In much of the world, if riding after dark, a rear light is likely a legal requirement; this is certainly true if riding a bike in the UK. Legal requirements aside, it’s a no brainer to use one. It's not an exaggeration to say that a quality rear bike light can literally be a life saver. What’s more, you may never actually know that it did! Invest in the right rear light and even if it only works once, it’s been a worthy investment.
Light It Up
The best rear bike lights combine long battery life, being visible from a distance and from different angles, and being suitably durable/waterproof. As they aren’t needed for actually seeing where you are going, these don’t need to be as bright as a front bike light, which helps with keeping them smaller and still maintaining good battery life.
A modern rear bike light will use one or multiple LEDs to produce a light beam that is red in appearance. LED bike lights are efficient and able to produce a good amount of light for their size. Most lights, particularly at the higher end of the market, are rechargeable via a USB, so you’ll easily be able to keep them powered up at home or in the office.
To Flash or Not to Flash
Most rear bike lights will have the option to cycle through different settings, so you can alter the strength of the beam emitted and the flash pattern. If you ride in a group of cyclists, you certainly won’t be thanked by those behind you if you ride, at all times, with the brightest flashing light possible. Some lights these days will have the option to emit a flashing and steady light simultaneously. It’s advisable to have both a flash and steady beam: the flash stands out more in a sea of urban lights but the steady beam is easier for other road users to gauge your speed and distance.
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