Whether you want to be safe or just stay on the right side of Johnny Law, for pedaling after dusk and before sunrise you better run a white light facing forward and red light on back. One of the most convenient set-ups? The Pedalite Baglite vest, which can be worn by itself or attached to a backpack.
Retailing for about $50, the vest takes less than a minute to attach to a backpack. Two white lights fit over the straps and are secured with Velcro. One red light naturally aligns itself over the center of the back of the pack (and is also attached with Velcro straps).
Battery-free, the lights are charged by the sun — just leave it out in the sun for a few hours and you’re good to go. The company claims a full charge will provide more than six hours of flashing light.
But the power of the light is something to consider. If you’re just looking to be seen, you’re fine. Look elsewhere if you want enough light to see by.
There are pros to wearing your lights instead of installing them on your bike. Namely, convenience. Because if you just want to run a quick errand with a bike that doesn’t have lights on it, it’s easy to use the Baglite. And since the lights are attached to you, you don’t have to worry about removing them (to reduce the chance of theft) when you lock your bike outside. Urban dwellers, I’m looking in your direction.
—Stephen Krcmar lives in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., and has also lived in Los Angeles where he once had a nice light “liberated” from his bike while shopping at Trader Joe’s