Why Do Bicycle Lights Flash?

April 05, 2022 5 min read

Bike lights often flash. Some riders love this feature – whereas it's not so popular with others. To find out more about flashing bicycle lights, read this simple guide!

About Bike Lights

Bicycle headlights can be used to illuminate the path ahead of you or to attract attention.

They can also be used to warn approaching vehicles about your presence.

Headlights are useful for nighttime riding. They enable you to see where you are going. They also help you avoid collisions with pedestrians and animals.

Headlights are especially useful when riding through unlit neighborhoods. They allow you to see obstacles before you hit them.

Headlights are also useful for daytime riding. They help you see where you are going so that you don't run into parked cars or other hazards.

Headlights are particularly useful for riding around town. They help you navigate streets without getting lost.

Types Of Bicycle Lights

Front-Mounted Lights

Front-mounted lights are usually brighter than rear-mounted ones. They're also easier to mount because they don't interfere with the rider's view.

Rear-Mounted Lights

Rear-mounted lights are typically more expensive than front-mounted ones. They tend to produce less light.

They're also more difficult to mount. Many rear-mounted lights require special brackets.

However, rear-mounted lights are useful if you plan to ride in low visibility areas. In addition to being able to see where you're going, they allow you to be seen from behind.

Fixed Beam Headlights

The most common type of bicycle headlights are fixed-beam headlights. These lights are mounted directly above the front fork and project a narrow beam of light straight ahead. The advantage of fixed-beam headlights is that they are relatively bright and give off little glare. The disadvantage is that they cannot be aimed at specific objects.

Variable Beam Headlights

A second type of bicycle headlight is the variable-beam headlight. Variable-beam headlights can be aimed at specific objects.

Flashing or Steady Lights?

Flashy lights are sometimes more visible than steady ones.There are many opinions about this!

Flash your lights during daytime riding. You should be using the brightest setting possible. Drivers will notice you more easily if you're flashing brightly than if you're using dimmer settings.

Steady mode is better than flashing mode sometimes because it gives more time for drivers to react. Drivers need more time to see a cyclist when he or she is riding at night. Flashing mode makes it harder for drivers to see you.

This means that you should use steady lights when riding in traffic. Steady lights are easier to judge distances and speeds.

A bike light helps you stand out in a crowd. Research shows that your eyes are better at detecting changes than stationary objects. That means that if you're riding a bicycle, flashing lights might help you to be seen more easily.

Steady light looks like a motorcycle rider from far away. A flashing light enables you to identify the road user earlier.

Flashing lights make less difference in rural areas, but they help drivers see more clearly in urban areas.

Lights attached to the seat post are a great idea. Many people use them to help see at night while riding. This is a good thing because you need to be able to see what's ahead of you. You also want to make sure you're visible to other drivers.

A steady rear light is more helpful than a flashing one. When riding in a group, a steady rear light helps others see you better. Riding near a flashing light may distract them. Wet conditions make it harder to see.

In summary, cyclists should always carry a bright headlight on their bike. When riding at night, they should use a steady front light to help others see them. Cyclists should also use a rear light to make themselves more visible.

How To Choose A Bike Light

There are many types of bicycle lights available today. Some are designed specifically for cyclists, while others are suitable for both cyclists and motorists.

The most important factor to consider when choosing a bicycle light is how well it works. The best lights have high lumens ratings. They also have adjustable brightness controls.

Some lights come with batteries. Others require a separate battery pack. Batteries last longer than rechargeable batteries.

The size of the light is another consideration. Smaller lights are easier to handle. Larger lights are easier to mount.

The mounting system is also essential. Most lights are designed to attach to the frame of the bicycle. Some lights are designed to clip onto the handlebars.

Other factors include whether the light has a strobe function and whether it is waterproof.

Do you plan to ride at dusk or dawn? Are you planning to ride through rainstorms?

Do you prefer a steady beam or a blinking light? What about a strobe function? Is the light waterproof? How easy will it be to install?

Finally, consider the price. It's often cheaper to buy a new light than to replace an old one.


Bike lights are necessary for safety reasons. Flashing lights are more visible than steady ones. However, flashing lights may cause epileptic seizures and could affect people who suffer from epilepsy.

Cyclists should be aware of the effects flashing lights may have on people with epilepsy, but this is very rare.

Lights flashing between 16-25 times a second are most likely to cause seizures. Bike light flashes between 1-4 times a second are unlikely to cause seizures.

Other Tips

Reflectors and reflective clothing may be helpful for some people but not others.

Reflective clothing helps cyclists be more visible when it gets dark. High-visibility clothing improves visibility when it gets dark.

Flashing lights are better than steady ones because they make people more aware of your presence. Running a steady light makes you less noticeable.

Choosing a rear light with an on-off flash pattern might increase the risk of being seen by drivers. Using a steady rear light could help drivers see you more easily.

A steady front light is probably better for visibility. Flashing lights might be more noticeable, but they are usually brighter than steady ones. Wide beams without a cut-out are safer for other riders as well.

Flashing lights are used by vehicles to alert others about their presence. Drivers should avoid using them when there is sufficient ambient lighting. Otherwise, they could cause problems for other road users.

Riding at night, high intensity forward facing lights should not be flashed at night, especially if the lights put out over 200 lumens. You run the risk of disorienting oncoming vehicles (be it on 4 wheelers or 2 wheelers). Having one flashing light and another steady light is a good combination.

Avoid extreme strobe patterns though, and opt for an even brighter light. Use a pulsing light or a subtle flash  instead. If riding with just one light, use it in medium speed pulse mode.

Using two rear lights is strongly recommended though, using one in flickering mode and the other in steady burning. If you're upgrading your tail light, consider buying a rechargeable battery to replace your old light, and use your old one in flashing mode.

You should mount your headlamp on the handlebars, and then put another light on your helmet. This makes it easier for drivers to see you when they're driving. Your helmet light should be narrow, and not too bright.

Final Thoughts

Well, that's certainly a lot to consider! Hopefully you've learned a little more about flashing bike lights, and why you might or might not want to use them!