Bike lights are a great way to make sure you’ve seen them on the road. They also can help increase visibility for yourself and other cyclists. Bike lights come in many different shapes and sizes, with varying outputs of the lumen.

One thing that people often wonder is how many lumens do I need? This article will answer that question and more!

How many lumens do I need for the bike light? Lumens for bike light vary from 100 lumens to over 2000 lumens. A lower lumen output will have a longer battery life, while brighter lights are suited more towards when you’re riding at night or in low-light areas.

The type of surface that the bicycle travels on can also affect how bright the light needs to be.

As a general rule, always remember that more lumens are better! Choosing the right number of lumens for a bike light will depend on your needs and preferences. However, this article should help you understand how to select the perfect lumen output for you and your bike!

There is no universal consensus on how many Lumens a bike light should have because it depends on the sort of cycling you perform. As a rough guide, we say:

  • Running lights visible in daytime = 100+ Lumens
  • Visible urban commuting lights in town = 50 to 200 Lumens
  • 400 to 600 Lumens for rural riding lights to see where you’re going
  • To see everything on the trail, use trail riding lights with a lumen output of 600 or more.

It’s worth mentioning that most lights advertise their headline price. They may claim to produce 1000 lumens, but they may only do so for an hour if you read the fine print. The same light will probably operate for 2 or 3 hours at 500 or 600 lumens. Thus it’s worth getting a light with more lumens than you need to obtain reasonable run times.

Typically, you’ll prefer a brighter front light than a brighter backlight. A 500-lumen front light generally is coupled with a 100 lumen rear light. This is because seeing where you’re going requires far more power than being seen.

What are Lumens?

Lumens are units of measure describing the amount of visible light produced by an object or system. A lumen measures luminous flux per unit area, and it’s estimated in candela/m² (cd/m²).

Two French physicists developed it from their work with early photometry studies involving candles and lamps at the start of the 20th century. The word “luminescence” is derived from its name!

What do luminous have to do with bike lights?

Lumens are a measure of how much light is emitted by the front or rear bulb. More lumens means more visibility and better performance on dark roads or trails.

Advantage of Having A Bike Light

Having A Bike Light protects you from injury and vehicular damage. When biking at night, you need to see where your bike is going so that you don’t crash into any obstacles in the road or other cyclists.

On top of this, some municipalities require light on the bicycle’s front while riding at night for safety reasons. There are fines for not following this rule, ranging from $25 to a few hundred dollars.

Bike lights help you see and be seen by oncoming vehicles. In addition, some bike-mounted lighting systems offer the ability to adjust their angle of illumination to better suit your needs or surroundings.


If you’re riding a bike late at night or on some remote road, it is imperative to have lights. Not only will they make your presence known to other cyclists and motorists, but they also increase visibility for yourself!

Bike Lights are relatively inexpensive investments that can help save lives in the event of an accident. It’s worth spending money upfront because then there’s no chance of being involved in any accidents due to insufficient lighting!

The most important thing with bike lights is making sure that people see you when coming towards them or behind them respectively. You want drivers approaching from the front to see you clearly and drivers behind you to see your back.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a bicycle light be too bright?

Much like a car’s headlight, a bike’s light can be too bright! However this might not come down to the lumen rating of the light you are using. You should always make sure that your lights are angled downwards so as to not point them in the face of on coming traffic, whether that be pedestrians, other bikes, or cars.

Should you have a light on your helmet?

My rule of thumb, is that you can never have enough ways to notify other people of your presence! Helmet lights are a great way to give people an idea of how far you are away from them, its kinda like a market light on a car.

How long do lights last on a bike?

This can range heavily! Some lower end lights can only last for a single ride, while others you will find can last for weeks between charges. This also can depend on if your light runs on replaceable batteries or rechargable.


The number of lumens you need for bike lights will depend on your needs and preferences. Ensuring that drivers can see you when coming from the front or behind is a key factor in choosing how many lumens to get. The most important thing with bike lights is making sure people see you!