As has already been mentioned it is not legal to have a red light or a red
reflector on the front of your vehicle. Red on the back and white on the
front. You are also at risk of getting a ticket for not having a front
light. The police where I went to college would write tickets to students
riding their bikes home from campus at night without a front light. My
experience is in the US. Laws and consequences in other areas may be
When I ride at night I use a helmet mounted NiteRider light a red LED light
on my back and a reflective vest. Reflectors in the spokes are also a good
idea but I don't always use them. I do both muni rides and Coker rides at
night. Night riding is a lot of fun but it is easier with the right
lighting. Single track muni rides are definitely much more difficult at
night. Coker rides at night are almost like floating. When riding at night
it feels and looks like you are going faster than you actually are.
A good light definitely makes night riding safer and easier. You have to be
able to clearly see bumps and rocks in the road to be able to unicycle
safely. A powerful handheld flashlight is probably good enough for
unicycling but flashlights are inconvenient to carry and most flashlights
are not as bright as a bicycle lighting system.
What works and what doesn't:
The little head mounted flashlights that use AA batteries that are popular
with hikers and runners are not adequate for unicycling. They are not
bright enough to allow you to see bumps and other obstacles in the road.
They may be bright enough so that they will be legal and prevent you from
getting a ticket, but they are not bright enough to actually make your ride
Wide beams are better than a spot beam. A light with a wide beam works
better for unicycling than a light with a spot beam. Bicyclists like the
spot lights because they are going faster and need to look farther ahead.
When unicycling you tend to look just ahead of the wheel so a wide beam
gives you better coverage of the area that you will be looking at.
Helmet mounted lights are the best way to go. I like a helmet mounted light
because I can look around and the light will always be where I'm looking.
This is especially handy when turning. Mounting a light on the unicycle
under the seat will work when riding in a straight line but will be very
poor when you are turning a corner. You also run the risk of breaking the
light when you crash or drop your unicycle if the light is mounted to the
unicycle. Helmet mounted lights also generally require that you be wearing
a helmet which I consider to be a good thing.
If you use a helmet mounted light make sure to put the battery pack in a
backpack, pocket or somewhere else on your person. Do not attach the
battery pack to the unicycle. If you crash you don't want your head
tethered to the unicycle. That could hurt in addition to ripping the cord
from the battery pack.
What kind of lights:
There are generally three flavors of lighting systems. Lead acid batteries
are lower cost but the battery is heavier and larger. NiCad batteries are
smaller and lighter than lead acid. NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) are smaller
and lighter than NiCad and usually have longer burn times and shorter charge
These lights can be rather expensive. The higher priced lights generally
give you better features like smarter chargers and smarter lights. Dumb
chargers are really a pain because you have to manually time them and unplug
them when the charge is done. You can automate a dumb charger by using a
wall plug timer but it is still very inconvenient. The smart lights know
when the battery is getting low and will automatically dim the light and
then turn off the light to prevent the battery from getting over drained.
Over draining the battery can completely ruin the battery so having a light
that is smart enough to prevent this is a good thing and may save you from
destroying a battery.
With any lighting system read the owners manual carefully. The manual
should give you tips on charging and tips on using the light. Every brand
of light is different and the different battery types (lead acid, NiCad,
NiMH) are all very different too. Not reading the manual is a common reason
for getting poor performance from an expensive light or totally destroying
NiteRider makes some good lights. They are a little expensive but they are
well made and work well. I'm using a NiteRider Digital HeadTrip (with a
wide angle bulb) and I love it. NiteRider is at http://www.niterider.com
If you are in the UK there is Lumicycle. They are at
There are other lighting systems too. Performance Bike also makes some
lighting systems and are a little lower in cost than the big brands.
http://www.performancebike.com And there are of course others.
>Hi There, My uni rides after work are now in darkness, with the occasional
>moonlight and street light to guide me. I have a Insight Ultra BRT-7 Rear
>light, a 7 LED red strobe at the back of my uni, which can detach when I'm
>in the gym. I'd hate to get hit by a biker from the back. Does anyone have
>any safety tips or experience? Riding night is a little freaky, like
>you've entered the dark realm and you use more feel than visuals to keep on
>Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
>Before you buy.
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