Planet Bike Superflash

by lostcyclingdude

Its tough being seen by cars. So, in retaliation, I chose a light bright enough to blind drivers and induce seizures. It gets me noticed.

I remember the first time we got the Planet Bike Superflash in stock at the shop. Being naive bike employees (remember, most of us dropped out of college!), we all pulled them out of the box and proceeded to test them by staring directly into the light.

I think a few of us may have worsened our eye prescriptions that day.

The Right Tailight Keeps The Commuter Alive

I can't impress enough on bike riders how important it is to stay visible to cars.  Drivers today are more distracted than ever, and you have to practically grab there head and turn it towards you and scream at them to get any notice. 

Even emergency vehicles are finding it harder to get drivers to see them and get out of their way.  

So if you think that having reflectors is still good enough, you need to think again. 

Learning the Hard Way

I've been a commuter on and off for years.  Much of college was spent without a car, and I would literally go weeks without even riding in a car. I got pretty good at handling traffic. 

Now, I am out of practice and only ride irregularly.  I paid for this dearly a year ago when I stupidly wore darker colors for my commute to class.  A distracted driver in a Ford Explorer bounced me off their hood in an extremely painful accident.

Wear bright colors during the day, and use two or more lights at night. 

See The Superflash In Action

Jump to 1:34 for the flash demonstration

The Planet Bike Superflash

I know, I know.  It's pricey.  But when you turn it on for the first time, you will instantly realize what an excellent investment you have made.  

The Superflash typically just have two modes: Flashing and Steady On. 

I prefer the flashing mode.  

Since the Superflash is so expensive you may want to supplement it with a cheaper flashing light.  Typically you can find one for $5-$10 and I find it just helps reaffirm to drivers that you really are there and aren't some  figment of their imagination.

Plus, Planet Bike donates 25% of their profits to bicycle advocacy and development.  So you're not just keeping yourself alive and safe, you are also supporting the future of cycling!

Here is a quick look at Planet Bike's Superflash's 2 different models:

The Turbo Superflash

The Turbo is the top flasher.  It has a 1-Watt attention grabbing LED with two, smaller Nichia LEDs for supporting flashes. (In case you are wondering, Nichia is a top-shelf brand of high-quality LEDs.  You get what you pay for.)

With 100 hours of battery life and water proof design, you are set for plenty of days of riding. 

The Blinky Superflash (2 Designs)

This is the light that I use. I would either clip it to my seatpost with the included mount, or to my messenger bag.  Either way, it seemed to work well to attract attention with its .5 watt flash and two supporting Nichia LEDs. 

I had been commuting for several months before I got the Superflash, and prior to it, I was wearing 3, cheap, blinking lights. The difference in how cars treated me after dark was immediately noticeable. It was a comforting feeling. 

If you think it looks cooler, you can also get the Blinky Superflash in a clear/black casing design.  The LEDs are still red, but its a neat design and some people appreciate the variety. 

 

Updated: 04/27/2012, lostcyclingdude
 
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