Why Are Rear Bike Lights Red?

April 05, 2022 5 min read

Rear bike lights are essential to ensure visibility at night. They also provide safety in case of an emergency. But why are rear bike lights red?

The rear light is usually mounted on the back wheel or frame of the bicycle. This makes it visible from behind. In addition, it helps other drivers see you better.

We look at the reasons why rear bike lights are red in closer detail in this article and tell you how important they are to have installed on your bike. 

What Are Rear Bike Lights?

Rear bike lights are small devices that illuminate a cyclist’s rear tire. The idea is to make it easier for others to spot you when riding at night. This can be useful if you want to turn left into another street. It will help other motorists know that you are about to change lanes.

This is especially helpful if you live in a city where many cars are driving around at night. You may not always be able to see them coming up behind you. If you do not signal before changing lanes, then you could end up crashing into them. The rear light can help the driver see your signal.

If you ride during the day, then you should already know what rear bike lights are. However, we still need to explain why they are red.

Why Do Rear Bike Lights Have To Be Red?

Red lights are used to indicate danger. When someone sees a red light, they assume that something bad is going to happen. As such, they slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings. Historically, red means 'stop' and so it has become a warning on the roads over the years, from cars, lorries to small bicycles. It is an especially important color for bicycles as they are much smaller than other vehicles on the road, and therefore need extra visibility to be seen. 

Red is more eye-catching and this is why the color is not only used on bicycle lights, but also on other road vehicle brake lights to signal to motorists you are turning or braking. When there are so many white lights from streetlamps, buildings, and other sources, red is used, so you can stand out.

Rear bike lights are one of the most common types of warning lights. Most cyclists use them because they are also easy to install and can be removed by the owner without penalty if they are already installed on a new bike you buy. However, you always need to be using a form of lighting device when riding at night and most states require them by law during limited-visibility hours.

The law requires that the lighting installed on your bike must have a red reflector or device, and it should be visible for 600 feet of the rear when in front of lower beams headlights on another motorist.

It is worth noting that bicycles are the only vehicle allowed to show a flashing red light to the rear This means the red color along with the flashing is a great differentiator for drivers' eyes in nasty weather conditions. If you have a combination of solid bean and flashing red, this will make you extra visible at night and keep you even safer in bad conditions.

Why Should You Have Rear Bike Lights?

Rear bike lights are useful for several reasons. Here are some of them:

1) To make sure that you can be seen by others when riding at night and to help you get home safely after dark.

2) To help other motorists avoid hitting you if you brake suddenly and to reduce the risk of getting into accidents with other vehicles.

3) To improve the overall appearance of your bike.

4) To make it easier for police officers to spot you during road checks.

What Other Color Lights Do You Need On Your Bike?

There are many other color lights that you may want to consider adding to your bike. In some states, it is the law to have these installed on your bike. These include:

1) Front Light – A front light helps you to be seen by other motorists and pedestrians. This includes both daytime and nighttime visibility. It is usually a white color and tends to have much higher lumen ratings than rear lights.

2) Headlight – A headlight helps you to be seen at night. It also makes it easier for other motorists to see you when you approach them from the side. A headlight is typically white.

3) Reflectors – Reflectors are important to ensure that you can be seen at night. They should be mounted on the frame and handlebars. You need to have the red reflector, as we have mentioned on the rear of your bike, and you must have amber reflectors on the pedals. The reflectors on the front of your bike are typically amber or white and whilst rear reflectors are often red amber, and white has been used in the past.

4) LED Lights – An LED light is a more expensive option, but it is also a lot brighter than ordinary bulbs. Some people prefer it over regular bulbs as it does not burn out so quickly. Depending on the use of the LED, they can come in whatever color you need, but installing a bright red LED on your rear can give you extra visibility than other forms of lights.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Stay Safe Whilst Driving?

The best way to stay safe while cycling is to always wear a helmet. But there are times when wearing one isn't an option. For example, if you're cycling through a busy city center, where helmets limit visibility, then you'll need to rely on your lights to alert drivers to your presence.

If you're going to ride at night, then you'll need a rear light that's designed to work well under low-lighting conditions. That's why most cyclists choose a rear light that flashes and is red.

You might think that you don't need a rear light because you live in a neighborhood where cars rarely drive at night. However, if you do go out at night and drive outside your neighborhood, then you still need to be able to be seen. And this means having a rear light that works well even in poor lighting conditions.

Can I Remove My Red Rear Bicycle Light?

You can remove your rear bike lights by unscrewing the bulb and removing the lens. Once removed, you can store the bulb in a bag or box. If you plan to keep the bulb, then you will need to replace the lens before storing the bulb.

However, if you plan to dispose of the bulb, then you can simply throw away the entire unit.

What Is the Best Way To Store My Rear Bicycle Light?

There are several ways to store your rear bicycle light. One method is to put the unit inside a plastic bag. Another method is to place it into a cardboard box with foam insulation.

Another option is to wrap the entire unit in bubble wrap and then place it in a sealed plastic bag. Keep them safe and always install when riding, especially in bad conditions.

Final Thoughts

We hope after reading this article you have learned a little more about rear lights on bikes and why they are red. Red is the color used by most motorists on the road and the answer to why is simple. It means danger. When other motorists see red, their response is to either slow down or come to a stop completely. As a cyclist, this is what you want, especially at night when conditions are worse, and you are a lot smaller and much more vulnerable than other motorists!