Lights out

October 12, 2020 § 11 Comments

Immediately upon returning to Los Angeles I experienced more dangerous passes and near-misses than I had in the previous couple of years.

At first I chalked it up to the aggression of post-covid drivers.

Then I realized that I wasn’t using front and rear lights. On my long bicycle life up north and back, I’d dispensed with them completely. There were insufficient times and places to charge them and they seemed needless.

I wondered if my close calls in LA were a result of my “invisibility.”

Two days ago I began riding again with the blinding headlight, and yesterday added to it my Cygolite rear light. All of the close passes vanished, and only one irate driver honked.

His ire was silly but understandable. He’d had to “wait” going downhill while we took the lane at 30, preventing him from driving illegally at 60+. He was delayed ten or fifteen seconds, which he pondered at the red light we met him at when he finally sped around. I gave him a dirty look. [Note: Anger management still a work in progress.]

This is a friendly reminder that if you ride urban, lights work. They really do, and the more you have, the more you will be seen. As hostile as drivers appear, it is not planned hostility. They simply don’t see you until the last second, then get angry that you’re in the “way.”

A reader updated me that my prior recommendation of these taillights was even better than before as there has been a product upgrade with no meaningful increase in an already cheap price.

Discussing this with Baby Seal as he was varnishing the toilet lever for opening day of The Dropout Cyclery in Ye Olde Torrance, he said this: “When customers have a severely limited budget and are questioning the purchase of lights, I have no problem recommending they choose lights over a helmet. A helmet may sometimes save your skull, but that’s after you’ve been hit. The lights keep you off the hood of the car to begin with. And I encourage them to get both if it’s at all possible.”

Hard analysis to argue with. Lights work.


Cygolite 150
Diablo by Exposure

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§ 11 Responses to Lights out

  • Is the Diablo really green?

  • darelldd says:

    Welcome to Darell’s pedantic corner.

    Sensical phrases:
    Near hit. (well, nearly hit, but hey, I’m flexible. ha)
    Close pass.
    Punishment pass.

    Confusing phrase that minimizes the danger of the incident:
    Near miss. (assuming that you were nearly hit)

    (and great work on the anger management. I thought for sure we’d hear more after “the look.”)

  • Anonymous says:

    I manage my anger by fully indulging it.

  • Anonymous says:

    Took you up on your original recommendation about the Apace lights, and — FWIW — am a totally satisfied customer. Long battery life, fast-charging, very durable, lots of very visible patterns. I use one on each seat stem.

  • Bob Smith says:

    so what’s the hot ticket for a headlight?

  • Anonymous says:

    A light solution where charging possibilities are limited is the dynamo front hub. Yes it weighs a little bit and you need to buy dynamo compatible lights but you always have light without ever thinking about it. I am happy with mine. You don’t need the top end German one. They all do the job.
    Sure you know the above but just my 2 cents.

  • I love it when you call me “A reader”! 🙂

    Their home page is and the updates that I recently purchased were their 2019 models Pro-100 (rear) and Pro-200 (front) and they are bigger, brighter, and have more battery life, so I don’t have to charge them as often. 45 hours of charge time. I shine brighter than a Christmas tree.

    I did have one situation last Summer where no amount of lights was going to alert my impending pancake squasher. They were backing out of their driveway which had a 12′ fully opaque hedge right at the street. Maybe not fully opaque, because I did see them, but they did not see me. Very obscure situation, but being lit up is the best for all.

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