I've been biking in traffic for decades, and this is one of the best safety gadgets I've ever used

Flare R taillight safety gadgetTrek Bicycle Corp.The Bontrager Flare R taillight.

I’ve been bicycling in traffic for years, and the Flare R taillight is one of the best safety gadgets I’ve ever used.

The powerful blinking light was specially designed to increase cyclists’ visibility in the daytime.

It is visible up to 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) day or night.

The USB-charging Flare R is made by Bontrager, a Trek brand.

A lot of people associate bike lights with nighttime riding, but 80% of bike-car crashes happen during the day, according to Trek, which cites a 2006 study by Painer, et al, that said “Daytime Running Lights have been shown to significantly reduce collisions in cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.”

Trek claims the Flare R is the first taillight designed for daylight visibility.

It attaches to the back of your bike in one of two ways: either by clipping onto something — such as a saddle bag or belt — or by wrapping around a seat post with a rubber strap.

Based on my sense of motorists driving around me, when I ride with the light it seems as if they generally have a better awareness of me and give me a little more space when passing.

In the GIF below, you can see the Flare R taillight in action as a road cyclist rides into the distance:

“If you take a look at motorcycles, they have got lights on all day long — bicyclists should be no different,” Trek president John Burke says in a promotional video.

The Flare R has 65 lumens, which, for the uninitiated, makes for a very powerful light. But the light’s designers say it’s not just about having a bright light — it’s also about having a very focused laser, which can be seen from afar. They say that a steady light blends in with its surroundings, but a flashing light sticks out and catches people’s attention.

There are now several brands making daytime-specific taillights, but the Flare R is the only one I’ve tried so far.

“Get a new Flare R — or buy something else,” Burke urges.

I bought my Flare R a year and a half ago and have used it regularly ever since. The light cost me $US79.99 through Trek’s website, but these days it’s for sale there for $US59.99.

In a recent Business Insider interview with Burke, I asked him how the idea for the Flare R came about, and he told me:

“I was out in San Diego about five years ago, and I was driving along Highway 1. There was a guy riding a road bike and he had a light on the back of his bike, and it was the first light I’d ever seen on the back of a road bike. And yet you really couldn’t see it at all — the light it was emitting, you just couldn’t see it. And I go, ‘That’s a great idea.'”

“I came back and I said to the guys, ‘We need light on the back of road bikes that do this.’ So we came up with the Flare R. I think that is the most awesome product. I have a sketchy stretch on my way to work here, and as soon as I put that thing one, I could tell that I was getting more space. Whenever I have to drive my car in to work here, I have so much pride when, all of a sudden, you can see, from a mile and a half away, this lineup of lights going into Trek.”

Read the full Business Insider interview with Trek Bicycle president John Burke here.

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