Accessories for Visibility

Biking Around Vallarta

Ricardo Murrieta

Making sure you are seen is key for cyclist safety when sharing the road with motor vehicles. The more you stand out, the less likely you are to suffer an accident from a motorist.


Mountain bikers are especially notorious for striping down their bikes to be as light as possible for the trail and to move the superfluous accessories associated with road riders and commuters. To many of these single-track enthusiasts, safety reflectors aren’t just added ounces of unwanted adornment; they’re as silly as fenders and kickstands.


Yet if they can make the difference in preventing a vehicular accident, reflectors are more than worth their weight. And if they can save a life, it doesn’t matter whether your friends see them as cool or not. So even if you insist on stripping these off your bike when you hit the trail, take the time to reinstall them before sharing the road.


The basic setup for reflectors includes a red-tinted rear reflector, usually mounted under the seat, a front reflector mounted beneath the handlebar, and side facing reflectors mounted from the spokes of the wheels. Platform style pedals normally have built-in reflectors. Other common mounting positions for reflectors include placing them upon fenders, racks, and luggage.


Reflective stickers, glow in the dark stickers, and glow-in-the-dark paints are additional passive ways to increase the visibility of your cycle.


To increase your visibility beyond your bike, high visibility attire is also recommended. This includes clothing, helmets, and shoes with bright or florescent colors and reflective materials.


Moving on from passive visibility options listed so far are bicycle lights. These are a must for night riding, but high lumen lights are now available to increase rider visibility even in the full brightness of the tropical sun. White light front-facing lights are typically mounted to handlebars and/or helmets. Rear-facing red lights are most often mounted below the seat and the back of helmets. Addition LED lights can go just about anywhere you fancy. It would be hard to overdo it.


Many light manufacturers include blinking light options for attracting even greater attention. There have been years of debate about whether such blinking can be distracting enough to cause accidents rather than avoid them, and consequently, legislation in some areas bans or restricts their use.


Daytime running lights are a standard feature in most modern cars. Thanks to improvements in lights and batteries over the last decade, these are now options for cyclists as well. Lamps that crank out 800 lumens or more are considered bright enough to increase your visibility even in full sun daytime conditions. These types of lights are usually sold in front and rear combination packs for the best value.


Considering how are nights are getting longer and our days are getting shorter here in Puerto Vallarta, lights are smart investments in your safety and make for excellent Christmas gifts for those you love.


Remember: keep Puerto Vallarta safe and friendly by always sharing the road with care and looking out for bicycles.