I'm going to throw this out there hoping to spark a discussion about bike lights. We all worry about fellow cyclists posing as bike ninjas (dark clothing, no lights). 

So why isn't there a law to add lights automatically powered by the bike (hub lights) to every bike that's built? We have those lights for Divvys, why not add them to all new bikes? 

So if you agree or disagree, all POVs welcome. Just want to hear from you and wondering if this is a good, logical idea or asking too much of bike safety legislation or cost prohibitive or ??

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I think that makes a lot of sense for rideshare bikes like divvys. But for most other situations... not so much. For reference, I have dynamo hubs and lights on a couple bikes. I'm a huge fan. But I'm also aware of their limitations and consequences. A good dynamo isn't cheap, and neither is a good dynamo light. Expect to pay a minimum of $130 for the cheapest decent dynamo hub, and then another $80 for the light. Granted, that's retail and manufacturers can lower that by purchasing wholesale and in bulk. But cost goes up a lot. It introduces wires, which break. So for me as a consumer, I could pay ~200 for a dynamo light system, or ~$30 for a wireless battery-powered one that is just as bright.

Now let's think about bikes that aren't commuters. Does your cyclocross bike need a light? How about a road race bike? Dynamo hubs power your lights, and that power has to come from somewhere so it comes from your legs. They're also heavy, and tend to have a narrow flange spacing which makes for a wheel that isn't the stiffest laterally. Then take into account that it's actually a fairly small percentage of bikes that get ridden in the dark on a regular basis.

So in summary, I think it's extremely cost-prohibitive and utterly unnecessary.

Of course, I personally have a huge love for dynamo systems. I've built them into a lot of my wheels - everything from wide gravel rims to deep carbon road rims. But that's because they suit my needs well. I would love to see more dynamo wheels out there - the overwhelming majority of bikes sold are cruisers, hybrids, and other "commuter-style" bikes. They could benefit greatly from having a non-custom dynamo option readily available. But I think that requiring it - especially on all bikes - is quite an overreach.

Thanks for the thoughts! I feel like we could improve lights so that weight isn't a factor but yes, completely agree, this plan doesn't work for every type of bike. 

Good point - for race bikes (road, cx, MTB) that would be silly. 

It's not so much the weight of the light, more the weight of the hub. There just has to be a certain amount of copper and magnets in there to make electricity. But the bigger factor is the drag. If you want to power a 5W light, you have to have a hub that can supply a bit over 5W, which means it probably imparts 8W of drag. And that's a high-end hub. But again, does it matter for a cruiser or my commuter? Hell naw! Are they awesome! Hell yeah! Also, I can charge my phone while on training rides, so there's that. :)

I would like the US to adopt German bike regulations.  Here's a nice discussion of them from a few years ago. http://chicargobike.blogspot.com/2013/04/stvzo-german-bicycle-requi...

One feature noted in the German regulations that I appreciate about my German-made lights is the standlight. When I'm riding my bike with dynamo-powered lights and I come to a stop, the lights stay on for a while to maintain visibility. I also paid a few bucks more for an additional feature. When the hub detects deceleration, a brighter brake light strip comes on, creating an effect similar to brake lights on cars. Driver behavior suggests that it does get noticed.

I see we both have the B&M Toplight Line Brake Plus!

Love that light!

Good points. It seems like quite a few people avoid riding at night and/or have types of bikes that wouldn't normally be ridden at night. 

I have dynamo powered lights on one of my bikes, and that's the one I ride most often at night. The lights are awesome, and driver behavior suggests that people really are seeing them, as I have a lot fewer close calls on this bike in low light or reduced visibility situations than on my other bikes (with lights on). On the negative side, I do notice some increase in drag due to the dynamo, which I wouldn't want on my road bike. 

All bikes? No. Remember the CPSC requirement for all bikes to be sold with reflectors fitted up? Even track and racing bikes. We couldn't sell them without. Bad rule, poorly defined and implemented.

Keep in mind that not all bikes are ridden -or meant to be ridden- in the dark. Also keep in mind that a dynamo isn't everyone's cup of tea and eventually wears out or goes unmaintained, rendering it worse than useless; battery lights are only good as long as the batteries are charged and not corroding. The added manufacture expense would certainly be passed on to the consumer. Also, leave it to the manufacturers to "cheap out" whenever possible to pass off frustratingly inferior products.

There are already too many badly thought-out laws done by ill-informed or axe-grinding politicians and bureaucrats. The best solution, as always, is a public-awareness campaign to educate (there's that pesky word again!) buyers at the retail level, and should be carried out by those who sell the bikes. We shouldn't need a law for what would be common sense and good business practice.

My $0.02

Sometimes you gotta throw out the crazy "all" discussion to talk it through. ;-) Thanks for your 2 cents!

This old cyclist really doesn't need any more resistance when he's pedaling ;-)

Lights are already required by law when riding after dark. Maybe just require regular lights to be included with every bike sold? And call out the ninjas?

McQueen: I don't need headlights, because the track is always lit.

Dusty: Well, so is my brother, but he still needs headlights!

Agree with others that "all" is overkill. Similar to mandatory helmets, mandatory lights on all bikes may be a barrier to entry. Certain bikes should have this though; the details may be too complex.

Here's my related proposal: you know the ding ding noise when your car door is open w/ keys in ignition, or lights on when exiting? Let's make that dinging noise mandatory in cars when the driver exceeds the speed limit. Want the noise to stop? Then slow down! Yes, also hard to implement (GPS and locator alone is hard), plus changing and rural speed limit updates. Regardless, the safety benefits are tremendous to vulnerable road users. Maybe start with mandate for "fast cars", (I'm sure many of you know certain car brands with routine speeders), i.e., Audi, BMW, and more. If you're buying an expensive, fast car, then you should use it safely!


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