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Half of school children walked or biked to school in 1969, but only 13 percent were doing it in 2009.

New video shows crucial need for lights while biking at night



October 28, 2015

Media Contact: 
Ted Villaire
Active Transportation Alliance
Communications Director 
O: (312) 216-0484
C: (312) 563-1118


New video shows crucial need for lights while biking at night — especially with coming time change
See before-and-after examples of the difference bike lights make in boosting visibility for drivers


Chicago, Ill: October 28, 2015 — When the end of Daylight Savings Time snatches a full hour of our daylight this weekend, many Chicagoland residents who commute to work on their bikes will be riding home in the dark. This time change signals a perfect time to ensure you have functional front and rear lights on your bike. 

As spelled out in a lively new video created by the Active Transportation Alliance — a local advocacy group that works to improve conditions for biking, walking and transit in Chicagoland — proper illumination while biking is a crucial safety measure that makes you visible to people driving cars. 

The video features a dramatic series of before-and-after examples showing the difference bike lights make in heightening your visibility for drivers. And it’s not just darkness working against bicyclists riding in the dark — but also factors like driver distraction, weather conditions, dirty windshields and visual clutter on the roadway that can contribute to people biking being invisible to drivers. 

Using bike lights at night is not only an essential safety measure, it’s also the law. Chicago and Illinois laws require a front light and a rear reflector when riding at night (And most Chicagoland suburban communities also have similar laws on the books). In addition to following these legal requirements, Active Trans recommends adding a red flashing light at the rear of the bike. 

You can also boost your visibility with reflective clothing and reflectors attached to your bike. Wearing brighter colors can help, too. 

LED bike lights are cheap, bright and long lasting. But beware, batteries die and lights sometimes break. Some people equip their bikes with multiple front and multiple rear lights, or always pack extra batteries, so that if one light goes out unexpectedly they don’t have to finish their ride in the dark. 

The video recommends buying LED lights that are at least 100 lumens in brightness, and using a new generation of lights that are USB rechargeable. 

See the video. 

For more safety tips on biking, check out our Everyday Biking Guide. 


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The Active Transportation Alliance is a non-profit, member-based advocacy organization that works to make bicycling, walking and public transit so safe, convenient and fun that we will achieve a significant shift from environmentally harmful, sedentary travel to clean, active travel. The organization builds a movement around active transportation, encourages physical activity, increases safety and builds a world-class transportation network. Formerly the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the Active Transportation Alliance is supported by more than 7,000 members and 1,000 volunteers. For more information about the Active Transportation Alliance, visit or call 312.427.3325.