You need front and rear lights for cycling in the dark, but do
you also need to use lights in the daytime? We look at the argument for
using lights during the daytime and round up a bunch of front and rear lights
to consider if you do want to increase your visibility.
13 of the best daytime running lights for 2021
It may not have escaped your attention that all new cars sold in the UK
legally have to have daytime front lights. So should cyclists also be
looking to boost their visibility when cycling in the daytime with front
and rear lights? In a recent survey of 500 road.cc readers on Twitter, 52%
said they do want daytime lights. It perhaps wasn't the result we were
more: The best front lights for cycling — beam
comparison plus how-to-choose guide
To meet this demand, there are a growing number of bike brands marketing
lights with daytime running modes, but what does this actually mean and
are they any different to lights designed for nighttime cycling?
Exposure Lights has added a new Day Bright mode to its front and rear
lights this winter. And it is more than just a flashing mode says
Exposure’s Mark Swift. “The DayBright pulse pattern is the most noticeable
to ensure it is recognised at distance on rural roads and also enable the
light to cut through the noise of the urban town or city traffic and road
distractions within daylight hours," he says.
“As the pulse pattern is not regular, once seen DayBright stays
highlighted by the brain's receivers and ensures the cyclist is noticed,”
Why would a cyclist want to use lights during the daytime? Surely there’s
no need when it’s light?
“Why not!” says Specialized’s William Watt. “Beyond smart responsible
riding, visibility on the road is quite simply the most important
investment a rider can make in their safety, particularly in a congested
urban environment where every road user has a multitude of distractions.
Daytime lights give the rider that extra layer of visibility on the road,
particularly for that notorious black spot on the near side of traffic.”
It's not always bright and sunny during a typical UK winter day though.
It’s often murky, drab and almost dark. Daytime lights can be used in
these conditions says Exposure's Mark to help make cyclists stand out in
changing light conditions and when “cycling in cities between building or
country road in and out of tree cover where the sun cuts through the gaps
but is then eclipsed by an obstacle the drivers eyes can sometimes not
adjust fast enough. DayBright ensures the cyclist is spotted.”
It’s a stance that is backed up by See.Sense, a company that launched an
intelligent daylight back in 2013 and every light since has had a daytime
focus. “Daylight visibility has been really important to us right from the
start,” the company tells road.cc. “When you consider that 80% of cycling
accidents happen during the day, attracting attention to other road users
as early as possible during these times is really quite crucial. Think
about modern cars, they have their lights running almost any time you see
them on the road. Why shouldn't it be the same, if not even more important
That 80% figure that See.Sense refers to is based on evidence compiled by
ROAP and you can read
more facts and figures about
the number of cyclists injured or killed in accidents here.
The argument for using daytime lights is starting to gather pace, but has
anyone actually carried out a detailed survey to assess the impact of
cyclists running daytime lights? Handily, just such a survey exists. It
was conducted in Denmark in 2004/05 with 3,845 cyclists and concluded that
those cyclists with permanent running lights recorded a 19% lower incident
rate than a control group not using lights.
“The study shows that use of permanent bicycle running lights reduces the
occurrence of multiparty accidents involving cyclists significantly,” the
controlled experiment concluded. You
can read that paper here.
So should we all start using daytime lights then? See.Sense recommends
using flashing lights to help attract attention sooner. “When you have
lights that flash brightly from both front and rear can help alert drivers
sooner than a solid light, reducing risks out on the road,” the company
13 front and rear daytime lights
If you’re interested in daytime lights, here are a selection currently
available in bike shops. There are loads more lights to consider in this buyers
guide and don’t forget the beam
comparison engine if you’re shopping for lights as well.
The Lezyne Strip Drive 400 has been updated with a bright and really
eye-catching day time flash, commendable battery life and faster
charging. As with the old model, it's also fairly light, easy to
operate, has loads of functions and is waterproof too. It's more of a
be-seen rather than seeing light, though.
Read our review of the Lezyne Strip Drive Front
The Magicshine Seemee 30 Combo is a set of 30 lumen LED lights aiming
to get you seen. The slim profile means they easily attach to seat
posts, seat stays, forks or handlebars, and features such as infrared
ambient light sensors are rarely found at this price. They're easy to
use, stuffed with useful features and very visible around town.
Read our review of the Magicshine Seemee 30 Combo
Giant's Recon TL 200 is an excellent rear light, offering lots of
brightness, useful modes and decent run-times.
The Recon TL 200 is a bigger and brighter version of the TL 100. Which
you choose comes down to personal preference, but for the extra tenner the
200 gets our vote for the extra brightness and run-time it offers.
our review of the Giant Recon TL 200
The Exposure Link Daybright is a secondary helmet light that adds
360-degree visibility and is great for being seen in heavy traffic.
Designed and made in the UK, build quality is exceptional, it's very tough
and run-times are reasonable bearing in mind its size and two LEDs.
our review of the Exposure Link Daybright
The Blackburn Dayblazer 1100 front light is the biggest of the Dayblazer
family. It's a beautifully made, five-function, compact torch type,
capable of producing – surprise, surprise – 1100 lumens in its brightest
setting, great for blasting along backroads, but with lower settings,
pulsing and strobing for more built-up areas and for daylight running.
our review of the Blackburn DayBlazer 1100
The See.Sense was arguably the first smart light that used sensors to
alter the brightness and speed of flash to suit different lighting
conditions, as well as being able to detect car headlights. The light was
so well received that it won the
road.cc People’s Choice award in 2015 and they’ve since followed up
with the 300 lumen Icon 2. You
can read the review here.
The TraceR is Exposure’s smallest and most affordable rear light with its
new Day Bright mode. It has a 75-lumen rating with a three to 24 hour run
time, weighs just 35g and has three brightness levels. Side visibility has
been considered in the design of the light as well.
If you want a bright and lightweight front light for commuting then the
Sirius is a good option, with 575 lumens bright enough for most riding
situations and a choice of seven modes, including the new DayBright. It’s
easy to use and mount to the handlebars, with a tactile power button and
battery gauge LED.
Lezyne has been producing lights with daytime visibility in mind for the
past five years, intended to be brighter with unique flash patterns to be
more visible to other road users up to 1 mile away. It offers 15 lights
with a daytime flash mode, here are two contenders.
The Strip Drive 300 rear light, with its 300-lumen output, is one of the
brightest lights on the market right now but there are 11 modes to choose
from to suit all riding conditions. It packs a 100-lumen punch in the
daytime mode, definitely ensuring you’ll boost your visibility.
our review of the Lezyne Strip Drive Pro 300
For front daytime lights, Lezyne offers the Lite Drive 1000XL. The small
unit comprises two LEDs pumping out 1,000 lumens with a high-visibility
daytime flash mode.
Read our review of the Lezyne Lite Drive 1000XL
Not to be left out, Specialized has developed the Flux 900 front light
with two different LEDs with dedicated optics to provide the ideal beam
pattern, and it also offers a daytime flash mode which reduces the lumen
count to 300.
Bontrager was an early proponent of daytime lights and this Flare R City
light is its smallest rear light. Despite its diminutive proportions, the
light packs out 35 lumens from a single LED and offers up to five hours in
the dedicated daytime flash mode.
our review of the Bontrager Flare R City
Bontrager has even had some of the Trek Factory Racer pros using daytime
rear lights during the 2015 Tour de France prologue stage, but that
marketing stunt aside we’ve not seen the lights in use since.
Moon offers two lights with a dedicated daytime flash mode, using a slow
pulse that is designed to boost visibility as well as maximising battery
runtime, with a claimed 23 hours in this mode. It’s small and light and at
120 lumens in the daytime mode plenty bright enough. There’s
also a matching rear light
our review of the Moon Comet-X light
So daytime lights then, will you be investing or is the cynic
in you thinking that the bike industry is just trying to sell more
lights? Let us know in the comments section below.
Explore the complete archives of reviews
of front lights and rear
lights on road.cc
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