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I have recently invested in an LED front lamp with a battery pack. The results are great, it's incredibly bright and I will feel much safer with it on my bike.

However, I don't want to blind or hinder any other road users with how bright it is.

Car headlights are brighter but angled in a specific way, what is the correct angling (roughly) for a bike front headlight to maximise visibility whilst not impairing other road users?

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Yeah, generally you want the headlight aimed at the ground in front of you. How far ahead depends on the brightness and "spread" of the light and road conditions, but I'd say 10 to 30 feet. (20 meters sounds like a bit much.) –  Daniel R Hicks Oct 10 '13 at 0:59
If the light is still glaring to oncoming traffic after aiming it to light the way to suit you, then consider making a little hood out of white translucent plastic to block too much light aiming up. You could make one by cutting a section of plastic yogurt cup or similar and zip-tie it to the light. I think all directional, bright bike headlights should be hooded to reduce glare. –  PositiveK Oct 10 '13 at 1:34
One extra tip - not a direct answer. Many of these lights have a strobe mode, but if they're bright enough to light up the road in front of you, all the strobe will do is dazzle drivers, other cyclists etc. By all means use flashing lights, but not a flashing headlight. The strobe "feature" was probably added because it was an easy way to claim more features. –  Chris H Oct 10 '13 at 10:17
The strobe also extends battery life. –  Doug D. Oct 11 '13 at 17:42

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Car headlights are more complex than bike lights. The beam is 'shaped' to throw light away from oncoming drivers and has a sharp cutoff on dipped beam. therefore bike lights will always cause a greater degree of glare (for relative brightness) than car lights.

Point the beam so its shining at the ground about 10-20meters in front, and slightly towards the curb. The faster you go, the higher it needs to be. Curb side is where you need most light, as that is where the glass and rubbish is, and it avoids blinding oncoming motorists. As far as being seen, add a non-directional flashing light and hi-vis gear.

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