Darkness is coming – Bicycle visibility (for joggers too)!
When daylight savings time ends and you have daylight from only 8 am to 4 pm there’s a lot of bike riding to be done in the dark. How can you put the odds of being seen on your side? Bicycle visibility! Some things are pretty obvious: florescent shirt or jacket, reflective vest, headlights and tail lights. That’s the minimum. But you can do more and with more panache too! I ride with multiple forms of light and reflectors and for that matter I use all of my visibility techniques during broad daylight too. The way I see it you can never be too visible.
Fashion? Yes you can!
Ugly yellow construction vests with the gilet jaune connotation? OUT! OUT! OUT! Put on something with style like a well-fitted multicolored vest from Rayon Jaune.
Who is Rayon Jaune? Béatrice: Ingénieuse ès produit. Béatrice worked in confection of shirts and sportswear. She wanted others to enjoy bike riding and to commute to work on their bikes. She imagined the Rayon Jaune project along with Marie and Reno. Marie travels on her bike and so she really thrives on the practical and ergonomic aspects. She’s also a clown. She goes everywhere on her bike in a Rayon Jaune vest. Reno is the designer and inventor.
The idea for Rayon Jaune came along when the law was passed making it obligatory for automobilistes to carry a yellow visibility vest in their car. The last line in the law also said cyclist must wear a vest when cycling outside of urban areas. But why just outside urban areas? Beatrice got mad. She also loves fashion and got madder because she couldn’t find any visibility vests that were attractive. Not one! So she made one. Then another called frou-frou. Three years later, after some time in an incubator, the little company was born. The vests are still hand made in the Jura. Corcorico! And they make you feel stylish – you’ll never hesitate to wear one. Heads will turn, not just because you are visible, but because you really look that good.
In addition to vests Rayon Jaune makes ponchos and backpack covers. They will also personalize. A great gift for your cyclist friend or child.
I love the name Rayon Jaune too – it evokes bicycles (rayon = spoke) and clothing (rayon = department of a store), visibility (jaune = yellow). Corcorico! again.
This helmet with blinkers and brake lights is also quite comfortable. https://bemojoo.com/collections/frontpage These helmets are also available in many bike shops
Bicycle visibility can be fun too
Cool multi-colored patterns for your wheels. Moving lights increase your visibility. They don’t help you see, but they will attract the attention of those around you so you’ll be seen. They turn off and on when you ride so no more worn out batteries. They have a hub mounted USB rechargeable battery. You can even customize the third generation, for example fish, stars, fireballs or hopping lights. These are fantasy fun and make a cool gift to a bricoleur biker.
Battery operated with changing colors, boomerang lights are shaped like – well, boomerangs of course – and they tuck between your spokes and stay there. They are really inexpensive so if someone steals one you won’t be too upset.
For those concerned with grams these stickers won’t weigh you down.
Reflective stickers called Lightweights for Wheels. Tiny little stickers that go on your spokes. They weigh nothing and make your wheel stand out. It takes some time to put them all on, but the effect is spectacular and no batteries needed.
I always say if someone hits me it won’t be because they couldn’t see me! I’m lit up like a Christmas tree!
The above lights will make you more visible, but don’t forget a traditional headlight so you can see too. In Paris there is too much dog doo and too many potholes to go without. Decathlon and Hema (showing their Dutch origins!) sell some cheap but bright LEDs.
Every time I look for new products there are more options. You can go much farther with turn signals (although I wear bright yello reflective gloves that work pretty well and keep my hands warm too), brake lights and lights that project over your riding space so drivers can see that you are a bike. More ideas here: https://www.youtube.com/embed?v=xN8nvvP8E_Q
But can anyone tell me why there is only one person wearing a helmet in these videos? Safety starts with your head, no?
A lot of these fancier lights are hard to find especially in France, even online, and some are really, really pricey, but they are fun to fantasize about and you could make your own. Watch La Fabrique’s Video just for the fun of the video, because you probably won’t be making his set of lights, but you can drool over this set of tools and garage in Paris!
Here’s a couple other articles about biking in Paris.