FlashBak Lighted Safety Device – Enough is Enough

FlashBak Lighted Safety Device
Photo: FlashBak

I confess that I never took this product seriously.

It’s called a FlashBak, and it’s like a little lighted marquee that you can clip to just about anything. Maybe someone can set me straight in the comments. Please do. I probably deserve it.

When I first got the FlashBak, I could only think of humorous applications. I milked it for laughs. I clipped it to my butt and called myself Mr. Flashypants. I wore it on my shirt, under my jacket, and went around the office “flashing” my coworkers. It was effective.

Planet Bike Superflash and Ortlieb Mud Racer LED
FlashBak with my rear lights in the dark
Planet Bike Superflash and Ortlieb Mud Racer LED
FlashBak with my rear lights with the lights on

I really did wear it clipped to the back of my jacket at night a few times. But I couldn’t see myself becoming habituated to it. (And I’m someone who used to wear one of those reflective triangles around my waist.)

However, there was once–just once–when I was walking down a dark road, wearing a black hoodie. I did not have the FlashBak with me, and I wished I did.

Lately, I’ve been seeing even more ridiculous flashy, reflective, safety devices. I’ve got nothing against safety.

But seriously, cycling isn’t that dangerous. If people assessed risks rationally, there would be virtually no market for these devices, and people would wear helmets in their cars.

It’s the persistent perception that cycling is dangerous that makes products like this viable.

Take   a look at my lights. Does this look like the bike of someone who doesn’t like visibility? (You can see a side view of my setup here.)

That’s an Ortlieb Mud Racer saddlebag with a built-in LED. On my rack-top bag, I’ve got a Planet Bike Superflash Rear Light. I also have a flashy rear light on my helmet.

That’s enough! I’m not going to wrap myself in rope lighting, only to be mistaken for a runway, and get run over by an airplane. Nobody needs to. Somebody’s got to draw the line!

FlashBak claims that it “can be seen from a distance of 1 mile or more.” I suppose that’s a good thing if it’s the only lighting you’ve got. But if I had to use just one light, it wouldn’t be the FlashBak. Another advantage they tout is that if you are thrown from your bike, the FlashBak stays with you, making you visible to oncoming cars. They thought of everything.

Almost Everything.

I’m the kind of guy that tends to get ignored by bartenders on a busy night. The FlashBak finally answers the question…

“What does a guy have to do to get some service around here?”

FlashBak at The Tinderbox Annex
Yes, that's me wearing the FlashBak at The Tinderbox Annex in Flagstaff

Thank you, FlashBak.

The FlashBak sells for $30 on the FlashBak website.

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