In the wintertime, when Derek Frank leaves work at Raleigh's Flythe Cyclery, he knows that the cars he meets on his five-mile commute can see neither him nor his bike. If he wants to stay safe, he has to light himself. Of late, he's had some help.
"In the last 10 years," Frank says, "I've noticed a real change in the need for visibility."
If you want to cycle at night, several recent innovations can help keep you safe. Frank, for instance, recommends a headlamp that works more like a car's headlight than the usual cheap blinking buttons beginner cyclists pick. With up to 3,500 lumens, such lamps not only light up the road in front of you but announce your presence to cars at a distance.
And then there's all-reflective-everything—cycling gloves, jackets, frame tape, shoes, helmets and tire sidewalls that either glow like a neon green sun or have silver tabs that sparkle when headlights hit. Some manufacturers are even beginning to integrate these features into their bikes, so that you don't have to worry about someone stealing your expensive light or how faded your bright features may have become.