Bicycle Lights – IMPERATIVE! Why Don’t We Know About Them?!
Bicycle Lights – SAVE KIDS’ LIVES!
Why Don’t We Know About Them?!
Bicycle Lights: Every year hundred of adults and children are killed needlessly on bicycles. Every single death was preventable on some level – whether on the part of the adult or child riding the bike, a driver that hits them, the parents of children or the bicycle companies themselves!
According to the Center for Disease Control on CDC.gov,
“While only 1% of all trips taken in the U.S. are by bicycle,1 bicyclists face a higher risk of crash-related injury and deaths than occupants of motor vehicles do.2 In 2013 in the U.S., over 900 bicyclists were killed and there were an estimated 494,000 emergency department visits due to bicycle-related injuries.3 Data from 2010 show fatal and non-fatal crash-related injuries to bicyclists resulted in lifetime medical costs and productivity losses of $10 billion.3″
EVERY DEATH IS PREVENTABLE! EVERY SINGLE ONE!
I lost my own baby brother, Justin Leigh White, 3 days after his 17th birthday in 2008 while riding his friend’s bicycle when it was getting dark out. Just 3 miles away, another 17 year old from his school was killed on a bicycle by a hit and run driver (not the same driver). We lost 2 kids in a small town on the same night, which left two families waiting at the SAME hospital to identify them, and two families were never to be the same again. Countless people were effected and forever changed and left with broken hearts.
What was the common denominator in both of these accidents? Neither bike had bicycle lights. You know what? MOST bicycles in this country do not. It’s easy to say, “Oh, I don’t let my kid ride their bike at night.” Well, who is to say your child listens to everything you say or that he won’t give his bike to his friend to use (as in my brother’s case)? It’s up to YOU! YOU need to make sure you explain to your child that if it is dusk or raining – they must turn the lights on their bike.
Here are a few photos of My Brother, Justin.
Don’t let this be all you have left of your loved one!
Will having Bicycle Lights on every bike prevent all bike related accidents? Of course not. But do you want your kid to the be the one you could have prevented?
We were told that my brother was riding without bicycle lights at night — so that meant he was considered at fault – which meant we could take no legal action against the driver. He actually didn’t even OWN a bike for medical reasons. Kids will be kids – and he used a friend’s bike at night that was ill equipped (as are most bikes).
This is no joke. I don’t mean to sound scary or extreme – but I am really passionate about this. I know first hand what its like to lose a brother and my mother knows what its like to lose a child. Its indescribable.
BIKES USED TO COME WITH LIGHTS!
I was speaking to my grandmother the other day about the fact that I was going to write this blog and mentioned I was going to set the primary focus on the necessity of bicycle lights. I mean we all know helmets are needed – but you hear so little about lights.
She shocked me with a tidbit of information that I never knew: Most bikes, if not all – used to come with them back in the 40s and 50s! She even remembered how hers would light up automatically when she peddled and the brightness of the light was determined by how fast she was pedaling.
HISTORY OF BICYCLE LIGHTING
I did a little research and this is what I found according to Wikipedia:
“The earliest bicycle lamps were oil-powered and started to be manufactured in 1876 for the Ordinary (High-Bicycle) and solid tyred tricycles. From 1896 acetylene gas lighting for bicycles started to be introduced and later in 1899 acetylene gas lamps for the motor-car became popular. Their carbide lamps were powered by acetylene gas, produced by combining calcium carbide with water. The light given was very bright but the lamps required regular maintenance.
From as early as 1888 electric-powered bicycle lamps were manufactured but did not become a viable proposition until 1898. They comprised an incandescent bulb and either a lead-acid battery or a dynamo. Lead-acid batteries were replaced by dry cells and later by alkaline batteries. Dynamos improved in efficiency and reliability, recently being incorporated into the wheel hub, for example. Moulding techniques for plastics also improved, allowing lens optics to be improved and cost reduced. Incandescent bulbs were replaced first by sealed-unit halogen lamps and later by high-output light emitting diodes.
In Germany, it was illegal to use bicycles without a dynamo-based lighting system except on “racing bicycles” below 11 kg. This stimulated the market in Germany for high quality dynamos. Since 5 July 2013, a change in the law allows use of battery-powered lights.”
My question is this. “At what point did bicycle companies decide they didn’t have to follow state traffic laws and put lights on bikes for bike riding and that it should be left up to the rider to install?”
Should we hold the bicycle companies liable for not installing them on bikes when they have known since at least 1876 that bicycles need lighting for safety? Since that is not likely – shouldn’t we demand a higher level of expectation from them?
Did the bicycle manufacturers decide to save few bucks and this is the reason they are not installed? Are human lives not even worth $20? (You can find headlight / tailight sets in most stores that sell bicycles for anywhere from $12-35 on your own…..but it seems to me we can save more lives if bicycle lights come with every bike from the manufacturers.
HOW TO PREVENT BICYCLE INJURIES AND DEATH – PER THE CDC:
Bicycle helmets reduce the risk of head and brain injuries in the event of a crash.5 All bicyclists, regardless of age, can help protect themselves by wearing properly fitted bicycle helmets every time they ride.
Bicycle helmet laws for children
These laws are effective for increasing helmet use and reducing crash-related injuries and deaths among children.6
Interventions that have shown promise for reducing injuries and fatalities to bicyclists include the following:
Active lighting and rider visibility
- Fluorescent clothing can make bicyclists visible from further away than regular clothing during the daytime.
- Retro-reflective clothing can make bicyclists more visible at night.6
- Active lighting can include front white lights, rear red lights, or other lighting on the bicycle or bicyclist. This lighting may improve the visibility of bicyclists.6
Bicycle helmet laws for adults
These laws increase helmet use among adults.6
Roadway engineering measures
Information about roadway engineering measures, like bike lanes, that can improve safety for bicyclists is available from The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.
Now the CDC made all of the information accessible to us by telling us why we need helmets, lights on our bikes, and highly visible clothing — but what good is the information if it isn’t more widely distributed?
Why are schools not educating children on the importance of using bicycle lights and making sure every kid has these lights? Why aren’t we lobbying the bicycle companies to install them on all bicycles? Cars must come with headlights, blinkers and tail lights. BIKES SHOULD, TOO!
I can’t tell you what to do. Perhaps my brother would have lived or maybe not if there had been bicycle lights on the bike he borrowed. We will never know. What I do know is that I will not let his death be in vain. I will be sure other lives are saved. If this article saves ONE life……I will have accomplished something.
BEST BICYCLE LIGHTS – MY REVIEWS
U-FIT LED BICYCLE LIGHT
I recently tested out a nice Bicycle Light set by U-Fit that is both affordable, safe, and SUPER easy to install (You don’t even need tools – so lack of tool knowledge is not even an excuse to not have lights on yours or your children’s bikes!)
GET THE U-FIT BICYCLE LIGHT ON AMAZON: http://amzn.to/1PbGRGg
Night ProVision™ LINE 120F Front Bicycle Headlight USB Rechargeable LED 120 Lumens
Currently Running for $21.95, I am pretty impressed with this light. It weighs in at only 1.4 oz and measures about 3 inches long x 1 inch wide x 5/8 inch tall. You can install it horizontally or vertically and is USB rechargeable! NO BATTERIES! It gives off a VERY bright light – up to 120 lumens maximum! It is VERY easy to install and even has different settings. The more you push the red button the more the settings change. You can go brighter, dimmer or even have a flashing headlight – which is safest at night. I just have no complaints about this light and highly recommend it. Great product.
Pucher J, Buehler R, Merom D, Bauman A. Walking and cycling in the United States, 2001–2009: Evidence from the National Household Travel Surveys. Am J Public Health 2011;101(S1):S310-S317).
Beck LF, Dellinger AM, O’Neil ME. Motor vehicle crash injury rates by mode of travel, United States: using exposure-based methods to quantify differences. Am J Epi 2007;166:212-8.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS). Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars. Accessed on 08/13/2015.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts, 2012 data – bicyclists and other cyclists. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation; 2014. (Publication no. DOT HS 812 018).
Attewell RG, Glase K, McFadden M. Bicycle helmet efficacy: a meta-analysis. Accid Anal Prev 2001;33:345-52.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Countermeasures that work: A highway safety countermeasures guide for State Highway Safety Offices, 7th edition. (Report No. DOT HS 811 727). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2013.