Rule number one when going on a night run is to “be seen!”. It goes without saying that safety lights for running at night are a common-sense approach to safety on the road. Despite this, road safety is often overlooked by many a night runner. Some choose to run with just a pair of reflective running shoes, while some joggers opt for a bright coloured running top.
While this might work when sharing the road with a vehicle with its lights fully on, what about the other 63% of drivers that cause accidents due to error, not concentrating or with defective car lights?
Over 4,000 joggers and pedestrians were fatally struck by a road vehicle in the past 7 years, with 6% being traumatic
Let’s face it… if you are out running at night without the right running gear, you are at the mercy of other road users. And if you are anything like me or pretty much every other fitness-loving guy or gal out there, you definitely enjoy jogging at night or early in the morning before the day breaks.
Work, kids, busy schedules, life – you name it – there’s a host of different things that can easily get in the way of you being out pounding the pavements. As a result, the late hours at night or the early morning hours are often the only time you can actually squeeze in a run.
Asides from busy schedules getting in the way, running at night or very early in the morning is an activity often recommended by many experts. This is often because it is the time of the day you can easily avoid the extreme heat of the day, especially during the summer.
60% of all car-runner accidents occurring between 5 am and 8 am, and 25% occurring between 6 pm and 9 pm.
There are also a lot fewer people on the roads. This helps reduce the chances of being distracted and also allows you more time to complete your long-distance run or short sprint.
With that said, running at night or early morning comes with its own set of unique risks. Low light conditions, cyclists, pedestrians and cars are just a small number of other road users to be aware of. In the United States alone, the statistics showed that over 4,000 joggers were fatally struck by a car in the past 7 years. Of that number 0.5% of contact between a pedestrian and a jogger resulted in a death.
UK figures are not far behind with 60% of all car-runner accidents occurring between 5 am and 8 am, and 25% occurring between 6 pm and 9 pm.
Statistics like this are among the reasons why the police recommend the use of safety lights for runners in low light conditions.
Asides from cars and traffic, tripping and falling also present an additional risk. Having a safety light will help you to watch your own footing and also ensure you are super obvious to everyone you are sharing the road with.
At the very least you should get a pair of knuckle lights to run with. These are great options to have as they move with each arm swing, increasing the chances of you being seen. From afar, your running hand movements give the impression that you are running in pairs, alerting people around you to your presence.
Head torches like the Fenix HL60R are also great options to have if you want to couple a chest running light with a head torch
Things To Consider in a Safety Light
If you have decided to buy a safety light for running then you are well along the way to ensuring your safety when on the road. You wouldn’t drive a car without a seatbelt on. Nor would you ride a motorbike without a helmet on. So why go out running without the right equipment?
Safety lights also come with the added benefit of making your running sessions safer, more fun, and will boost your confidence.
However, there are a number of factors you need to consider before deciding on the right jogging safety light for you. Some of these factors include:
Safety Light Style
Safety lights for runners come in several different styles. It could be head torch, handheld flashlight, chest running light, shoe light or armbands. You need to consider the various options and then decide on the style that works best for you.
There are no surprises that the quality of all running safety lights is not the same. That’s why the three mentioned below are safety lights I own and have used repeatedly. The last thing you need in the middle of a run is for your safety light to randomly die on you or just come loose in the middle of your session. As such, thinking about the quality of your light is a top priority when shopping for your late-night running gear.
While you should ideally not let price be the leading motivation behind your purchase, it is worth being aware of it. I have listed the best prices for the safety lights on the list below from various stores. You should, however, focus on getting a quality safety light for running. Not just the cheapest option you can lay your hands on. I believe if you can’t afford what you want, just wait to get the right thing, saves you from buying twice.
Top Safety Lights For Runners
Kalenji Run Light
The Kalenji Run Light is a chest running light that amazingly only requires a recharge once every 6 months of use. It comes with a maximum of 250 lumens of super brightness and can illuminate 30 to 50 meter away making it the perfect safety light for very fast runners. It also comes with a red backlight warning triangle.
The design of this safety light makes it stand out. You can strap it on without even noticing that it is there. As a bonus, you get dual pockets running waist bag with reflective stripe and stretchable belt for safe-keeping your belongings such as your smartphone.
The best online price I have found for Kalenji Run Light is with Decathlon UK. The light has three modes which include high beam – 250 lumens, low beam – 125 lumens, and a flash mode. It can be charged with a USB cable. One-charge lasts 3 to 5 hours depending on the light mode you are using.
Overall, the Kalenji Running Light is a high-quality chest light you can count on to keep you safe. Whether running late at night or early in the morning, you can count on this safety light to properly see what’s in front of you and be seen from the front and the rear.
- Super bright
- Battery life display when first switched on
- 3 light modes & £ flashing Rear LEDs
- Easy to wear
- IPX4 water protected from all sides
- Automatically switches to the low economic mode when used extensively in the brightest mode.
- Only suitable for running, not cycling.
Zenoplige Running Light
This Zenoplige Running Light is another super-bright running light you should consider. It has half the battery life of the Kaleji Run light above at 1200MA but it is very bright with a light output of 300 lumens. It can illuminate an area of between 30 – 50 metres to keep you away from potential dangers when running or walking at night.
Zenoplige Running Light comes with an adjustable elastic chest strap which makes it very easy to adjust the length and tightness to suit your body perfectly. The chest light also utilises a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery and can provide up to 5 hours of constant light following 5 hours of charge with a USB cable.
Overall, Zenoplige Chest Running Light is a really good alternative running light to the Kalenji Run light. It is and super-easy to wear but requires more regular charging than the Kalenji.
- 180 lumens output
- Adjustable length and tightness
- 3 light modes
- Rechargeable battery
- Chest strap quality is not great
WESTGIRL Running Light
The WESTGIRL Running Light is one of the more sophisticated running lights in the congested running light market that not just works well but also comes at a very affordable price. It is designed with runner’s safety in mind.
The super bright LED safety light with a red warning light on the back lets you see where you are going and also lets other road users see you easily and on-time.
It is super comfortable to wear and run. You can easily strap it on your body while you run hands-free. It is lightweight and will never hinder your motion in any way. You can set the light to high, medium or low. The 90-degree adjustable beam was added to meet runner’s requirements for uphill and downhill slopes. The water-resistant design of this light means you can use even when it is raining outside.
Overall, WESTGIRL Running Light is the perfect safety light for running, walking, jogging, camping, hiking, fishing mountaineering, and so much more. It can be used for a great number of low light conditioned activities that require your hands to be free. It is also one of the most affordable, often reviewed safety lights on Amazon.
- Super bright
- Easily adjustable
- 90-degree beam for uphill and downhill movements
- Long-battery life
- No additional pocket for smartphones
Final Thoughts on Road Safety when Running
- Where possible, explore the option of running in pairs or in a group. 66% of the accidents usually occur to people running on their own.
- If you often listen to music when running then try reducing the volume to allow you to hear surrounding sounds. Or get yourself some decent bone conduction headphones that will leave your ears free to hear the vehicles and dangers around you while also enjoying your music.
- Limit running during rush hour where there is a substantial increase in road cars and traffic
- If conducive, run against traffic. It increases the chances of you being seen with your chest run light on.
While the statistics about the runners-car collisions is scary, you can avoid becoming one by adopting some of the pointers above.
You need to ensure that you can see clearly everything around you and be seen when you are running in a low-light conditions.
If possible, you should never run at night or in the early morning hours without the appropriate safety light for running at night. If you do decide on any of the chest running lights mentioned above – especially the Kalenji Run Light – you will feel safer and more confident the next time you step out for your nocturnal jog.