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Bontrager announces new rear light - specifically designed for daytime use

Visible from 2km away, could this prevent rear-ending and some daytime collisions?

Bontrager has released a new light, engineered from scratch to provide groundbreaking daylight visibility to counteract the 80 per cent of cycle collisions that occur during daylight hours.

The Flare R is visible from up to two kilometers away in the daytime. The USB-rechargeable, 36g Flare R is a powerful 65 Lumen CREE LED, which is brighter than a car's tail light.

In the EU, daytime running lights have been compulsory on new cars since 2011. Bike lights are only required in the UK after dark.

The company claims that Bontrager's electronics development team studied flash patterns designed to catch the eye of drivers in passing vehicles, optimizing Flare R for maximum visibility in both flash pattern and intensity.

Bontrager, based in Wisconsin where the days are often long and grey. said in a statement:

“Studies on accidents resulting in the fatality of a cyclist show that in 40% of all bicycle vs. car accidents, the victim was struck from behind.

“Bontrager engineers began developing Flare R to combat these staggering statistics, with the ultimate goal of increasing confidence and safety with a lightweight, sleek, compact product that is relevant to every type of cyclist, from recreational to racer.”

Bontrager's Brand Manager & Marketing Director Michael Browne said: "We're cyclists and we share the same concerns and experiences as all riders.

"We're in a unique position to create something that can benefit all cyclists, and that's why we've spent such considerable R&D resources on Flare R. This is a light that should be on every bike, every ride. A helmet is a great thing, but not getting hit by a car is even better."

The Flare R alerts the rider to its battery status. When Flare R reaches a 25% battery life, the LED on the top of the light's on/off switch changes from green to red, allowing the rider to dial down the intensity if needed.

When the battery is run to 5% of its charge, Flare R automatically puts itself into low battery protection auto flash mode by kicking the Lumens down a few notches, providing the cyclist an additional 1-2 hours of run time.

A full charge takes 2.5 hours to complete.

Flare R  flashes in four distinct patterns, two for daylight-riding and two designed for nighttime usage.

Day Flash mode will utilize all 65 Lumens in a strategically placed random flash pattern designed to draw a motorist’s eyes. Fully charged run time is 5.75 hours.

Day Steady mode uses 25 Lumens of steady illumination and is great for group rides. Fully charged run time is 4.25 hours.

Night Flash mode uses an irregular flash pattern punctuated by short pops of increased intensity. Fully charged run time is 23 hours.

Night Steady mode provides 5 Lumens of steady light great for consistent nighttime visibility. Fully charged run time is 21 hours.

The light has a US MSRP of $59.99 (£40) and is available to buy here. We look forward to testing one.

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46 comments

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Anthony.C | 8 years ago
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Well I have one of these for mostly semi-rural roads in the daytime and it's a great light, you can see it from a huge distance and I have noticed cars mostly giving me a wider berth and hesitating behind me rather than just forcing their way past and I seem to be getting less close passes. A cheap smart light just isn't bright enough for the daytime. It also has a really good adjustable mount and a great saddlebag clip rather than the usual crappy ones that bounce off. Any brighter than this would be too bright, I think. My only complaint is that I can't see how the light can possibly be removed from the clip bracket if I ever want to attach it to the seatpost.

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andyp | 8 years ago
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'f Bontrager were in the business of driver education, then I'm sure they'd be pouring money into whatever R&D would be needed to produce courses that would teach drivers to pay attention... But they're not, they're in the business of making cycling accessories, so they're pouring money into an element of the problem that they can assist with.'

They're pouring money into something which will make them more money, not into solving a problem.

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vonhelmet | 8 years ago
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If Bontrager were in the business of driver education, then I'm sure they'd be pouring money into whatever R&D would be needed to produce courses that would teach drivers to pay attention... But they're not, they're in the business of making cycling accessories, so they're pouring money into an element of the problem that they can assist with. How big that element is doesn't really matter, as the other elements of the problem are not really within their remit.

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Kadinkski | 8 years ago
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Yeah, fuck Bontrager! How dare they try to design a solution to a danger that is much smaller than another danger.

They remind me of those asshole medical professionals that are trying to cure HIV. Don't they know that its an infinitely smaller danger than the very real cardiovascular dangers that cause the vast majority of deaths. Grrrrrr. Me so mad. Grrr. etc.

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HalfWheeler replied to Kadinkski | 8 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:

Yeah, fuck Bontrager! How dare they try to design a solution to a danger that is much smaller than another danger.

They remind me of those asshole medical professionals that are trying to cure HIV. Don't they know that its an infinitely smaller danger than the very real cardiovascular dangers that cause the vast majority of deaths. Grrrrrr. Me so mad. Grrr. etc.

I'm glad you've seen sense now.

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Kadinkski replied to HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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HalfWheeler wrote:
Kadinkski wrote:

Yeah, fuck Bontrager! How dare they try to design a solution to a danger that is much smaller than another danger.

They remind me of those asshole medical professionals that are trying to cure HIV. Don't they know that its an infinitely smaller danger than the very real cardiovascular dangers that cause the vast majority of deaths. Grrrrrr. Me so mad. Grrr. etc.

I'm glad you've seen sense now.

 1

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FluffyKittenofT... replied to Kadinkski | 8 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:

Yeah, fuck Bontrager! How dare they try to design a solution to a danger that is much smaller than another danger.

They remind me of those asshole medical professionals that are trying to cure HIV. Don't they know that its an infinitely smaller danger than the very real cardiovascular dangers that cause the vast majority of deaths. Grrrrrr. Me so mad. Grrr. etc.

But that's a poor analogy. Its more like trying to solve cardiovascular disease by producing lower-fat crisps, say. I'm not saying its worth getting angry about it, but I just don't see that its likely to have much effect on the problem it claims to be addressing.

Plus it will just be used as yet another pretext for victim-blaming, another excuse for running into people who don't have one.

And even if everyone uses them, it will then be claimed that there are so many of them that any one such light doesn't stand out so it's _still_ acceptable for drivers not to see them (which is what seems to have happened with lights at night).

Edit - dammit, now I want crisps.

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Recumbenteer | 8 years ago
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First of all unless this light has a replaceable battery (there is no mention of one in the specification - I checked), this light and like all USB rechargeable lights, has a predetermined maximum-life, I believe this is likely around two to three years. Lithium-ion technology batteries are no exception because they age (largely irrespective of how they're used), after which the light's operating time per charge will decline appreciably. Then it's time to buy a new light. Even though the rest of the light should be working perfectly.
Secondly, 65 Lumens is not remotely bright-enough for daytime use. I believe it will be barely noticeable on a sunny day. Without knowing the beam geometry, it's impossible to know whether it would be illegal at night, except if it dazzles - which is always illegal.
It will likely be useful in fog.
At sunset and sunrise - cannot tell.
It's likely better than nothing. But beware. If you care for the environment - do not buy.

I run a light that is over twelve times as bright as this (over 800 Lumens on maximum) and it's still not bright-enough on a sunny day, but it has a separate battery pack and it was a lot more expensive than this light.

I have no affiliation with any bicycle light manufacturers or suppliers or the bicycle industry apart from as a user of their products.

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I love my bike | 8 years ago
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This lot couldn't even keep on the road: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs0iwz3NEC0

Would anything protect cyclists from their driving?

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nowasps | 8 years ago
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New Product! I'm as disgusted as the lot above.

Who do these manufacturers think they are?

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JonD | 8 years ago
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I rather doubt it'll do much about the 'sun's too low' rear enders, unless it's also capable of cleaning the rear of drivers' windscreens as they approach..

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Running on empty | 8 years ago
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I have two red frog lights on the back of my bike, they fit on any of my bikes and can be switched from bike to bike in seconds. I've had them two years and I use them in flashing mode pretty much daily and haven't had to change the batteries yet. Total cost from Chinese eBay site, £5.
Having been knocked off by someone turning right across my path whilst in a day glow jacket white flashing and constant lights on the front of my bike it is my opinion that it makes no difference, if the driver doesn't look then they'll never see you!!
Imo too many people cyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike go rushing around completely oblivious to their surroundings. It's endemic of today's society.

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Running on empty | 8 years ago
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I have two red frog lights on the back of my bike, they fit on any of my bikes and can be switched from bike to bike in seconds. I've had them two years and I use them in flashing mode pretty much daily and haven't had to change the batteries yet. Total cost from Chinese eBay site, £5.
Having been knocked off by someone turning right across my path whilst in a day glow jacket white flashing and constant lights on the front of my bike it is my opinion that it makes no difference, if the driver doesn't look then they'll never see you!!
Imo too many people cyclists, drivers and pedestrians alike go rushing around completely oblivious to their surroundings. It's endemic of today's society.

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Critchio | 8 years ago
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Here's my daytime light;
http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B005GPLYHW/ref=pd_aw_sbs_sg_1?refRID=0DY...

Cost me 10 quid, the price seems to have gone up a little. Batteries last ages and if you look directly at it in daylight it will still burn out your retinas. I think you're paying 30 quid for the Bontrager name.

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harrybav replied to Critchio | 8 years ago
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Critchio wrote:

Here's my daytime light;

I use the same, a Smart Lunar R1, 1 watt, terrific. But it dims as the battery fades, like all the AA / AAA battery lights I've used. I do quite fancy a usb rechargeable with circuitry enough to maintain the thing's brightness. Not this £40 fellow, though, maybe.

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PonteD replied to harrybav | 8 years ago
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vbvb wrote:
Critchio wrote:

Here's my daytime light;

I use the same, a Smart Lunar R1, 1 watt, terrific. But it dims as the battery fades, like all the AA / AAA battery lights I've used. I do quite fancy a usb rechargeable with circuitry enough to maintain the thing's brightness. Not this £40 fellow, though, maybe.

i use a Smart due to the fact it uses batteries. The bontrager would have been useless for the 11hours riding I did the other day.

do you use NiMh rechargeable or alkaline batteries? I find my lamp stays fairly steady with NiMh but with a really rapid drop when nearly empty.

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musicalmarc | 8 years ago
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you could ride around with a mobile signal jammer. Although it may have the opposite effect and cause the idiot to spend longer on the phone trying to get the thing to work.

http://www.jammer4uk.com/mini-portable-cellphone-jammer-j260apro-p-22.ht...

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Johnny25 | 8 years ago
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The article doesn't say the rear light will eliminate all cycle accidents! It clearly states its purpose is in helping to prevent those 40% of accidents cyclists suffer from being hit from behind. How any rear light would help prevent cars not giving way at roundabouts is beyond me and I'd image most cycle light manufactures. As a cyclist, you're very much responsible for your own safety.

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Brown dog | 8 years ago
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Sounds like a good product
Last weekend a chap pasted me climbing up our local hill climb, you normally notice the bike when someone passes you but on this occasion I noticed he had his back light switched on. He was a lot move visible as he disappeared into the distance so I think I will be getting one of these lights when I can find a local bike shop stopping the product .

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ron611087 | 8 years ago
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Are we solving the wrong problem?

Being seen in the daytime is dependent on the driver in the first instance having her or her eyes on the road, not on a hand-held device, as was the case with Daniel Squire's death.

I think far more casualties will be avoided by finding a way to stop drivers from using a mobile phone behind the wheel.

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kraut replied to ron611087 | 8 years ago
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I think far more casualties will be avoided by finding a way to stop drivers from using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
I'm sure you could get a device that blocks mobile phone signals...but it'd probably be mains powered and highly illegal.

What we need is more bloody enforcement. More than the zero enforcement we have at the moment,

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CanAmSteve | 8 years ago
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I'm in - mostly would use for rural daytime riding on lanes where you are often in/out of deep shade. Drivers are usually courteous but sometimes school run maniacs just too preoccupied. No roundabouts, left/right turners I will see/hear coming. So has its applications

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McVittees | 8 years ago
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Whilst it is perfectly reasonable to want to run as bright a rear light as possible either during the day to warn cars or at night when riding on unlit country roads, I hate being stuck behind someone who is running a high output rear light at night during my urban commute. I find it distracting and obscures my vision of the road (and thus traffic) ahead. I've been in situations where up close I can't look straight ahead due to the brightness of a rear light. In this sense, I think powerful rear lights on bicycles can be dangerous (or just very annoying) for other cyclists. From an engineering perspective I'm not sure what the solution is. From a personal PoV I either overtake or drop back, but still blindingly powerful rear lights are imo a pain in ****.

Also, I'm in agreement with the comments about the nature of accidents I see. Usually, there from drivers (or cyclists) not looking or proceeding without appropriate caution. A massively bright light won't help in this cases. I have had near misses and been hit from behind so I'm not saying don't run a rear light.

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belgravedave | 8 years ago
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Pretty sure the main cause of death for cyclists in the US is still from being hit from behind so seems like a good idea if it works.

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StraelGuy | 8 years ago
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I agree with you on that Halfwheeler but I'm still a firm believer in good rear light for daytime riding. I run an 80 lumen See.Sense whenever I go out on the bike. Some drivers are such morons that I feel that everything I do helps.

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kraut replied to StraelGuy | 8 years ago
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I always have rear lights on, even in the daytime. Not so much because I think it'll help, but because it just gives them one less excuse.

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HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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Main dangers for cyclists;

1. Cars overtaking and immediately turning left.

2. Cars turning right across the carriageway in front of oncoming cyclists.

3. Cars not giving way at roundabouts.

4. Cars passing too close to cyclists out of pure spite/impatience/frustration (delete as appropriate).

This light would not be worth a flying fuck in any of these situations.

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Peowpeowpeowlasers replied to HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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HalfWheeler wrote:

This light would not be worth a flying fuck in any of these situations.

No, but as someone who regularly rides down sunny roads bordered by big trees, I consider a good rear light to be essential. A cyclist can be very easily lost in the shade of a hedge when viewed by a motorist squinting across a brightly-lit dashboard.

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Kadinkski replied to HalfWheeler | 8 years ago
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HalfWheeler wrote:

This light would not be worth a flying fuck in any of these situations.

Errrr...obviously not. Its designed for the 40% of accidents where cyclists are hit from behind. How could anyone expect a *rear* light to prevent a car turning in front of you?

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HalfWheeler replied to Kadinkski | 8 years ago
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Kadinkski wrote:
HalfWheeler wrote:

This light would not be worth a flying fuck in any of these situations.

Errrr...obviously not. Its designed for the 40% of accidents where cyclists are hit from behind. How could anyone expect a *rear* light to prevent a car turning in front of you?

I find that statistic incredulous. Could you copy and paste your source? Or are you assuming that all those rear-enders were caused by lack of visibility and not by the driver attempting a punishment pass and getting it wrong?

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