UV Handlebar Light


Introduction: UV Handlebar Light

Bike lights have improved in brightness but they tend to focus on just lighting the cyclists path. This single point of light makes it difficult for other road users to determine speed and direction of the rider, especially when the bike is coming directly at them.

The solution is to give other road users more reference points by highlighting the cyclist to create a more visible size and shape.

This isn't really a make so much as a purchase and attach. Total time is under 2 minutes and cost was less than £10. I've seen similar solutions that use a standard torch but that just seems like a stupid way to ruin your night-vision.

## Update: Due to concerns raised about the safety of UV light at either high levels or with prolonged exposure I recommend that you review all guidelines and safety instructions on any UV equipment you purchase. ##

Step 1: Buy a UV Lamp

Find a bright UV lamp on the Internet. I've bought a couple of Ultrafire CREE LED flashlights in the past and have been happy with them so opted to the 3 watt UV version (cost of about £8).

## Update: Due to concerns raised about the safety of UV light at either high levels or with prolonged exposure I recommend that you review all guidelines and safety instructions on any UV equipment you purchase. ##

That's the hard part over now you have to sit back and wait for it to arrive. If it doesn't already come with a handlebar mount then have a shop around for a cheap clamp (cost £1).

When it all arrives simply mount the UV lamp on the handlebars in the same way as a normal front facing light, just pointing backwards.

note: my Monkeylectric light illuminating the front wheel in purple.

Step 2: Wear Something Florescent

As we all know florescent material will 'glow' under UV light, like something from an 80's dance floor. So grab your florescent jacket and that's it; head out for a night time ride.

You'll need to play with the angle of the beam to light enough of you but without it pointing directly in you face as unless you are wearing novelty spectacles it's wasting the light. Not that it matters as it doesn't interfere with your night vision.

I found an added bonus is the reflected light from my jacket illuminates my cycle computer so I can see my speed and read my map.



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    I don't think that's the best idea in the world... That UV lighting isn't really healthy to your skin and especially your eyes

    Too bad you can't put sunscreen on your eyes...

    I applaud the idea but I too have concerns about your execution. The distance between your source and your eyes is not more than 3ft and the apparent power is a direct function of Distance from Source. Also LEDs are more efficient users of input voltage than CFL or Incandescent and it is therefore not a direct comparison to the dance floor lights.


    This link is the responses to the OPs question of UV LED safety. He was asking about 10mW LEDs and received many replies and a link to several safety papers. The short of it is that @1m that 10mW UV LED could be stared at for 20hrs before exposure level was considered dangerous. Yours is 3W!

    You could accomplish the results you are after using something much less powerful and with less risk. You only get one set of eyes.

    Cycle Safe! I enjoyed riding in the UK while I was living there in the '90s

    2 replies

    So any suggestions on improving this setup?
    I already wear safety glasses which have (some) UV protection. Also as you can see from the photo the main beam hits my chest, in fact from my riding position I can't see the bulb.
    Added to that it is 20 mins 5 days a week during a couple of darker winter months.
    Would be great to redo it and alleviate and safety concerns.

    Since you have a nice setup and I am sure you don't want to damage the light you bought, I think that an easy and inexpensive solution would be to try the lens of a cheap pair of sunglasses (plastic lenses) that provide some UVA/UVB protection. Even if they say 99% that would leave 30mW of your 3W light getting through. If you notice a reduction but the still get a good glow from your protective gear then trim the lens to fit just inside the flashlight for a snug fit. Maybe a drop of PVA or hot glue to hold in place over bumpy sections.

    I think it would be safer to add lights to the rider - glancing down towards the road will completely wreck your night vision, and spending extended amounts of time with a UV light shining towards your face/eyes is not going to be healthy.

    3 replies

    No. One of the biggest points of using a UV light is that it doesn't wreck your night vision. I've been using this setup for 18 months without any issues.

    UV light might not damage your night vission but it isthe UV component of the light from arc welding that causes the sore itch gritty feeling known as arc eye

    This is a 3w UV torch; pubs and clubs use multiple 40w UV lights to light dance floors etc. I'm not an expert on the health impacts of low levels of UV but I suspect I'd be more at risk when I cycle in normal sunshine.