|Just bright enough or needlessly bright?|
I feel pretty safe with the above standards when out of town on unlit streets and on the Minuteman Path. I don't feel it's enough when riding down busy streets with a lot of lights competing for drivers' attention. So I up the lighting for my bikes a bit:
- Small helmet light, high enough to get a driver's attention when they can't see the lights on my bike.
- A second taillight, in slow (non siezure inducing) flashing mode.
- A second headlight, aimed down and centered 10 feet in front of my wheel.
- Spoke reflectors with integrated lights. They are bright but not overpowering.
I also wear one of Emily's reflective sashes and have reflective bands on my arms and around my gloves.
Emily makes a great point that all of the extras that I use may cause a new cyclist to wonder about whether it is actually safe to be riding at all. There is no small expense if getting all of the extras I use and I spend a decent amount of time and effort ensuring that I have the reflectors with me and put them on and take them off, along with all of the less permanently mounted lights. I also have to admit that I use a lot less gear when I simply ride down the Minuteman and feel pretty safe even when I get on streets as I wind my way home. And she also correctly pointed out that all of the lights and reflectors won't make an impaired driver see me.
She is right about all of this but I still feel exposed on a bike at night in the city so I will continue doing what I do. What is your strategy?