Bicycle Lighting Requirements

Bicycle Lighting Requirements
When riding at night, bicycle lighting provides essential visibility for the rider and for approaching motorists. While bike lighting requirements may vary, there are several options that are always a good idea.

Rider's Vision

Front light requirements are designed to ensure the rider's ability to see and avoid obstacles in front of him.


Rider's Visibility

Rear and side lights, and reflectors are made to make a cyclist more visible to approaching and passing motorists.

Front Light Color

Most states, including California and New York, require a white-colored front light that illuminates the road in front of the cyclist.

Front Light Distance

For most states, front lights must illuminate the road in front of the rider for a distance ranging from 300 to 500 feet.

Rear Lights

While most states require some form or rear visibility, the type of visibility can vary--some states require rear lights, while others require only rear reflectors.


To increase a rider's visibility to motorists, many states require a red rear reflector beneath the seat, reflectors on the pedals and either spoke or tire reflectors.


Article Written By Billy Brown

Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California. An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight,", and, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.

Don't Miss a Thing!

All our latest outdoor content delivered to your inbox once a week.



We promise to keep your email address safe and secure.