This is where Lumens count and I’m glad that LED lights are making night-time bicycle safety more common. The bright white lights on the front of the bicycle can get dulled down on an asphalt road. All that tar absorbs the brightness, so you need more Lumens to bring up the light that’s needed. In this next section, I’ll explain more how this comes down to real science that improves your riding safety.
What Is a Good Lumens for a Bike Light?
The brightness that is commonly used with professional riders is not by accident. It’s been fairly recent with the newest LED lights. In the last decade, super-bright LED lights can be seen on the blackest asphalt roads and riding trails. How bright are the ones that we like to use? Starting at 1000-1200 lumens, that’s more light than most floodlights are giving off! But more importantly, it is the color temperature. This is called kelvin, and most cyclists’s lights are 3500K, or essentially bright-white light.
It’s not to annoy people, but it does get a driver’s attention. If the bicycle light brightness is not seen from all angles as well, you could be in trouble real quick. Some riders like to add a dual helmet mount on the front and back of their safety helmet. The main front headlamp source is strapped to the handlebar. It needs to be angled correctly just like car headlamps are meant to be aimed.
What everyone else is adding to their bicycles?
Not everybody knows why the LED lights need to be so darn bright. So when the super-bright LED technology came around, every knock-off brand followed up with their version after that. Too many of these were too weak to work effectively and just ate-up batteries also. Maybe it was because they were so common that people thought these cheap LED bike lights were good for safety. Well, they aren’t!
What everyone should know about mandatory bicycle night light safety laws?
Not every state is going to agree on the specifics of bicycle lighting accessories. For sure you are allowed the use of a front headlamp and a rear tail light. The front headlamp needs to be the main lighting source, while a rear lamp needs to be red. Every state will impose limits on what is legal and what is not. I suggest contacting your local city hall for the requirements needed for nighttime bicycle riding.
If they don’t mind having additional add-ons like laser line markers, rim lights, and helmet lights, then you can have better visibility. The use of 3M reflective tape is an absolute must on your arms and backpack if you carry one. Just so you know, try to avoid roads and streets that are known for being high traffic areas for speeding. Too many accidents happen when a bicyclist is at an intersection where people tend to run red lights.
How Many Lumens for Bike Headlight? Best Selling Bike Lights on Amazon
You don’t need the brightest light to be seen, but this is a good starting point. Even on a beginner level, it’s best to have at least 1200 Lumens as your main lamp.
We’ve included some of our favorites here and some that you might say are thinking outside-the-box:
Streamlight 69140 Vantage Helmet Mounted Tactical Light w/ Blue Tail Light
I have a buddy who is a fireman and he recommended this to me a couple of years ago. We met when I worked as a security guard for a hotel. There was a small fire and I helped people to safety. After the fire, I got to talk to the firemen and one of the guys noticed my security light. It was Streamlight and it’s my personal favorite. The firemen also had a Streamlight on his helmet. I couldn’t believe how strong it was! At only 145.7 grams, this headlamp holds-up like Fort Knox! It runs on lithium batteries and wouldn’t you know it, it’s meant for being wet. It can go down to 1 meter below water with no worries. For a serious night cyclist, this is the best helmet light you can get. Fits onto any standard bike helmet easily! This light features 115 Lumens, a bright blue rear light, 167-meter focused beam and works for 6 hours at a time.
Bright Eyes Fully Waterproof 1600 Lumen Rechargeable Mountain/Road Bike w/ 6400mAh Battery
This is a powerful combo set that offers the headlight and taillight in this package. It includes a free diffuser lens and the taillight is free. This light weighs 1.6 pounds and is packing a Lithium-Ion battery that can be recharged. Once charged it lasts 6 hours. It’s also waterproof and offers an incredible 1600 Lumens. Another great deal I highly recommend.
EBUYFIRE USB Rechargeable Bike Light Set w/ 3000 Lumens
This model can give you lit-up distances up to 1640 feet (500 meters) away! It’s a powerful light that features 3000 lumens. It can be attached to your bicycle in seconds and works great as a flashlight too. This comes with a rear red light LED and they can be charged on any USB terminal. If you are looking for maximum light exposure, this one can hold its ground well.
BICYGO USB Rechargeable Bike Light 3 LED Lamp 1200 Lumens w/ 6000 mAh battery
This is also a dual set that gives you the headlight and taillight. It can be charged on any USB drive connection and has three power modes. This can be set to work for 10, 20, or 30 hours depending on brightness modes. Your smartphone can temporarily power it in emergencies too. The tail light has 5 different light modes and it also has a USB charger battery. This is excellent for emergencies too.
DiKoMo Bike Light Front and Back 2400 Lumen
The only downside to this model is that the battery lasts just 4 hours, but with 2400 Lumens, why not? The mounting bracket allows you to swivel the light left and right and adjust the angle as well. It’s also a simple USB charger for both the front and rear lamps. You can see up to 150 meters in front of you and it’s rainproof. Not a bad little light either.
How Many Lumens Do I Need for a Bike Light?
Over the years I’ve gotten a lot of questions from a lot of people who are getting into cycling fitness. I always tell them that it’s a state of mind. But no matter what question I get asked the most, I try to explain myself like it was the first time, every time. But just recently I finished a night-time charity ride, and one little-guy asked me something I never get asked. He said, “How many Lumens do I need for a bike light?”
He was a real smart kid for his age and got me thinking a lot about the question after that. I think I spent an hour just talking with him. After that it got me thinking that nobody ever asks this kind of specific stuff. But then again, maybe I was looking at it from a different perspective. So if your name is Andy Taylor from San Francisco, Thanks for inspiring me to answer a very important question.
How bright of a bicycle night light does it need to be?
Now for most of you who are just starting, you probably know about the basics of bicycle safety. I don’t need to tell you how important night riding safety is, but the whole point is to be seen. This is what changed my whole attitude towards night-time bicycle riding. I’ll break it down for you here. Bike light luminosity is your number one goal to achieve, and I’ll tell you why.
Not every driver is going to see you from the same angle. Think about how much difference there is between a 4X4 that’s jacked way-up there and a sports car. That’s about 3-4 feet difference. Now here’s the question, which one of them will see you first at night with red flashing tail lights? If you picked the 4×4, you’re pretty perceptive. The reason is that the 4×4 driver can see higher-up see the front headlight shining on the road.
Stay Safe and Get the Proper Bike Light Lumens for your Ride