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've 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 $79.99 through Trek's website, but these days it's for sale there for $59.99.
"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 .