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12.11.2021

With the bike visible and safe through autumn and winter

Rechargeable battery bike lighting needs a test mark and must not dazzle

Autumn is just the right moment for a light check on the bike. Because good light can save lives when the days get shorter and the nights longer. Bike lighting is necessary to see well yourself and not be overlooked by other traffic participants. Today there is a multitude of functions. But not all bikers are allowed to use them all. An overview of the different luminaires and light settings can be helpful.

Rechargeable battery light
Rechargeable battery light is allowed to be used since 2013, but must have the approval of the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Motor Transport Authority) – accordingly, the lamp bears the wave symbol and the marking “K“, followed by a number.

Important: The cut-off line must be recognizable during driving and a charge level indicator must be available. Rechargeable Battery lights may also be used as an additional light to the dynamo headlight and rear light. The same applies to battery lights. But they often lack a charge level indicator – then these models are not approved for use in German traffic and are considered only as additional lighting.

Practical at traffic light: Rechargeable battery light keeps shining even when stationary, while hub dynamo lighting goes off. In this case lighting with parking lights are handy. They use an integrated capacitor.

Trailer light

There is a rule of thumb for bicycle trailer lighting: In case that at least 50 percent of the bicycle tail light is concealed, the trailer needs an extra red tail light. Additionally two white reflectors have to be mounted in the front and two red ones in the rear.

Flashing light
Flashing lights attract attention. However, the flashing mode is prohibited on bikes. Whereas additional front or rear lights worn on the body are allowed.

Dynamo headlights
Classic bike lighting is the side rotor dynamo. Nowadays the lighting of modern bikes is powered by a low-maintenance hub dynamo. The headlights – today mostly with powerful LEDs – illuminate the roadway well.

Pedelecs
Power converter supply special headlights for e-bikes with energy – and have a much better performance than dynamo headlights. Also the high beam of e-bikes can be switched on outside of villages. As always: Oncoming traffic must not be blinded. Small motorcycles require an illuminated license plate.

Bend lighting is a new mode of bike lighting, currently still exclusively for e-bikes. A movable bracket ensures that the headlights adapt to the steering movements and corners are better illuminated.

Cut-off line

When setting LED bicycle lighting, the cut-off line plays an important role. It has to be visible with every headlight. With properly adjusted LED luminaires, it is visible on the road. However, if the angle of inclination is too low, the light cone falls directly in front of the wheel – the rest of the route is then only insufficiently illuminated. If, on the other hand, the angle of inclination is too high, there is a risk of dazzling the other road users.

Tail light
According to Straßenverkehrs-Zulassungs-Ordnung (StVZO, Road Traffic Licensing Regulations) bicycles and pedelecs require a red tail light. Size and design may vary: Small models are attached to the mudguard or the chain stay, larger ones are better attached to the luggage rag. Since 2018 the z reflector may also be integrated into the tail light. Alternatively a battery light can be attached to the mudguard.

Daytime running light

For more visibility some headlights have a daytime running light. In its basic settings it runs with two Lux. Sensors recognize the changed light conditions in dusk and swan und change to dimming mode with cut-off light.

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