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Triangle vs. Blinky

Triangle versus Blinky
(in the being seen department)

Lights are required at night, and that only makes sense. But when the contest is being seen from behind or the side and identified as a bike rider, well-placed super  hi-viz reflectors and reflector tape win. It shouldn’t be either-or, and I’m not saying nix the rear lights. The thing is, reflector tape and triangles are so much more versatile in where you can mount them, and are so much bigger and lighter than lights, that they have a built-in advantage over lights.

Thirty dollars worth of well-chosen and well-placed reflectors in various places on your body and bike, does more for your visibility and identifiability as a bike rider than $30 worth of lights.

Angle of reflectivity or visibility is a big one in night-time visibility. Lights win there, but they don’t win by as much as they used to win by. The best modern reflective fabrics do really well; and besides—reflective fabrics, tapes, and triangles can wrap around your body, pack, and bike, and “point” in a wide arc, so it’s not a case of car lights hitting them only at 90 degrees or zero.

Blinking lights may not be so fantastic, in any case. They attract drunks, and their small size makes the drunks think, “hey, that car’s far away. I better catch up to it.” Or so I’ve read, but I don’t know.

Use front lights and rear lights, but load up on reflectors. On your back, your seat stays, bags, pedals, crank arms, spokes, and ankles.