Bright Bicycle Lights

Question

Logan asked: I currently have a small Walmart headlight and am planning on upgrading soon.  I keep seeing these huge bike lights on Ebay that are advertised at various sizes from 800 to 4000 lumens.  These are just a little bit more expensive than bike headlights you can buy at a bike shop.

For example, here is an 1800 lumen CREE: http://www.ebay.com/itm/NW-CREE-LED-XM-L-T6-LED-1800Lum-Bicycle-Bike-Lamp-HeadLight-headLamp-US-shipping-/330956637818?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4d0e8d867a

And here is a 4000 lumen CREE:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/4000Lm-3X-CREE-XM-L-T6-LED-Head-Front-Bicycle-Lamp-Bike-Light-Headlamp-Headlight-/261244465216?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cd3623040

What are the laws related to bike lights?  Is there a limit to the lumens of a bicycle headlight?  What about taillights?  Do you have practical advice for these?

Answer

We wondered the same thing a while back and asked the Florida Highway Patrol. See this post for their answer:

http://flbikelaw.org/2009/11/bicycle-lights/

Posted in Ask Geo, Bicycle Equipment Tagged with: ,
One comment on “Bright Bicycle Lights
  1. outdoorsman says:

    I recently purchased a 1800 lumen light off of a different source than ebay but it is functionally the same light as what is described in the article. Although certainly the light does not create 1800 lumens of light it is still very powerful (more powerful than the bright headlights on the family van) and more than enough to alert drivers of my presence and forward progress. Part of the disparity in light output may also be the source battery – many of the flashlights with T6 bulbs I considered can run on 18650, AA, or AAA batteries. I keep the light trimmed down to avoid blinding automobile drivers and it has a much better light “spread” than any other bicycle headlight I have owned or tested. I really like how it has a “zoom” feature that I have not seen on any bicycle headlight available so I can spotlight the beam on something in the road ahead or spread to cover the whole roadway. I plan to purchase another of these because then I can reliably double the amount of light by having two lights – even if the lumen rating is a lie.

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