Should a Rear Bike Light Flash?

April 03, 2022 5 min read

You will be surprised as to how many people are unaware of the cycling rules and regulations when it comes to rear bike lights. Most of us are unaware whether they are safe, or whether they can have an effect on those with epilepsy. 

So, here we are going to talk about rear bike lights – what are their purpose and which kind of rear bike lights are the best ones to go for?

Let’s Talk Front And Rear Bike Lights

Here’s the thing, the majority of the front and rear bike lights that you can get do have the option to run in a steady mode, or they can run in a flashing mode. You might be unsure as to what these functions are meant to determine – does one function make you more visible when you are on the road, or can one function end up posing a danger to other road users? 

It is true that bike lights are an absolute necessity, they are a legal requirement because of visibility, and they can help you as a cyclist see along unlit roads and also trails when the sun has disappeared. 

Why Should You Use Bike Lights?

There could be a number of reasons as to why you should use bike lights, the main one is for your own safety. First, the front headlight will light up the area that is in front of you and this will allow you to ride along safely. You will also be able to detect any hazards that you might be approaching before it’s too late.

In addition to this, you will find that bike lights make you very visible to other people who are on the roads or bike trails. This will help you to avoid collisions, and it can even be said that cyclists who use lights by night are more visible than cyclists in the daytime.  

Are Flashing Bike Lights Against The Law?

It is true that cyclists are required to use both their front and their rear lights when they are on public roads. You should have a white light on the front of your bike, and you should have a red light on the back of your bike. This is so that they work between sunset and sunrise.It is true that these lights are able to be steady or flashing.

If you use the lights on a flashing setting, then you should make sure that the frequency is acceptable. Your light should not flash more than one to four times per second.

It is important to note that different states will have different rules and regulations, so you should check depending on where you live as to what the rules are in your area.

Should The Lights Be On Your Bike Or On Your Body?

This is especially essential to take note of, because it really matters whether your light is on your bike or whether your light is on your body. In fact, there are some state laws which state that lights have to be put on your bike – and in some states it can even be illegal for a cyclist to have their front or rear bike light on their clothing rather than the bike itself. 

Depending on your state’s requirements, then you can make the sensible and informed decision whether you are going to wear a helmet with lights on or whether you should just stick to a front and rear bike light.

Putting Your Rear Bike Light In The Right Position

It is essential that you put your rear bike light in the right position on your bike. This is because the location of your bike light could have a negative impact on its overall functionality and performance. If your bike light is pointing towards the ground, or if it is pointing upwards towards the sky then it will not be effective.

LED lights will be used the most for bike lights, and these kinds of lights have a really intense and focused beam. You do not want to have this beam away from what you are trying to see – and you are not going to want to have this away from the people who you are trying to alert of your visibility.

How can you check this? You should consider having a fellow bike rider to check your lights for you from in front and behind. Having another person’s perspective can be really helpful, and they can confirm whether they are all that visible.

In addition to this, the way that your rear bike light is positioned can cause serious irritation, or it can really impair whoever is behind you. If the rear bike light is angled so that it shines right in their eye line then this is unhelpful and is more of a hindrance. Naturally, this is a problem that worsens if you have your rear light on a flashing setting – the rider or even a driver of a vehicle behind you will not forgive you for this.

The Brightness Of Your Bike Lights

So, another aspect of bike lights that you need to think about is how bright your bike light is. It is true that the way that your light has to light up the road really depends on how fast you ride your bike. You also need to take into account how lit your route is. 

For example, if you are riding quickly on a rural road that does not have any kind of streetlights in the area, then you are going to want a much brighter bike light. However, if you prefer riding in more public areas, there is a strong chance that you will encounter streetlights; your bike light will not be so bright on this occasion. 

It is important to remember that the faster that you ride your bike then the longer the beam that your headlight will need. 

Should You Wear Reflective Clothing?

It is true that reflective clothing can be really helpful for approaching vehicles. This can help drivers clearly see where you are and ultimately your safety is of utmost importance. However, wearing reflective clothing can not be a substitute for having lights on your bike. This is in no means safe or sensible – and this is a huge risk to be taking. Your bike lights will give you extra visibility, you want to make sure that people in front of you and behind you know that you’re coming.

In Conclusion

Overall, it is true that flashing lights can be especially effective as it will help alert others of your presence on the road. However, you really need to check what the rules and regulations are where you live. Different states do have different requirements – some permit flashing bike lights, some do not allow flashing bike lights, and in other states it is a requirement to have flashing lights.

It is true that having a flashing rear bike light will help alert vehicles behind you of your presence, and the driver of the vehicle will be able to overtake you with that extra bit of caution. You will know that you have done all that you can to alert them of your presence.