Should you use your bike lights all day every day?

Strange question and on the face of it, the obvious answer is a simple "No, it's not necessary".  After all, if I can see where I'm going, then surely other traffic and pedestrians can see me.  Right? Well, not really.

From February 2011, all new cars are required under European legislation to have Daylight Running Lights (DRL) activated automatically every time the car ignition is switched on.

Why?  Studies carried out found that they reduce accidents and casualties during daylight hours.  It's well known that our eyes are usually diverted to the brightest object we can see so the logic behind the legislation makes sense and the legislation extends to new trucks from August 2012.

Audi, a car maker synonymous with avant garde design introduced the use of bright, LED daytime running lights as far back as 2006.  They have a very distinctive pattern and are regarded as an ultra-modern, cool even, solution to the legislation.

So where does this leave bikes?  Already suffering a general size and height disadvantage, doing nothing puts cyclists at even more of a disadvantage when it comes to being seen, when all other road users are having to adopt the use of DRL.

Quite simply, by doing nothing, making no change to the way we treat our own road safety, we are actually increasing our chances of becoming another statistic.  The SMIDSY syndrome (Sorry Mate, I Didn't See You) is not an excuse, it's a genuine statement backed up by scientific evidence which shows our eyes gravitate towards the brightest objects around us, leaving the poorly illuminated ones most at risk.

So what to do?

Well if we do nothing else, we cyclists should also start using our lights during the day.

It's now possible to buy high power, re-chargeable LED bike lights at much lower prices than previously available.  They can be fitted for bikes (and removed) in seconds minimising the risk of theft.  Use them to work and re-charge the battery in the office, factory or whereever your place of work is.

Take care when buying.  If you prefer shopping on-line (it's usually cheaper) choose a site that can offer telephone advice about the light that's right for you.  You may commute during the day but also ride the trails at night.  Take advice about the light that best meets your needs.

Ask about battery choice too.  It's no good having a super duper light if the battery runs out of charge before you reach your destination.  Any decent light supplier will offer a range of batteries to choose from and will recommend something that suits your needs as well as your pocket.

Let us know what you think - is this a worthwhile campaign to pursue?  email us at [email protected]