Be bright on your bike now winter is here
It’s horrible once the clocks change – winter is really here. It’s gloomy and dark on the way to and from school, and you need to make sure that other road users can see your child and you when you’re cycling. There are a number of ways to make everyone in your family more visible, so that you can all continue to cycle safely through the winter months.
Kid friendly bike lights
Bike lights might seem obvious, but did you know that all bikes being ridden in the dark must legally be fitted with lights? Rule 60 of the Highway Code states:
At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.
There are huge numbers of bike lights out there at all manner of prices – finding kid friendly bike lights is a bit harder. These Lezyne lights can be attached to a bike, clothing or bag (and presumably a trailer or rear bike seat). They are operated by touching the light, so are much less fiddly for little fingers than a tiny button. They’re available from Evans Cycles for £14.99 at time of writing (for a set of front and rear lights).
One common problem with rear lights on kids bikes can be a lack of seat post to attach them to if the seat has been lowered fully, so make sure you have another way of attaching the lights (maybe to a coat or bag).
Strings of lights
If you’re using a trailer or a cargo bike, you may want to think about investing in outdoor lights that can be attached to the outside. This will really light you up as you cycle. There are lots of different types – you can have flashing or multicoloured ones – just make sure you can easily unattach and recharge them.
High visibility cycling jackets and vests
You don’t need to spend a fortune on cycling kit – a cheap vest will work well, so long as it has the hi visibility taping on it.
If your child is going to be cycling on a regular basis, you may want to invest in a cycling jacket, which will have hi vis on the arms, front, back etc, and be better suited to riding. They’re very eye catching, especially in lower light conditions.
Some of the names to look out for if you’re looking for a hi-vis jacket include Polaris, Endura and Altura. Check out Evans Cycles, Little Pro and Tredz, who all hold good stock – although availablity will reduce as the winter progresses.
High visbility cycle helmets
Another way to keep your child visible is to have a bright helmet. Some also include hi-vis and a light to make them stand out even in the dark.
The Provis Eris helmet is bright, and come with a rear light. They’re currently only £9.99 on the Provis website, which seems crazily cheap! You can read our review of the Provis Eris helment here.
The Met Crackerjack is a better looking helmet, which has an LED built into the rear adjusting strap.
Wheel lights make cycling in the dark great fun, and have the added benefit of meaning traffic will see the bike side on.
You can get them from £5 upwards on Amazon – there’s lots of fun colours and designs available.
Hi visibility kids cycling gloves
Most kids winter cycling gloves will have some hi-visibility trim on them, which is great for catching motorist’s eyes when signalling.
The Polaris RBS (Really Bright Stuff) mini hoolie gloves go one step further – just what you need if you’re signally in low light conditions. They’re available from Amazon from £15 upwards and come in yellow or orange.
A light up balance bike
If your child is using a balance bike all year round, then the Phantom light up balance bike (from £140) might be the answer for you. Our tester found it came up slightly on the large size, so not for very small children, but great for taller toddlers wanting to be seen.
Do you have any other ways of keeping your child bright and visible whilst they’re cycling in the dark? Do let us know, either in the comments section below, or by tagging us in a social media post – we’re @cyclesprog on Twitter and Instragram, or you can find us as Cycle Sprog on Facebook.
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This post was first published in October 2017 and updated in November 2017 to reflect new stock availability
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