Recently I saw few cyclists at night with blue neon lights attached to the spokes on their rims. They just kept one each at the back, so it wasn't that effective.

But having at least 2 of such lights (both front and back) can make a rider very visible at night and avoid possible dangers.

The riding style I am talking about is for both commuting or trailing at night.

How effective are these lights?

6 Answers 6


Anything that makes you more visible is helpful. Look at the Monkeylectric lights, in my opinion those are the best ones on the market at this point in time.

  • A co-worker has one of these (M133 model) and I must say, they are pretty cool too, he can set different light patterns. monkeylectric.com Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 16:24
  • 1
    It's easier to mount lights on the bike, but many drivers have commented to me to put effort into making myself visible from the waist up. A light on the helmet is a far better idea, when you ride in traffic with higher lines of sight (trucks).
    – OMG Ponies
    Commented Jan 2, 2012 at 23:54

The motion of the light is what does the work, the colour is less important as long as its bright. A valve light will describe a "flattened corkscrew" through the air and is obviously different to any other vehicle on the road - which means you get perceived by driver's conscious brains not just their subconscious or autonomous brains.

These things are brilliant because they're not powered, and reflect a lot of light. They're also lightweight and forgettable.


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Check your legalities too - here its illegal to show a blue light on the road at any time unless you're police. Likewise green lights are reserved for doctors on urgent medical callouts (although this is very rare now.)

Anyone can run a flashing or steady yellow light in any direction, but red lights can only show to the rear and white lights can only show "in the direction of motion" which is why car reversing lights can be white.

The same rules go for reflectors, which means my white spoke reflectors are "technically" illegal because they can be seen as white from the rear.

"Ice white" headlights are in a fuzzy area, as are illuminated adverts on buses and taxis that feature these specific colours.


Certainly you should at least have wheel reflectors if you ride on roads at night. Most auto/bike accidents are not due to "overtaking" but occur at intersections and driveways, so side visibility is important. And some sort of light or reflector on the wheels is much more effective than on the fixed part of the bike, since the motion gets your attention quickly.

The question would be what style of light/reflector is reasonably bright/effective while not weighing too much or being too bulky and not requiring frequent battery changes. The light needs to be steady or rapidly flashing, as a slow-flashing moving light will be more disorienting than effective.

And, of course, turning them on/off is an issue. They could be centrifugally activated, but then they would tend to go dark when you slowed substantially, probably not a good idea.

  • Yeah, that would definitely be my next question. First, I should know, they are worth spending some green..
    – Starx
    Commented Dec 30, 2011 at 12:34
  • I live in a town laid out mostly in a grid pattern, so I ride through many intersections at night. I have spoke lights on almost all of my bikes, and I believe they make me more visible. The batteries are standard CR2032's and they last a long time on flashing mode. Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 6:44

I use a single red light on my rear spokes. I find that at night, cars that are joining the road perpendicular to my direction of travel tend to notice me more because my front and back lights don't give much light sideways. It's more useful on roads that are not lit and I have since purchased a high-visibility vest which should make me glow and be impossible to ignore.


This mainly depends on how bright the lights are. A lot of small, lightweight lights simply aren't very bright and are about as ineffective as low-quality reflectors. Without seeing the lights or knowing some specifications about them, it's hard to gauge.

You may be better off with high quality reflectors combined with bright, side-facing flashes attached to the frame.

  • To a point, a badly aimed light, no matter how bright, will be ineffective. Those lights that dangle on a pendant are nearly worthless because they aren't aimed properly. Spoke lights will pretty much always be pointing where they're needed. (They can get very dirty, though, blocking much of the light they emit, and need to be cleaved off from time to time. A damp cloth will do the job.) Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 6:46
  • All good points that I agree with. I am mainly thinking of lights that aren't bright enough to be seen over ambient light. There is a string light that's popular in my area that's is almost invisible beyond 10-15 feet. Same with a lot of cheap rear blinkers and a couple of the spoke-lights I've seen. Commented Jan 1, 2012 at 7:13

The net result is that you will have high visibility to the sides (left and right) of your bike. So laterally, these lights are quite effective.

Add front and back lights. You'll be good to go.

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