Daytime Running Lights for Cycling Explained

Founder, Mr. Mamil

In recent years, the term Daytime Running Lights, DRL, has become increasingly popular in bike lights.

What actually is Daytime Running Lights?

Daytime Running Lights are meant to be used while riding during the day. DRL is not meant for you to see, but instead, for you to be seen.

DRL has been around in the automotive industry for a long time. Countries like the U.S., Canada, Scandinavia, and European Union have laws requiring vehicles to have DRL.

As for DRL bike lights, they’re designed with interruptive flash patterns, focus, and range to catch the drivers’ attention, ensuring you’re visible from a distance. More and more brands are jumping on board and including DRL in their bike lights lineup. While their implementation could differ slightly, they all achieve the same objective.

Some examples include :

  • Exposure Lights. All their lights, both head, and tail have DRL. It’s called DayBright.
  • Lezyne. A handful of models have DRL, with more to come.
  • See Sense. The feature is called BEAM. It includes a smart sensor that detects your speed and light conditions and adapts the output to suit.
  • Bontrager. Day Flash from Trek’s parts brand has both front and rear daytime lights that have been designed specifically for daytime use. They include adaptive focus and range and include a flashing mode.
  • Niterider. Daylight Visible Flash offer both front and rear lights tuned for daytime conditions.

If you plan to buy bike lights, Daytime Running Lights is an important feature you should consider having.

Importance of Daytime Running Lights

The main reason to use lights during the day is safety and visibility.

While the lights don’t help you to see, they make you visible while riding in shaded areas, places where the light constantly changes, or beside parked cars. The lights will catch the drivers’ attention, ensuring they know you’re there or approaching.

A controlled experiment done in Denmark that studied the safety effects of permanent running lights for bicycles from 2004 to 2005 showed a 19% reduction in cyclists’ accidents with the usage of DRL.

Alex Lee at Mr.Mamil

Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.

He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.