Is one rear blinky enough? Are more lights too much?

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ejwme
Participant
#

but… but… shiny is so pretty… my precioussssss….

and from the side, where one’s headlight might not be pointing, this stuff is easier to see. In the city, in traffic, I shut off my headlight (or point it way down, or cover it with my hand) when I’m at a red light, because I know it tends to be pointed right in people’s eyes (yeah, that’s for a reason) and I’m just not that sadistic. I’d like people to see me while I wait for my green, as I still don’t have either the cahones or self preservation instincts to run reds. Shiny stuff works from all angles.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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IMHO you need shiny tape AND a Christmas tree worth of lights.


icemanbb
Participant
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I attempted to shoot a brief video of my Cateye LD-1100 using the flash mode I normally use. I shot it from only about 20ft.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/23373646@N07/5218471703/


Pseudacris
Participant
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I want a Stan Brakhage blinky.


Vannevar
Participant
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Here’s a photo of by bike’s rear lights.

White xenon strobe, Cateye 1100LD, PDW Radbot1000,

OEM reflector, relective slow-vehicle triangle, Princeton Tec Swerve.

http://thirdwave-websites.com/bike/night-bicycle-riding.cfm#RearLights

I think the PDW RadBot 1000 replaces the PBSF as the best-of-breed read light. The Swerve is only there in case I lose the others.

I want the guy who kills me to feel very, very guilty.


Erica
Participant
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so are blue lights not legal at all, or just not by themselves?

I’d still like to put christmas lights in my spokes for riding in the snow.


Lyle
Participant
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Not legal, but I doubt it matters. It’s not like you’re trying to board a plane with them or something.


rsprake
Participant
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If enforcement actually occurred you might want to think about it, but it doesn’t and it doesn’t strike me as something that would be dangerous.

Vannevar, that little flag thing you have seems like it would give passing vehicles a little more help understanding how much room you take up with your handlebars.


Pseudacris
Participant
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It could sure be helpful to have some kind of evening clinic to get feedback on visibility from all angles in a variety of nighttime lighting conditions. End of Panther Hollow trail near Four-mile run road?


Lyle
Participant
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Yup, I’ve done that on several occasions and it’s always interesting to see. Nightime group rides give you good examples of others’ lighting strategies but can’t show you the “driver’s eye view.” What’s important is to replicate actual on-road scenarios. Visibility from all angles is what the CPSC was trying to achieve with their point-of-sale reflector requirements, and why their front and rear reflectors are not nearly as effective as they could be.

If somebody wants to supply a car Friday eve, i’d be happy to conduct a visibility clinic. The location you suggest is good for oncoming and overtaking scenarios. The intersection at Joncaire works for a crossing scenario, though I can’t remember whether there’s a streetlight there or not. I think down by the basketball courts in the Run might be dark enough for both. I’ll check them out tonight if I don’t decide to take the bus today.


Marko82
Participant
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Just my 2 cents, but I think most lights do ok in very dark places, it’s when you have to compete with other light sources that a really good light makes a difference.


ejwme
Participant
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hey – night-time visibility clinic to be combined with the next flock ride? when is the next flock ride?


Lyle
Participant
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@marko: That’s a good point, however it turns out that half of all nightime cycling fatalities have been in very dark places. (of course, the other half aren’t, but once you account for exposure rates, the difference is glaring.) In the lit areas around town, just wearing white gets you pretty far.

@ejwme: I believe this friday is midnight mass, but that’s basically what I was thinking. A flock all night ride would work too.


gimpPAC
Participant
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I am definitely a proponent of erring on the annoying side. Probably better to have more not-as-bright lights than one big light that’ll burn out a driver’s retinas…

When I end up stopped behind a car at an intersection, I usually point my handlebars to the side out of courtesy to the driver in front of me.

I lost my bright yellow pannier rain covers (sad face) but I would typically throw those onto my black bag at night for added visibility. I’m looking into some reflective rim tape for my wheels…I’ve seen a few examples of how effective that can be for visibility from the side.


rsprake
Participant
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I turn my handlebars to the side as well, unless the driver was a dick to me moments before.


Lyle
Participant
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Further to marko’s point- where I really need a honking headlight is when I’m trying to see the potholes in front of me while there are headlights shining in my eyes and suddenly I can’t see the road.


Marko82
Participant
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@lyle I have experienced the same oncoming-headlight-blindness many times, and yet it does not seem to bother me if I’m in a car or even my friends SUV (low rider height vs high rider height). Does the windshield somehow block the glare? Scientists?


Lyle
Participant
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(a) you aren’t so worried about potholes and (b) you have huge honking headlights so you weren’t relying on your night vision in the first place.


reddan
Keymaster
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@lyle: have you ever tried mounting a headlight lower, like on the fork or front axle? A lower beam would cause potholes and cracks to stand out significantly better, due to the shallower angle producing deeper, sharper shadows.

I don’t know if that would be sufficient to compensate for the glare, but it might help.

[Edited to add:] Of course, you could always stop screwing around with regular bike lights and use this instead.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I have one long hill I regularly bomb down at night. It’s not that steep, but I probably get up to 30 mph. It’s also fairly busy at night, so invariably I get at least one oncoming car. No matter how well I have the front lit, I get blinded enough that I cannot see holes, cracks, hummocks, etc., for at least five seconds after the car passes. At 30 mph, that’s risking serious injury, or worse if I’m being followed.

OTOH, when I flew over the handlebars last January, it was from lack of light, not temporary blindness, that caused me not to see the huge bump that threw me. Separate problems, I realize, but I really don’t know what technology or lighting can make up one for the other.


Lyle
Participant
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Yes, that helps. But the roads have got so bad that the shadows from the washboard and road heaves then obscure the holes lurking behind them :((

I need to get a functional helmet light again. The combination of deep shadows as an early-warning, with the helmet spot for a close look, seems to be ideal.

Or else move to somewhere with decent pavement, like NY (S not C, and not Buffalo either).

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