It Will Be All Black!

With that winter is fast approaching and the recent time change, it seems quite natural to start my first article on the blog of the adventurers, with lighting.

In this article, I avoid running out of light, and thus try to enlighten you to understand its functioning and its interest.

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Let there be light! And there was light

Even if many cyclists prefer to invest in a Home Trainer in order to ride the hot, it’s here that lighting makes sense, allowing to escape the dark to continue to drive safely. But all lights are not equal, it is important to choose its lighting if you want to roll a long time of night. Whether it’s in the morning, there’s fog, snow, a strong pluies(surtout par ici) that is going through a tunnel, to the dark or at night, all cyclists are gray. Or almost.

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And a cyclist that one of indistinguishable, and well, it’s a cyclist in danger!

See and be seen, it is more than regulatory, it is simply vital…

We often think that we didn’t need lighting because we are seen through the public lighting, the store windows, or all simply because it’s not pitch black. However, a cyclist without lights is not visible. You should know that in 2013, 17% of cyclist fatalities took place the night according to road safety.

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Next to the power of the lights of cars or motorized two-wheelers, the cyclist is in fact very disadvantaged by the low power and the lack of reliability of its active lighting.

We all know the typical example that when you drive a car at night and we want to exceed a cyclist with yet adequate lighting, but that we cross a car with its headlights on at the same time, there are then as well the rider if we followed a car or a motorbike. Isn’t it?

The two photos below taken in built-up areas from a car, crossing lights on. The rider sees the street and cars, but motorists will not see the cyclist in time if it is not properly equipped.


It seems wise to remind you of the regulation on the rules of the road about the lighting of the bicycle.

For cycles, these devices are attached to the items R.313 – 4, R.313 – 5, R.313 – 18, R.313 – 19 and R.313 – 20

Articles R313-4 and 5 of the code of the road needed light on the bikes only at night or when visibility is inadequate.

Lights before (R.313 – 4-X):

«The night or the day when the visibility is insufficient, any cycle shall be equipped with a light emitting forward a dazzling, yellow, or white light.»

Rear position lights (R.313 – 5 V):

‘ The night or the day when the visibility is insufficient, any cycle shall be equipped with a rear position light.» This fire must be clearly visible from the rear when the vehicle is mounted. ” It will be red.

Rear reflectors (R.313 – 18 V):

“Entire cycle must be fitted with one or more rear reflectors.” It will be red or orange.

Lateral reflectors (R.313 – 19 V):

“Entire cycle must have orange reflectors visible sideways.”

Lateral reflectors (R.313 – 20 III to V):

III.the entire cycle pedals must include reflectors, except in the case of retractable pedals two-wheeled cycles.”

  1. “entire cycle must be fitted with a visible from the front white reflector.”
  2. ‘entire cycle can have to the back and left a spreader of danger.’

This video illustrates perfectly the need to light bike, it also shows that see a motorist at night:

In short, what is O-BLI-GA-territory:

  • Fixed light: white or yellow and fire front fire red rear
  • Passive lighting: front white and rear reflectors red, reflectors with wheels (or tires with reflective sidewalls), and reflectors of pedals
  • Since October 2008, out agglomeration, the fluorescent vest or clothing and night equivalent.

Good to know: without light, the cyclist is liable to a 1st class ticket (fixed fine of € 17, reaching € 38 after increase).

Let’s try to see things more clearly.

What light power do I need?

The french highway code does not have the power of illumination or the supply of it. Lighting may very well be approved according to the standards, but both insufficient.

For example German standards require at least 10 lux lighting at 10 meters. In practice, 0.5 Lux corresponds approximately to a night of full moon. So to see your way on poorly lit roads, you will need at least 20 Lux. Night in a well-lit City Center, a beacon of 4 Lux may be sufficient for you to judge your needs, but don’t forget to make you see!

To help you visualize these differences, here is essays in a tunnel overnight.

Active lighting:

Active lighting is a device emitting its own light through an on-board energy source (dynamo, battery, battery or inductive device, etc.). Active lighting aims to see and to be seen. Today all of these lights are electric. There are several types of lighting to choose according to his practice.

Seen from a Sigma Powerled Evo

  1. light-emitting diode (led, in English: Light-Emitting Diode, LED) ordinary lamps and halogen headlights

At the rear, a fire at red lights is a good solution: it is powerful, energy efficient, reliable, inexpensive and easy to find at your dealer. Nevertheless the diodes being narrower beam, lateral visibility is not as efficient as with a bulb.

At the front, you choose. To be seen, the new white led headlights powerful (3 W) are more effective than the old bulb lamps.

If you borrow poorly lit roads, headlights halogen (> 20 Lux) are more effective than the bulbs. But beware, if you have batteries or batteries, the run time is very low (almost at the end of a week in daily use) because they consume a lot of energy. There are devices with batteries attached to the frame of the vélo(certains d’entre vous on pu les tester lors dele de week-end barbecue organisé par le magasin). They are heavy, but essential on courses in open country.

2 dynamo and battery / Batteries


If the bike is used regularly, it is preferable that the lamp is powered by a dynamo. Unlike the removable lighting, the cyclist can leave it at home without risk to use the batteries or the battery and get a steal.

Main drawback: lighting cut when you’re standing (or reduces to very low speed) However, certain lights are equipped with “light” function which allows to keep the lights on even when the bike is stationary, thanks to a small battery placed at the level of the headlights. This useful feature allows the rider to be visible when it is waiting at an intersection or a fire.

Finally, there are the dynamos in the hub : a little heavier, but wear-free and do not fear the rain and other projections (branches, dust, etc.). They produce lighting even at low speed, control lighting according to the brightness and are now virtually without mechanical friction.

-Batteries / batteries

The batteries are a good solution if you ride little night. For everyday cyclists, the batteries are needed. Prefer independent batteries lamps combined with a built-in battery. There rechargeable batteries via USB, and even through a solar charging system.

What I would recommend:

  • For everyday use in town on a VTC or an urban bike, a dynamo at the hub, because their performance is exceptional, with an insignificant rolling, 300 Lumens minimum resistance. Example: Front and rear: origin on the bike, here a Giant Aéro CS2 or mounting to the map with a hub dynamo
  • For use by mountain bike, or exits at night, a light group with battery with good battery life, and why not a backup battery, features a led 500 minimum Lumens. Example: Front: Lezyne Deca drive back: Lezyne Zecto drive
  • For occasional use in cycling on road lit, led lights of life almost infinite, insensitive to shocks, light and compact, opt for a recharge via USB, 200 minimum Lumens. Example: Set front and rear: Lezyne Macro and Micro
  • Any other element which highlights visibility.
Passive lighting:
  • Passive lighting is a device referring naturally light in the direction where it comes from, does not require its own power supply. It can be seen.
  • mandatory equipment

A reflector is an accessory clear plastic containing reflective retro cells.

Reflectors (white) front, rear (red), on the wheels and pedals (orange) are mandatory. There are also tires with reflective retro flanks who provide to have wheel reflectors.

  1. the equipment recommended

It is advisable to wear recommended equipment because they increase visibility to bike.

-The reflective vest:

  • Since October 1, 2008, wearing the high visibility vest is mandatory outside built-up areas at night or when visibility is inadequate. Without this equipment, the cyclist is liable to a 2nd class ticket (fixed fine of € 35, reaching up to 150 after increase).

If you carry a backpack, wear your fluorescent vest over the bag. Some bag/bags are equipped with reflective surfaces, or sur-sacs, it’s ideal!

-Reflective clothing

They can be spotted at 150 m (against 50 m just wear light-colored clothes). Clothing with reflective elements and accessories should carry the CE label. If they carry more standards in 1150 – 13356 – in 471, they correspond to European standards.

But often it is sensitive to its appearance, we hesitate to put his waistcoat of visibility for fear of ridicule…

Today, efforts are made to be beautiful bike and come out of the style public works! He must still check before buying if they are well qualified. When one team is in clothing, we need to think about it, otherwise we have to add a vest over it, which isn’t the most ergonomic!

  • The other reflective accessories
  • I recommend you to have reflective accessories to stay visible failure of your lighting, or to be visible from far away on a particularly dangerous road as we are sometimes still out of town.
  • The equipment of the bike:
  • I recommend you to equip first bike. Retro-reflective accessories are inexpensive, light, reliable, very effective, and we will not forget them. Choose what’s most convenient for you:
  • – Spreader of danger, which includes reflectors. It is also to encourage the motor to keep the required lateral distance when they exceed a cyclist (1 m in settlement, 1,50 m outside built-up areas )).
  • -Reflective bicycle clip: prefer the slap wrap to wrap around the bottom of your pants.
  • -Adhesive reflective to stick on the frame, mudguards, the seat post, handlebars, etc: this is the most discrete solution.
  • -Circle reflecting in the spokes or rays sticks.
  • – Reflective strip tires.
  • The equipment of the cyclist:
  • There are also accessories to wear that are a good complement to the equipment of the bike, to increase the visible surface, even if they are more restrictive:
  • -Reflective to wrap around the arm or ankle cuffs
  • -Panniers or backpacks with reflective strips.
  • Camelbak Hydrobak backpack
  • – Helmet visible color, some models have blinking red diodes built into the back of the helmet
  • -For students: binders with retro reflective strips or bags
  • -Small extra lamps, headlamps: many products led abound currently on the market: lamps that cling to the door luggage, luggage, clothing, bags, trailers, helmets, keychain… Life is not always at the rendezvous. Choose models with rechargeable batteries type AA (LR6) or AAA (LR3) rather than battery buttons to give you more autonomy in the management of the lighting, especially if you have several members of the family to equip.
·  Conclusion:
  • For cyclists, the need is double: see and be seen. It is well to be visible to other users of the road, with passive lighting equipment but also to see the space on which they operate using an active lighting equipment. It is essential on the unlit country roads, hiking paths to the what you might be surprised by the night falling fast, night hikes, but also in urban areas where, for economic reasons and sustainable development, lighting tends to be decreased.
  • Equipped properly, the cyclist greatly reduces the risk of serious accident with opinion of Phonecations.
  • I end this article on lighting with a simple phrase, but practical: Nothing prevents you to have more than the legal minimum to be visible bike.

Then cycling friends, shine!

For all questions about approvals and rights or others, you can transmit them, as well, if you want to be done a test, let me know, and I answer you with great pleasure.