Bicycle Victoria takes these rules and regulations into consideration when they conduct their annual lights test; whereby industry experts are called on to judge a range of bike lights.
What's the law?
When you ride your bicycle at night or in low-visibility conditions, such as fog or heavy rain, the Australian Road Rules (which form the basis of state and territory laws) require that you have:
- A white light at the front
- A red light at rear
- A red rear reflector.
The lights whether steady or flashing must be visible for at least 200m. Ideally, they should also be visible 50m from the side. The red rear reflector should be visible from 50m from the rear when light is projected onto it by a vehicle’s headlight at low beam.
How we test
A range of bike lights have been reviewed by Bicycle Network Victoria and a panel of industry experts in line with the Australian Road Rules. The tests and overall scores are made up of the following:
- Function and quality (80%): The lights are assessed for their effective visibility at night on a suburban road with a popular cycle path, at a distance of 200m, and also at 50m with the lights angled at 45 degrees (to simulate the bike approaching an intersection). The flash rate, where applicable, is also assessed. The industrial design ratings (durability, weather resistance and useability) are conducted by the team at RMIT Industrial Design.
- Price (10%): Is the price appropriate to the quality and category of the light?
- Appearance (10%): Is the light visually appealing?
What to look for
- Good visibility: head-on and angled.
- Durability: robustness and how securely the light stays in its mount.
- Type of batteries required - AA or AAA are easier to get and you can use rechargeables.
- Ease of battery replacement.
- Ease of fitting and removing.
- Compact size for taking with you after you park on the street.
Check out our full bike lights review for the results.