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Should Cyclists Use Rear AND Front Running Lights In Broad Daylight?

I received an email from Trek urging that we roadies should be flying a rear and front running light whenever we roll out… yeah… No.

So, about that. I’m a big fan of taillights. If I’m riding solo or in a group of less than fifteen, you can bet I’ve got my Garmin radar taillight on. Not only do motorists treat me better for having it, I’ve learned how to cheat traffic with the radar feature. It’s quite wonderful, actually.

That said, if I’m riding correctly (and in daylight) that front light is utterly useless. Maybe if I ever rode near a population center this would be different, but I don’t so I won’t bother.

A taillight in every instance… of course, I was riding in a small group before or after each of those photos were taken. For riding with the main group, say on Tuesday night when there’s regularly 10 or 20 of us, it’s a little different because, well, if you miss 20 of us going down the road in a double pace-line, a taillight wasn’t going to help.

I would simply suggest common sense (God help us all) should rule, here. In some cases, I imagine a front headlight could be useful. Use one if you feel it necessary.

UPDATE: In the comments section, the Idealcyclist made a great point for using a headlight when riding on narrow roads as seen in the UK and Europe. In that case, I could be persuaded to use a headlight… maybe a stem-mounted tiny blinker…

UPDATE II: The comments section will show what a sheltered life I lead! A good many of my friends like the front blinkie.


  1. idlecyclist says:

    I use a flashing front light on every ride. Round here there’s frequent traffic, even on rural roads that are sometimes not much wider than a car. I figure that anything that makes me more visible is a good thing and if it makes drivers pay a little more attention to me then I’m happy. If I was starting and finishing with a group on a club run I most likely wouldn’t bother though. For the exact same reasons I normally drive with headlights on my car in daylight also. I have a feeling I picked all of this up from riding a motorbike way back in my early 20s 😆

    • bgddyjim says:

      You know, we don’t have roads like that in the US except in mountainous areas down south… it makes a lot more sense in your case, my friend. I’ll have to amend the post for your point.

  2. Brent says:

    I’m a big fan of a front flasher lately. The suburban area I live in is full of Range Rover drivers who seem completely unable to see anything around them, as they’re wrapped in a cocoon of fine leather and completely insulated from the outside. And traffic density is probably a bit higher on the more rural roads than what you have where you live.

    I’ve had people turn left in front of me any number of times, causing me to hit the brakes. I’ve never gotten hit or crashed because of this, but there have been a couple near misses. Since I started being fanatical about using the white flashie thing, it’s pretty much stopped. Even for the Range Rover crowd, it’s hard to miss the blinking white strobe.

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