The 11 Best Bike Lights, Reflectors and Safety Apparel to Buy in 2018

Here's what you need to stay safe on the road

If there’s any chance you’re going to be riding your bike in pre-dawn, twilight or night lighting conditions, then you need to take added safety precautions to see the road better and make sure that everybody else on the road can clearly see you. Not sure which bike lights, reflectors and safety gear you should buy right for your ride? Read on to see everything you'll need to stay safe while pedaling on the road.

This handlebar-mount headlight is an 850-lumen torch packed into a sleek single-piece aluminum alloy case. The Cygolite Expilion 850 illuminates any road, path or trail with a class-leading Cree XM-L2 LED, and Enhanced Cycling Optics widen your field of vision and increase visibility by scattering light. The removable USB-charged, lithium-ion battery stick will light the way for up to 38 hours, and they easily swap in and out, so you can carry a spare when you need a power boost. Eight lighting modes have you covered, from high beam, to SteadyPulse, to day flash and SOS.

When you need to be seen on the road, strap the Cygolite Hotshot Pro 80 USB to your seat post, the back of your helmet or your messenger bag. The system’s 80 lumens of flash are powerful, and you can customize the six levels of brightness and flash for all your low-light riding needs. Your visibility is further increased via Enhanced Cycling Optics scattering the beam, and you can count on this taillight when you need it because the USB-charged lithium-ion battery will last up to 300 hours.

Helmet lights are a good solution for riders utilizing bike share systems in big cities. Just pack your helmet and the Light & Motion Vis 360 Plus Helmet Light System and you’re ready for safe riding day and night. Up front, the headlight blasts a 250-lumen beam, and it has amber side lights to enhance visibility from the side. In back, the taillight keeps you visible to motorists and bikers behind you. Both front and back lights are powered by a USB-charged lithium ion battery that can run on high for 3 hours, medium for 6 hours and flash for up to 16 hours. The lighting system will easily mount to most helmets, thanks to a quick-release mount affixed with an adjustable strap. 

The NiteRider Pro 1800 is one of the brightest bike lights on the market, blasting out 1800 lumens—more than the average car headlight—with a trail-leading CREE LED blub. Borofloat lens tech uses borosilicate glass that won’t get too hot or shatter if you take a tumble. There are four settings high to low, with walk and flash modes, and battery life ranges from 1.5 hours on high to 25 hours at 80 lumens. The light keeps a low profile on your handle bars while a separate battery attaches to you bike frame.

This bike safety invention began as a Kickstarter campaign and has swept the city cycling scene. The ingenious bike gloves have a 54-lumen LED light built into the back of the glove so you can increase your visibility to oncoming vehicles while your hands are on the handlebars, or signal behind you by extending your arm in the direction of your turn. The LED lights are activated by contact plates in the thumb and index finger; just click it on by closing the thumb and index finger. They’re also built with ambient light sensors to increase brightness when needed or save battery life. The batteries are removable, rechargeable lithium coin batteries that will last up to three weeks of regular riding on one charge. You'll also find all the features and function you need in a bike glove, including breathable spandex construction, leather palm for maximum cushioning, and they’re even machine washable.

Sure, a taillight will make you more visible, but when you really need eyes in the back of your head, add the Cyclic Fly6 to your kit. This innovative bike taillight also packs a 750 HD rear-view camera to film your ride. On its own, the bright, 30-lumen taillight is a safe addition to your ride, and it has three modes: light, pulse, and flash. The Cyclic Fly6’s video camera has your back covered, capturing 720 HD video and audio. Use the footage to show off your adventures, or keep the camera on as an insurance policy against bad bikers and moronic motorists.

Adding a headlight and a taillight increases your visibility from the front and back, but what about traffic approaching at an angle or from your side? Just slide the NiteIze GripLit Bike Lights over the ends of your handlebars for two modes of side lighting: glow and red flashing. These grip lights are powered by 3-volt lithium coin batteries; in glow mode they’ll last 20 hours, in flash mode expect 25 hours of use. They’re also water resistant, making them an excellent add-on for rainy day rides.

The Torch Apparel T2 Helmet is another Kickstarter success story. Its ten LED lights are split evenly between a headlight and taillight (and each is made of shatterproof polycarbonate lenses). The lights have four different functions, including flash, but this system is better suited to increase your visibility than it is to light up dark roadways, so pair it with a headlight to best illuminate your way. The USB-charged, lithium-ion battery lasts up to six hours on steady beam or 36 hours on flash mode. The in-mold construction helmet is certified to protect your dome in case of a fall, while eight air vents, interior air channeling and a dial-adjust fit system will keep you comfy for the whole commute.

You won’t find this vest on any fashion week runways, but when it comes to safety, the Tuvizo Reflective Vest is a crucial addition to your commute wardrobe day or night. Fluorescent crisscross straps are highly reflective at night and during the day for 360-degree reflectivity and visibility, and the straps are adjustable so it will fit properly atop all your cycling shirts and jackets. The minimalistic design won’t interfere with the breathability of your cycling clothes, and you can easily take it off and roll it up for storage in your bag or briefcase.

Arc’teryx is a brand known for technical mountain apparel, and their new line of bike commuter jackets and pants brings top performance fabrics and decades of design experience to city streets. The Arc’teryx A2B Commuter Bike Jacket checks off all the boxes for a foul weather top, and it manages to stay stylish whether you’re in the saddle or sidling up at the bar. Softshell polyester fabric stretches for freedom of movement, and will keep you dry during unexpected drizzles or snow flurries. A built in StowHood fits under your helmet and keeps a low profile, so it won't cut off your peripheral vision. To improve your visibility during dusk and night rides, Arc'teryx adds reflective patches on the sleeve cuffs and under the collar – just flip them or cuff them up when you need to be seen, and close them up when you’re off your ride and safe.

This hip denim can do it all. These jeans by LA-based SWRVE are tailored to look good in the office or in the bar, but they’re designed for the bike lifestyle. They’re made with Cordura, a tough-as-nails cotton-nylon blend, and triple stitched for increased strength. SWRVE adds 2 percent spandex for just enough stretch, a slight articulation in the knees for pleasant peddling and a seamless gusseted crotch for the rigors of the saddle. Experienced bikers themselves, the designers at SWRVE added in reflective back belt loops and an extremely wide reflective material under the cuff.


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