Pro Cyclists to All Riders: Running Lights for Bikes Could Save Your Life

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Pro Cyclists Are Launching Be Bright, Wear a LightTim de Waele - Getty Images

Pro cyclist Rachel Neylan couldn’t sit idly by after several pro-riders were killed in recent months. Among them was Davide Rebellin, who was killed on a training ride this winter. Just this month Estela Domínguez, a 19-year-old neo-pro, was killed in a hit and run while training.

“With the recent year, the string of events, multiple tragedies that we've had among the cycling community, I just felt a real compulsion to do something about it,” Neylan, who races for the Confidis Team, recently told Cycling Weekly. “Every time a cyclist gets killed it's a knife to the stomach. I can't watch it happen anymore.”

Pro-riders urge cyclists to start using running lights on bikes

To take action, Neylan is launching a public awareness movement and slogan called “Be Bright, Wear a Light,” and she’s doing it with the support of many in the pro-peloton. The athletes are aiming to normalize the use of front and rear bike lights during every ride, day or night.

In fact, Neylan says the daytime use of front and rear blinky lights has become a standard practice for many pro-riders. “I've been using lights consistently for the last few years, and I know how much it really makes a difference,” she says.

Running lights are already a standard practice within the pro-peloton on non-race days

One of Be Bright, Wear A Light’s supporters, Tadej Pogačar recently posted “This is the best safety measure I can take. For the amount of time I spend on the road and minimal investment it takes to use a light it's a logical part of my daily training now.”

Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) writes “Rain, hail or shine, lights are simply part of my kit these days.”

Research shows the effectiveness of running lights for bikes

The increased safety benefits of running lights for cars has been well-established, and the same benefits is seen for cyclists who use them on their bikes. According to a 2012 study out of Denmark, cyclists with “permanent running lights” on their bikes had a 19 percent lower crash rate than a control group without running lights.

A culture shift is happening in pro cycling

While it was fashionable for a long time to adorn your bike with as little extraneous weight as possible, and that included bike lights, Neylan says she is observing a sea-change in those attitudes within cycling culture at the pro level. The goal of sharing pro-rider testimonials about light usage on the Be Bright, Wear A Light social channels is a trickle down effect: if these new attitudes are shared widely, hopefully they will inspire riders who look up to these athletes to think of “all the lumens first, all the sock height second.”

"Pro cyclists aren't going to brag about something they do in their everyday training environment, but it's something I've noticed people doing in recent years, while younger kids and amateurs are not so much," Neylan said.

“We're not saying this is a cure, there are obviously enormous other aspects to this problem, but this is one thing we can control, our own visibility. All we want to do is lead by example and share a culture shift that's happening in cycling, and that's using lights at all times of the day,” Neylan said. “It's about sharing that culture shift and letting that infiltrate among the wider community. If that's something we can do as pro cyclists, then that's an extraordinary way we can use our platform. If we can save one life, that's a win.”

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