What You Need to Know About Bike Lights

New technologies provide batteries that are lighter, carry more charge and can be recharged in 1 to 2 hours. The old nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries had a memory effect. If you didn't let the battery fully run out of juice, re-charging the battery shortened the overall charging capacity. It was a lose-lose situation.

And light sources have seen just as many improvements. Halogen lights were all the rage a generation ago. These days, LED's are the option of choice. They're brighter than halogens, use less energy and won't burn out the way halogen lights do.

Cost Versus Convenience

The only drawback to the new battery technology is that they can be pricey. Many manufacturers offer two solutions. For the budget minded you can get an LED-based light, which runs off of standard 'AA' or 'AAA' batteries. The initial cost is cheaper, but you end up paying a lot for batteries over the life of the light.

The other more expensive option is the new Lithium-Ion batteries. They're rechargeable, and because recharging them leaves none of the 'memory effects' of the old Ni-Cad batteries, you can keep your battery fully charged on a daily basis to get maximum life out of your light.

More: 10 Tips From Hard-Core Bike Commuters

And, just like your smartphone, most of the charging options use a USB-based system. You can plug the light into a wall socket or computer and it'll be fully charged in one or two hours.

Just as with cars, a white light should be used in the front and a red light in the rear. Blinking lights are more visible, but a blinking light in the front makes it hard to see the road. It might be a better option to use the blinking red light in the back and one single, bright LED light on the front. This will allow you to be seen by motorist approaching from behind and provide ample light to the road so you can see where you're going.

In the next article, I will provide tips for safer riding at night.

More: 4 Tips for Cycling at Night

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