LED lights are more visible and safer for bicyclists and walkers out on the roads at night. That is the conclusion of field reseach recently conducted by bike safety experts.
Tucson is an outdoors town. Especially this time of the year, look around almost anywhere and you will see folks riding their bikes. Some are simply out for a bit of fresh air, some are commuting, and others are training for the upcoming El Tour de Tucson.
As bikes and cars share the road, it is essential that both are aware of each other and respect each other. The damage a car/bike crash inflicts is severe. And it's usually the bicyclist who suffers the most.
Arizona law requires that a bicyclist riding at night must have a white light lamp on the front of his bike that is visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet to the front and a red reflector on the rear that is visible from all distances from fifty feet to three hundred feet to the rear when the reflector is directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A bicycle may have a lamp that emits a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear in addition to the red reflector. This lighting requirement puts bikes in the best position to be seen by drivers at night.
Recently, one of the engineering experts we work with on bike injury cases wrapped up some visibility testing. He was analyzing the effectiveness of various lights and reflectors. His field research conclusion is that LED lights increase recognition distance to 2000 feet -- four times the legal distance requirement. LED lights appear to be more effective than either traditional, non-LED lights and traditional bike reflectors.
With so many bikes and cars sharing the road, an investment in an LED light is well worth it. Perhaps something to put on the Christmas gift list...