Instead, they can turn to Hokey Spokes from Illumination Design Works Inc., Belmont, Mass. (hokeyspokes.com). The transparent blades contain a string of LEDs and attach to bicycle spokes. Powered by three AA batteries, a computer modulates the LEDs so that patterns and even text appear once the wheels are spinning. (The cyclist must hit at least 7 mph for the devices to illuminate properly.)

Hokey spokes are waterproof and shockproof, and fit on wheels 24 in. in diameter or larger. They can be used on front and back wheels, and come in different colors. Up to six Hokey Spokes can be installed on each wheel. Bicyclists can change the pattern or text by using a switch on the Hokey Spoke or through a PDA. When more than one is used on a wheel, they communicate with each other by IR. And although they cost about $40 a piece, kids can rightfully argue that they increase visibility from the side, making it safer to ride at night.