With the change to winter time, the need for quality bicycle lighting will soon catch up with everyone. Darkness arrives much earlier, so it’s important to focus on good bicycle lighting even more than in the summer. This is also recognized by the municipal police in Prague, which has launched its preventive campaign „Don’t ride like a blind man“ for the eighth time.
It’s advisable to have the basic lighting of your bicycle sorted out, even if you think no one will see you cycling at night. You may need to ride, and especially in the autumn or winter, you can’t avoid gloom or darkness. The key is to see and be seen! Your bicycle should definitely have mandatory reflectors, and in conditions of reduced visibility, a front white headlight and a rear red taillight are necessary. Some reflectors can be replaced with similar reflective elements on clothing, fenders, or the bicycle tire tread (see more in the infobox).
In streets with good public lighting, you can get by with just a front and rear blinker. However, in poorly lit streets or parks, a headlight is useful, even though you don’t have to keep it on continuously. The front light is more important than the rear one. From behind, you will be protected in the worst-case scenario by reflectors, but when moving forward, you often find yourself in a situation where others can see you only because of an active headlight.
Decree on Bicycle Lighting
A bicycle must:
Bicycles intended for riding in reduced visibility conditions must also be equipped with:
(Source: Decree No. 153/2023 Coll.)
We recommend getting permanent induction blinkers (e.g., Reelight) for your city bike, which shine continuously. Lights powered by a hub dynamo can also be suitable. The greater investment will pay off in the peace of mind of not worrying about batteries or attaching and removing blinkers. Nevertheless, it’s wise to have some backup in case of main light failure. This could be simple blinkers, for instance. Blinkers can complement a solid headlight and serve as a backup light that you can easily carry in your backpack. Avoid using headlamps as they can blind others. Also, be cautious when choosing a front light – opt for types that direct the light towards the road and do not dazzle oncoming cyclists and riders excessively.
Beyond the standard equipment, there are reflective vests, flashing reflective strips, and the like. While it is desirable to be visible, the excessive use of reflective elements can overshadow other cyclists and pedestrians, so their application makes sense only when riding in adverse weather and low visibility conditions on busy roads where most drivers do not anticipate cyclists.
For the eighth year in a row, the municipal police in Prague is focusing on bicycle lighting. The first part took place last week [last week of October – editor], but the campaign continues. On Monday and Thursday evenings, a stand is set up near popular Prague cycling paths, primarily for educational purposes, including offering essential reflective elements and blinkers for free. No fines will be issued as part of this campaign, so if you feel that your bicycle is inadequately equipped, don’t hesitate to stop at the stand and improve your bike’s lighting setup.