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The Many Uses of Headlamps

March 24, 2009

By Jamez Smith, Administrative Assistant

Here’s a thought for night safety: In addition to a tail light and a mounted headlight, I also wear a light on Head lampmy head when biking at night. These “headlamps” are generally used for spelunking or hiking at night. There are even waterproof varieties suitable for SCUBA diving. But they are great for cycling and walking after dark.

I’ve seen headlamps for sale at REI, ranging in price from 17 to 100 dollars. The one pictured was purchased at Menards and retails for less than 10 dollars. I’ve also seen similar products at Target. Surprisingly, I’ve yet to see headlamps at a bike shop, where the least expensive head light goes for about $20 bucks.  Then again, maybe that’s not so surprising considering that a low-cost headlamp can be used in place of a more expensive mounted headlight.

When walking at night a headlamp is great for both seeing and being seen. In the winter, I often went out with my headlamp on to increase my visibility. When waiting for a bus at night or in inclement weather, the possibility of being passed up because the driver didn’t see me diminishes when I had my light on.

My favorite thing about this type of light is the fact that I don’t have to deal with bolts and brackets. The adjustable elastic strap easily fits over your bike helmet, or hats/hoods when bundled up for winter. It’s lightweight and compact, easily fitting into a backpack, coat pocket, or purse.

Another plus is the fact that the light stays with your line of sight. When crossing a busy intersection at night, the simple act of looking towards traffic, at a driver, invariably encourages motorists to slow down.

And of course, there are all the benefits of having a flashlight with you. Some headlamps, like the one from Menards, also feature an alternate red bulb setting (which I use often at dj gigs). The sense of security provided by additional lighting is very nice as well. No fumbling to insert the key correctly into the lock because, thanks to my headlamp, I can actually see what I’m doing.

It is very important to be visible and have visibility when travelling at night. It’s a legal requirement for cyclists and an intelligent thing to do whether on a bike, on foot, in a wheelchair, on a skateboard, on skis or blades, in a Radio Flyer or however it is you’re getting around after dark.

I’m Jaméz and this has been something to blog about.



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