Bike lights for the daytime? Seriously? Please, say it ain’t so.
Look, the simple fact of the matter is you shouldn’t need lights in the daytime. You don’t really. But having them is only going to raise your chances of being seen and staying safe. It’s the same reason why many cars and trucks have daytime running lights as standard. In some countries, including the UK, the law even requires it on all new cars.
Most of those countries, however, don’t require cyclists to use daytime-running lights. And, perhaps, rightly so. But talk to almost any cyclist and they’ll have a story of a close encounter with a driver that uses the phrase, “Sorry, I didn’t see you.”
You’d hope riding with due care and attention would be enough; you’d think being on your bike in daylight would be enough; you’d expect bright clothing to be enough… Any one of those things should be. And, truth be told, in most cases, they are.
But with more traffic on the roads — both human- and motor-powered — the potential for collisions is higher than ever, and you can tip the odds a little further in your favour by being as visible as possible.
So, if you want to give other road users no excuse whatsoever for not seeing you, you might want to consider a daytime-running light. If so, here are a selection of rear daytime running lights that we’ve tested.
Specialized Stix Comp
Specialized’s Stix Comp David Caudery / Immediate Media
The 29g Stix Comp is one of the most versatile here, with half a dozen modes including ‘disco flash’ with run times from around three to 27 hours.
We got nine hours on its 20-lumen ‘power’ flash setting, which was plenty bright enough. You can also buy mounting options for saddle rails, clothing, your arm or helmet. Neat. Petite.
Bontrager Flare R City
Bontrager’s Flare R City David Caudery / Immediate Media
Small, yes, but this pumps out a cornea-concerning 35 lumens from its single Cree LED with wide-angle reflector for a shade over five hours in its daylight-flash mode — though don’t look straight at it when you’re testing it or you’ll regret it.
It charges in a couple of hours, weighs just 26g and is bright enough for daytime use.
Lezyne Strip Drive Pro
Lezyne’s Strip Drive Pro David Caudery / Immediate Media
A chunky 69g five-LED that’ll give you a 50-lumen blast or a mighty 100-lumen daylight flash for five hours, which makes this one of the brightest rear lights we’ve encountered, though that will limit run times.
If you want the brightest you can for daylight riding this is the one, though make sure you keep it charged.
Knog’s Pop rear light David Caudery / Immediate Media
Knog bucks the trend by going for an AA battery rather than a rechargeable USB for its 54g, five-lumen Pop, but we lost the will to live checking out its run time on eco-mode (more than a week!).
We plumped for the strobe and flash settings in the day on this cheap and cheerful light, but the battery means it’s not for the weight obsessive.
BTwin Vioo 500 city
BTwin’s Vioo 500 city David Caudery / Immediate Media
• Price: £10 / $NA / AU$NA
This fella flits between being a 22-lumen front light and seven-lumen rear, both of which can be run constant or flashing.
While not super-bright, seven lumens is more powerful than it sounds. We’d be tempted to keep a couple in our bags for emergency use. It represents great value, but maybe not an ideal main light.
Cateye Rapid X2 Kinetic
Cateye’s Rapid X2 Kinetic David Caudery / Immediate Media
Light, just 28g, and bright, 50 lumens at max but this has something else hiding within – an accelerometer that brightens the light in whatever mode when you’re braking.
But there’s a hitch. While there’s no doubt it comes on when you brake, it also reports false positives when you hit a bump or even when you accelerate. A good idea but needs work.