Alas, the sun is going down earlier and earlier and I find I need a good solid bike light.
I ride mostly in the city for recreation and commuting. Recreationally, I love riding at night and would love to continue that. On weekends, I'll sometimes ride out to the suburban trails and I don't want to be limited by the sun going down.
For commuting, I often take shortcuts down dark side streets or the street lamps are sometimes out on major streets. I want people to be able to see me (and vice versa) and to be able to see the street enough to avoid hazards (like potholes, glass, garbage).
Re. riding style, I ride a Cannondale road bike and I admit, I ride kind of aggressively. My budget is no more than $80 (but it also depends on functionality/value).
How many lumens do people find sufficient? What kinds of bike lights do people recommend? Anyone have one that has low/medium/high levels or different flashing options?
I never knew that about the Illinois statute. I was only familiar with the Chicago ordinance, which is more in keeping with what you suggest:
9-52-080. Head lamps, reflectors and brakes. (a) Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a head lamp which shall emit a white light visible from a minimum distance of 500 feet from the front and with a rear red reflector capable of reflecting the head lamp beams of an approaching motor vehicle back to the operator of such vehicle at distances up to 200 feet OR a rear lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of at least 200 feet from the rear. [Emphasis added.]
So what prevails, the statute or the ordinance? Do Chicago's home-rule powers enable it to enact a traffic ordinance that contradicts Illinois state law? I think that unless the state legislature has specifically declared Illinois' exercise of traffic-control law to be exclusive and not concurrent with home-rule municipalities, the Chicago ordinance is valid. But only in Chicago, of course.
Where I live, in Brighton Park, all of this is moot. It's rare for me to see front light on a bicycle other than my own, much less a rear reflector or light. Wassup with that, fellow south-sider-riders?
After a few years with different lights I've found most stuff in shops is too dim. I got this from Amazon and it puts out a useful beam you can use to see as well as be seen.