I regularly ride at night with a group called the Fort Worth Night Riders. We use lights, of course, front and rear. But it’s always good to be more visible to motorists.
There’s enough ambient light on most city streets — from streetlamps, shop windows and auto headlights — to navigate a bicycle safely without a monster headlight. So the purpose of most lights on a bike is not so much to see, but to be seen.
I’ve come across a couple of videos on innovative ways to make cyclists more visible at night.
The first video (click on the link below) is about a line of reflective clothing developed by Alex Vessels and collaborator Mindy Tchieu of Brooklyn, N.Y.
“The great thing about We Flashy items is that it reflects light on busy streets, but is barely noticed in normal indoor environments,” Vessels says. “It’s versatile enough to wear to school, work, or out for a drink.”
We Flashy uses industrial-grade reflective material, like that used by crossing guards, police and firefighters.
The second video is about a bicycle lighting system called Project Aura, which aims to make a cyclist visible from the side, not always possible with front and rear lights.
Project Aura was developed by Ethan Frier and Jonathan Ota, industrial design students at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The system consists of LED lights embedded in the rims of a bicycle’s wheels. The LEDs are powered by a dynamo in the hub of the front wheel and they change colors with the cyclist’s speed — white while cruising and red when slowing down.