Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Cold Weather Dilemma - How to Ensure a Child uses Bike Lights?

We have a plethora of lights; these are all mine!

In a New England winter, when it's dark and roads are slick, frosty, and I worry about keeping warm, well, I don't ride a bike. It's that simple.

But our hardy son is unaffected by adverse conditions and rides to school, everyday. And it's been recommended that he should have lights.

Hold on a minute. Easier said than done.

I'd be remiss, especially as a bike riding parent, if I'd never considered equipping his bicycle with lights. That's not the problem.

The problem is he's 12 years old and it's frigging cold here.

He has the gumption to get out there, but he's hellbent on getting to school before the school bell rings. So, I have not approached the lights issue with him. I know our son, obviously, and safety is, unfortunately, an afterthought. December and January are, quite frankly, the darkest period when lighting is cause for concern, and only in the late afternoon.

And then there's the issue of what kind of lights. Handlebar and rack mounts, where the lights would freeze for hours? (Every middle school kid should have a conscientious gnome sitting on their shoulder.) The only solution I can think of is helmet and backpack lighting where items are taken indoors. But I'm not holding my breath that my son would remember to switch lights on and off.

The good thing is, it's plenty light out there in late January and the issue is behind us, for now. Thank goodness for his orange helmet!

Just stay on the sidewalks, kid, and watch out for cars. And quit telling me how many jumps you get air on, while cruising to school.


  1. You do have your work cut out for you! As a word of encouragement, I'll let you know I went through similar issues 10 years ago, when my son was 12. Today, he is 22, and when I visited him at college in Tucson, AZ last week, he was not only making a practice of riding his fixie with his helmet (very rare for his fellow University students in a warm climate with no helmet law), but he also was using the bike light I got him! It sure made me feel better. They do listen to you, even when they don't let on!

    1. Well that's encouraging! It's nice to see that our wisdom sinks in at some point.

  2. Good on your son, I remember riding my bike to school in Jr High but growing up in Portland Or, I didn't have too much sever winter weather to deal with and when we did get snow or a dreaded ice storm I'm pretty sure I went the bus route. Good on your Son for braving all weather. Does your son have a tech bent? Maybe a usb charged light or something with cool flashing modes would draw him in? My Daughter is 12 so I get the "not thinking about safety" thing.


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