Biking is much more than just a means of transportation. For many people, it is a passion, a great way to pass leisure time, or a very effective method to keep them in shape. However, like any other outdoor activity, it comes with its own challenges and even risks that, if left uncontrolled, may put you and those around you in great danger.
Being safe while riding goes head to head with having a good time, and one of the key factors that impact your safety when hitting the road is your bike lights.
Why Are Bike Lights Important?
We usually start thinking about the need for bike lights in the summer to enjoy long night rides or in the winter to extend our riding ability during the short daylight hours.
However, having lights on your bicycle has more benefits than you may think. To begin with, it is for your safety. It is crucial to have lights on your bicycle to prevent accidents since many traffic accidents involving a bike happen due to the lack of bike lighting.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have bike safety lights, you may not only not be able to see others and inadvertently hit them, but you may be the one who is not seen and therefore may be hit on the road. Moreover, in many states, bike lights are becoming a legal requirement for riding gear to help prevent accidents caused by the lack of light.
Are Bike Wheel Lights Legal?
Most states require bikers to have a bright white headlight on their bikes when riding in the dark, with the beam extending at least 500 feet ahead.
As for taillights, they’re permitted and even encouraged, but they are not required by law in most states. If you have a taillight in your bike, in most states, it has to be red.
Regarding blue lights, they are legal in most states, and if there’s a law that prohibits blue lights on motor vehicles, it permits them on non-motor vehicles. And states that prohibit flashing blue lights on a non-motor vehicle may allow blue bike lights if they aren’t flashing.
Therefore, bicycle wheel lights are legal, but they are not required by law for riding at night. Wheel lights simply increase visibility, which is always a good thing on a bike.
Why Use Bike Wheel Lights
Apart from increasing your overall visibility to all the other pedestrians and drivers at nighttime, bike wheel lights add a great visual decoration on your bike, and most of them are pretty affordable.
Cycling without any illumination on your bike may be very risky, whether early in the morning or late at night. You won’t be fully visible to oncoming vehicles, which could lead to disastrous accidents and crashes. In addition to the standard headlight and taillight, bike wheel lights can be a great inclusion to your bike: they improve your overall visibility and safety while riding at night, especially when viewed from the side. The bright wheels isolate the bike from the visual noise of the city lights and help drivers see and immediately recognize a biker.
Another reason why bike wheel lights are a great addition to your bike is distance visibility. The best bike wheel lights will improve your visibility throughout the night, helping you to see further. When you have increased visibility, you have more time to react to road hazards. A biker moving at 25 mph will need 79 feet to stop in front of a barrier in the road. Therefore, it is important to see as far ahead as possible!
In addition, bike wheel lights allow you to see reflective items on the road, including traffic signs, road lines, and even animal eyes. Seeing reflections while riding could save you from getting into a traffic accident.
How Do Bike Wheel Lights Work?
Wheel lights are designed to improve the visibility of a bike, especially from the side. Because of the persistence of vision, individual lights mounted on the moving bike’s wheel spokes are perceived as glowing arcs or circles. They are lights controlled with MCU (microcontroller) that are capable of rendering colorful patterns or animations.
For battery-free bike wheel lights, each light has an LED (Light-emitting diode) and a capacitor that passes through a set of neodymium magnets installed beside the wheel. That capacitor maintains a charge through magnetic induction as long as the wheel rotates. The LED will remain on for a couple of minutes even if the bike is stopped.
Bike wheel lights are water-resistant, lightweight, and will work at low temperatures of -15 ºF (-26 ºC). Such lights are mainly battery-powered, but battery-free designs also exist.
How to Install Bike Wheel Lights
The attaching technique differs depending on the type of wheel light. Some are clipped over one or two spokes, while others are weaved between the spokes throughout the wheel’s circumference, but they all have one thing in common: they’re simple to install and don’t require any tools.
When bike wheel lights feature batteries, the battery packs are either built into the lights or attached separately. You should install the battery packs as close to the hub and the center of the wheel as possible. This will help to lower the wheel’s rotational mass and make it less unstable when turning.
This simple guide will show you how to install bike wheel lights with batteries.
- Start by unscrewing the top of the battery holder and inserting the suitable batteries the right way in the battery insert. After putting the batteries on, make sure to screw on the lid firmly to keep water out. Using the supplied rubber gaskets, attach the battery holder to the hub.
- Then, put the LED wire to the tire’s valve and wrap it around one of the spokes as you go. Loop the strap around the spoke at the top a couple of times.
- From there, keep going around the wheel, winding through the spokes as you go. Depending on the length and the wheel circumference, you may have some excess wire left. If possible, you can continue going around the wheel or cut off any excess.
- Finally, tie the ends securely and make sure to run a test before hitting the road.
Having the proper bike lighting is vital when you hit the road. A required bright white headlight and a red taillight will make all the difference for your safety while biking. Apart from these two bike lighting key elements, bike wheel lights would be an excellent addition to your bike. They are aesthetically pleasing, provide more visibility, and contribute to your overall safety while riding a bike.