I was stuck on the Birmingham Bridge for about 20 minutes last night (1/20) due to the relatively light snowfall, and traffic issues.
While on the bridge I was passed by two cyclists. Neither was one a fat bike. The first was a cyclist dressed in virtually all black, the second in a yellow and black jacket.
Although the second cyclists wore brighter clothing, he/she was very hard to see in the grey of the mist, the concrete bridge barriers, etc. The person in the black was easily seen….due to his/her choices in lighting.
I saw the first cyclist coming from a good ways away, catching the bright flashes of a headlamp and bar lamp in my side mirror. As he/she passed, I noticed another bright lamp on the rear (helmet mounted maybe) and two horizontal reflective strips on the rear panniers that caught a lot of light. Kudos to that rider for investing in personal safety and visibility.
The second rider snuck up on me 10 minutes later, virtually unseen. A small, rather dim (perhaps clouded) front headlamp did not make them very visible. On the rear, a small rectangular red lamp was affixed to a messenger bag. Again, it did not stand out, despite the predominantly yellow jacket.
I share this primarily to encourage everyone to ASK someone how effective their lighting choices are. Sometimes decisions that seem reasonable or sufficient don’t make the cut on a cloudy, grey and snowy day.
When in traffic, I’m glad I have unapologeticly bright lights. Not blinding, but easily compete with car high beams. I’ve heard more compliments from drivers than hate on them….drivers like knowing you’re there just as much as you like it.
When on the trails though, it’s best to turn your light away from other trail users or cast a shadow with your hand. It’s much easier to blind another cyclist or jogger in the dim light of the trails and cause an accident.
I’ve found that setting the light to point to the ground maybe ~5-7m in front of you works pretty good. You can see problems on the path soon enough and it seems to not annoy the other trail users (who, yes, will otherwise get vocal about it).