According to a study by the League of American Bicyclists, "40% of fatal crashes with a reported collision type -- were 'hit from behind' incidents. Also, high-speed urban and suburban arterial streets with no provisions for bicyclists represented 56% of all bicyclist fatalities."
Thus a tail light is absolutely crucial if you ride on the road. At the core, it helps you become more visible and that simple mantra saves many lives. But as we roamed the halls of Interbike and Eurobike exploring new light options, we were floored by the creativity and technology being applied to tail lights. Things we never thought were possible are being applied to tail lights.
What's making it possible is the awareness that the tail lights are a good accessory for every bike and there is a growing demand for it for night riding and even daytime riding. Also, lithium polymer batteries and LED lights are so small and powerful now, they hardly take up any room. Innovative companies are using the power and space to come up with new applications.
Are they for everyone and will they all succeed in the marketplace? No, but some of them will and it is fascinating to us that some of the best minds in the world are working to make bicycles safer with tail light technology.
Here is the list of fascinating tail lights.
What's cool about it: The Rotlicht gets brighter when the cyclist comes to a stop. It also gets brighter when there's more ambient light light a car shining lights on it.
What is it: The Lupine Rotlicht is a 160 lumen light with four different light modes are available: steady, flashing, wave pulse, and pulse. But it has an accelerometer that allows it to function as a brake light. When you pull on the brakes and slow down significantly or come to a stop, the built in acceleration sensor turns the light brighter to gain more attention on the streets.
It is also light sensing and has automatic light adjustment depending on the ambient light. If for example a car comes closer, the light turns brighter, allowing the rider to become more visible.
More info: www.lupine.de
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What's cool about it: The Fly6 has a surveillance camera and it will record and document any vehicle that hits you or harasses you. It is evidence that will hold up in court and it is media that can help stop cyclist harassment.
What is it: This 105-gram light contains a camera with 720p hi-def capabilities with 5-6 hour record time, records to an included 8GB micro SD card, is water resistant and charges via an included USB cord. The blinky has four modes of brightness with two flash pattern options and puts out a claimed 15 Lumens of light. Data automatically overwrites memory to have endless storage. In case of a crash, the camera stops recording to prevent over-writing crucial video.
It is cool because it can record traffic incidents/accidents and bring bad drivers to justice.
More info: fly6.com
What's cool about it: Backtracker scans the vehicles behind you and warns you when someone is getting too close or when someone is about to hit you. It can also get brighter when a vehicle is passing by.
What is it: Backtracker is a radar-powered device that improves your visibility and awareness of what's happening behind you. It features 40 Lumens, 8 hours of run time and tracks a vehicle up to 100 mph with a vehicle range of 150 yards.
More info: www.backtracker.io
Price: Help fund Backtracker here www.dragoninnovation.com/projects/41-backtracker-by-ikubu
Continue to Page 3 for more tail lights »
What's cool about it: The SPYLAMP2 has a built in GPS so you can track down your bike if someone steals it. You can then alert authorities and get the baddies arrested. Here is a map (right) of where your SPYLAMP and your bike's recent locations are.
What is it: The SPYLAMP2 covert bicycle GPS tracker disguised as a bicycle tail light notifies you by SMS if your bicycle moves, online tracking works as a tail light.
More info: www.integratedtrackers.com
Dinotte Quad Red
What's cool about it: This light puts out a staggering 200 lumens in a small and efficient package. Visibility is maximized and is available in all weather conditions.
What is it: The Quad RED is a fully integrated 200 lumen tail light in a small that uses a quick release system allowing the taillight to quickly come on and off the bike.
The DiNotte Quad RED has has three steady and three flash modes similar to most of our lights except we removed the On/Off Flash and put in a 1/2 inensity rapid pulse. The three current flash modes keep the background lit at all times with a rapid pulse or strobe like burst. Brightness always wins, Dinotte says.
More info: dinottelighting.com
Continue to Page 4 for more tail lights »
Lezyne Zecto Pro Auto
What's cool about it: It turns itself on and off!
What is it: The 50 Lumen Lezyne Zecto Pro Auto motion detecting system triggers automatic shutoff of light after 3 minutes of inactivity and turns back on when in motion again. It is a high visibility safety light with three LEDs. A clip-On system provides versatile strapped or clipped mounting for your bike or clothing. Intelligent Power Indicator LEDs monitor battery power and provide side visibility.
More info: www.lezyne.com
Serfas Thunderbolt Clear
What's cool about it: It is one of the brightest, most visible. small tail lights around.
What is it: Weighing in at 50 grams it's very bright and it is simple and light. Unlike the other lights in this list, the Thunderbolt just focuses on the delivering the most visible light in a convenient package. The Serfas Thunderbolt is 50 gram light strip that puts out 35 lumens. This year, there is a new clear casing that allows the light from the 30 LEDs to show through the case. So it offers more than 180 degrees of visibility. It has 2 hours on high and 7 hours on flash mode of battery life.
More info: www.serfas.com