The clocks have gone back so the days are getting shorter. This means commuting to work through a dusky greyness and back in the dark. If you’re on a bike, this half-light makes it difficult to both see and be seen, which is why bike deaths skyrockets from October onwards - so be prepared with an effective set of lights.
Choose between just the standard handlebar ones (white light front, red light back) or an additional light that fixes onto your helmet to make sure you’re extra visible. Remember, if you choose a helmet light, use handlebar and rear lights too - likewise consider how many ‘lumens’ a light emits. The higher the number of lumens, the brighter your light will be - look for at least 80 lumens or more. These lights were tested along London’s busy commuter streets to get the best idea of the light’s range. Make sure you’re not caught out (it’s illegal to ride on the road without lights at nighttime) and invest in one of these sets.
1. VARTA bike light: £25.89, amazon.co.uk
This set (one rear, one front light) conforms to German road restrictions, which are stricter than ours. Powered by durable and “virtually unbreakable” LEDs, they’re resistant to heat, shock, and cold. They’re bright, but urban cyclists take note, there’s no flash mode.
2. LED AA Bike Light: £29.99, lightrider.co.uk
This front and rear-light set illuminates you as well as the road ahead. The front light has a rear-facing beam – handily at chest level – and two forward-facing ones. One of them flashes to keep you visible, while the other points straight forward.
3. Topeak Headlux Bike Helmet Light: £15.29, halfords.com
Here’s one to mount on your helmet. You can control settings and light speeds by pressing the top-mounted button. It also has a white flashing light at the front and a red one at the rear and lasts up to 100 hours.
4. Moon LX360 USB Front Light: £49.99, halfords.com
Delivering an impressive 360 lumens in one beam, this is ideal for navigating country lanes. There are seven modes and it runs for 15 hours on a rechargeable battery. We wish you could dim the beam, though
5. Knog Frog Strobe Light: £14.39, evanscycles.com
Despite the name, this isn’t really a disco on wheels, but it does its job well. On flashing mode, the light can last for up to 80 hours and, although small, it’ll help you see up to 600m ahead. It’s super-simple to attach, too.
6. Blaze: £124.99, blaze.cc
This innovative gadget projects a green bike on the road ahead so everyone knows you’re coming. Flashing, the light lasts for around 13 hours and it’s USB rechargeable. It also transforms into a normal light. We found it a very reassuring presence in both modes.
7. Exposure Joystick Mk10 Light with Lanyard: £124.95, chainreactioncycles.com
Pushing out 800 lumens, this cable-free headlight is simple to use: a light tap to the helmet changes the different light modes – flashing, strobe, or full beam – and its USB port means you can charge items on the go. Note: at 87g, it’s heavier than many.
8. Exposure Flash and Flare bike set with batteries: £74.95, evanscycles.com
These pocket-sized lights pack a punch in the brightness stakes. They are also idiot-proof to use – rotate the head to turn on and off – and we also found them simple to attach and detach.
9. Eagle 600 bike light: £54.99, magicshineuk.co.uk
No more getting caught out, as the screen on this bright 600 lumen light tells you how much battery you have left. The spread of light is super effective for night riding and handy orange side-lights alert those around you to your presence. It lasts up to 10 hours on the lowest setting, but could do with a flash mode.
10. FWE 80 Lumen rechargeable LED front light: £14.99, evanscycles.com
With four light modes and an easy, rubber band bracket mount, this best-selling light is surprisingly bright for its size. On flash mode, you get 12 hours’ juice.
We love the Knog Frog strobe light. It's simple-to-use, easy to attach to the bike and bright enough to keep cyclists visible as well as see the road ahead – all for a price that won't hurt too much if you need to replace it.