness.
To compensate for their limited output, dynamo headlights have good optics which focus the limited amount of light in a narrow beam that lights up the road directly in front of the bicycle; this can be seen in Andreas Oehler's side-by side comparison of beam patterns.
To produce light when the bike is stationary, some dynamo lights have a stand light facility, usually a single blue-white LED powered by a capacitor, which runs for around five minutes. It is now common to use all the dynamo's output to power the front light; the alternative is a 2.4 W headlight and a 0.6 W tail light. Most good dynamo rear lights now use LEDs instead of incandescent lamps. Increasingly, dynamo headlights use LED light sources for the main beam as well as the standlight; some manufacturers include Busch & Müller (de), Supernova (both German) and Solidlights (British). These systems are slightly more complex, as the dynamo output must be electronically rectified, and preferably smoothed, before it can be used to drive an LED - as per any direct-current device adapted for use with an AC supply. In contrast, a conventional filament lamp (tungsten or halogen) will run happily on the "raw" full-wave AC from the dynamo, and a minimal system can be constructed from a dynamo, a length of 2-core wire, the bulb itself, and a(n optional) contact switch.
Pros and cons
Hub dynamos are generally considered the best but require a wheel to be rebuilt if retrofitted (the existing rim can usually be reused). Some bikes are available with hub dynamo lighting systems as a factory option; this can be very cost-effective.
Some riders consider the output of dynamo lighting insufficient. Others report that it is adequate to see on dark roads at speeds up to about 20 mph (32 km/h), (single 3 W) or more if a 12 V system is used. LED headlights typically give 2-3 times the light output of a halogen lamp for the same power, due to their greater efficiency.
Advantages of dynamo lighting
- Unlimited burn time
- Always available while bicycle in motion. Some systems include a battery or capacitor to power the lamp while bicycle is stopped.
- Reliable (see below for known issues with bottle dynamos)
- Environmentally friendly and inexpensive to run
- The lights are typically mounted permanently and not intended to be removed by the user, therefore the lights don't have to be removed by the user when parking the bicycle
- Bottle dynamos may be noisy, can slip when wet, and may wear the sidewall of the tire
- Cut out at very low speeds (below walking pace); in particular no lighting available when stopped. Modern dynamos or lamps often add capacitors to keep the lights going for a short while when the bike slows or stops, or in-line rechargeable batteries for long-time use of unused real-time energy, as well as provide power for busts in wattage exceeding the dynamo's real-time watt rating.
- Maximum power output obtainable is lower than with batteries
- Difficult to remove by the owner to thwart theft or vandalism, or to use them on more than one bicycle
- Retrofitting a bicycle is more difficult because mounting is more difficult (due to lamp and power source being separate)
- Cheap or poorly aligned dynamos produce noticeable drag
- Old dynamos and lamps did not limit their output voltage, leading to early failure of the incandescent light bulbs in the lamps. Modern lamps and dynamos contain voltage limiters to solve this problem.
- Not suitable for high-power applications outside of lighting, unless designed to recharge an on-board battery.
Lights can be powered through electromagnetic induction. A Danish producer is well known for this and many Danish bikes feature it. The lights are mounted on the bike wheels, eliminating the need for batteries. The advantages are pretty much the same as with dynamo lighting while incurring less resistance to the rider than traditional dynamos and eliminating the noise and wear of the tire.
Supplementary lighting and conspicuity
Headtorches are a useful adjunct to bicycle lights. They can be pointed without steering the bike, giving useful "fill-in" lighting especially on poor or very dark roads. They also allow the wearer to read road and directional signs placed on high signposts.
Some rechargeable systems offer a head torch option powered from the main battery pack.
Automatic turn signals worn on hand
In recent times, automatic turn indicators became available. They react to a change of orientation (an angle) in relation to Earth gravity; they blink only when a cyclist's hand is outstretched to indicate a turn. One such product is incorporated into a cycling glove.
Manually operated turn signals
Also in recent times, there have been manually operated signals that are available, usually having an LED tail light incorporated into the fixture, which contains the two signals found on the left and right respectively. An example can be found here.
Reflective and high-visibility materials
Retro-reflective materials, in the form of fixed reflectors, reflective tape, and reflective clothing, are useful in making a cyclist visible to other road users. Reflective materials can be applied to bike, rider, or luggage; also, tyres are available with reflective sidewalls. Reflectives are visible only when in the beam of a headlight, and even then only within a narrow locus. Importantly, they do nothing to light up the road. Reflectors are not a substitute for lights, but are an important supplement to portable lighting.
On the bike
Reflectors and reflective tape provide additional visibility (especially when applied to moving parts of the bicycle) and are mandatory in many jurisdictions. Pedal reflectors in particular are very visible to following traffic as they move up and down; unfortunately they are not compatible with most clipless pedal systems, although adaptors are available for some, mainly older SPD models, and a few single-sided designs are available with built-in reflectors. In the UK, where front and rear pedal reflectors are compulsory after dark, most cyclists with clipless pedals are therefore riding illegally. The law is rarely if ever enforced, but could potentially be used in court to reduce financial compensation if the cyclist were to be hit by another vehicle. The CTC have suggested that the requirement should be waived if the cyclist fits an additional rear reflector or lighting, but this was not changed in the last revision of the UK vehicle lighting laws (which permitted flashing LEDs). Riders of recumbent bicycles have pointed out that the pedal reflector requirement is nonsensical for them, since the reflectors point straight up and down in use, and are invisible from other vehicles. As of 2008, California law allows white or yellow shoe reflectors (front and back), or reflective ankle bands, in lieu of pedal reflectors.
On dark roads, retroreflective materials such as 3M's Scotchlite will show up boldly in car headlights. Evidence shows that bright material on the sleeves can prompt drivers to give more passing distance. however, retroreflective materials can discourage some oncoming motorists from dipping their headlights, as the rider become less visible if they do.
The colour of lighting should be checked in the rider's surroundings. A single solid colour can disappear under artificial light, particularly yellow sodium vapour lighting, and colour blindness is common; red/green colourblindness can make yellow fluorescent vanish against a green background (hedges or grass), although people with red/green colourblindness dispute this. Vests with both yellow and orange fluorescent areas plus wide strips of reflective may be the best solution.
Measures of light output
Three units are used to measure light output. Manufacturers do not always quote the most appropriate figure—for example, watts are commonly quoted, but wattage alone is a poor measure since (a) it reports the consumption of power rather than the output of light, and (b) lamp optics will significantly impact the portion of the light which is delivered where it is needed, for example concentrated in a spot beam or dispersed as in running lights. Candelas, measuring the intensity of a beam, are more appropriate when the aim is to illuminate brightly a small spot, while lumens, measuring the entire production of light, are more relevant to the purposes of broad beams or non-directional running lights.
The watt (W) is the unit of power, and is usually quoted for the electrical power input, not the light power output. Electrical power is the product of voltage and current (watts = volts × amperes). Input power is only useful when comparing lights of similar technologies. A 3 W halogen dynamo headlight will light the road up about the same as a rechargeable light of around 7–10 W, but the rechargeable usually outputs much more light to the sides, which is useful on trails (although wide and narrow beam versions are available). A 3 W LED is somewhat brighter than a halogen lamp but generally less well focused. HID lights put out large amounts of light and are often quoted in terms like "80 W halogen equivalent".
The candela (cd) is the SI unit of luminous intensity, that is power per unit solid angle, weighted according to the sensitivity of the human eye to various colours of light. A typical candle produces light with about 1 candela of luminous intensity. A lamp can produce higher luminous intensity either by producing more light, or by focusing it tighter. The luminous intensity of a light depends on many factors, including the colour of the light and the eye's sensitivity to that colour, the optics involved, reflector and lens. Despite its complexity, it is a more useful measure than watts, because it defines how much usable light is shed in a given place: a dynamo headlight designed for road use and focused for seeing the road makes more efficient use of the power of the lamp than lights using rotationally symmetrical optics.
The lumen (lm) is the SI unit for luminous flux, the total amount of light emitted by a source, weighted according to the sensitivity of the human eye to various colours of light. Lumens per watt is a common measure of the efficacy of a light source. The luminous flux is of less value for bicycle lighting due to the importance of directionality. Luminous intensity is much more useful[according to whom?], but lumens per watt is a handy way to compare the output of otherwise similar lights.
||This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2007)|
- Peter W. Card (2007). Early Cycle Lighting 1868-1948: Identification and Value Guide. Crowood. ISBN 978-1-86126-964-5.
- §67 StVZO
- StVZO §67: Lichtechnische Einrichtungen an Fahrrädern
- The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989
- Department for Transport (2007). The Highway Code: Rules for Cyclists
- Chris Juden, CTC (February 2011). Lighting Regulations
- Nighttime Safety Equipment Requirements of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
- Kørelys forbedrer cyklisternes sikkerhed markant Daytime running lights improve cyclists' safety markedly (Google translate)
- Bicycle Nighttime Safety Equipment Requirements of the CPSC - March 1996 meeting
- About Bicycle Reflectors
- Dansk Cykelist Forbund (Danish Cycelist Union (in danish)
- Statutory Instrument 2005 No. 2559 - The Road Vehicles Lighting (Amendment) Regulations 2005
- marten gerritsen. "12V dynamo theory". M-gineering.nl. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- USDOE Solid State Lighting FAQ
- "LUMOTEC oval". Busch + Müller. Retrieved 10 October 2011. "Fahrrad-Halogenscheinwerfer [...] bidirectionale Z-Diode als Überspannungsschutz"
- "Fully Automatic Portable Turn Indicator". PPOL News. Archived from the original on 15 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Jack O'Neal. "YouTurn - Turn signal, Meet hand". KickStarter. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- "LED Bicycle Saftey Light". Global-merchants.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13.
- CPSC, 1996 Bicycle Reflector Project report, http://www.cpsc.gov/volstd/bike/BikeReport.pdf
- Bike Current FAQ page
- Home Made HID Bicycle Light
- DIY daylight visible LED bike light
- DIY high power LED headlamp
- Bicycle Light Projects
- 3W Luxeon LED Bike Light
- Collection of DIY bike light resources
- The "Alieneye": Plans and instructions for a 5W LED homebuilt light
- "Red Giant" Home built LED tail light
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Bicycle lighting|