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  1. #1
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Turning/Stopping Lights?

    I know there are people in the Geekiness thread of Commuting that know a lot about lighting, but I mention it here because it also has a lot to do with safety. (And probably some of you here also hang out there.)

    I've been thinking recently about the feasibility of having two side-by-side red rear-facing lights that could function as a turn signal and brake indicator for a bike, just like they do for a car. This setup could be mounted on the seatpost, rear rack, or perhaps a wearable vest. The turn signals would of course need an activator switch of some sort near the handlebars, and perhaps there isn't a good way to get them to turn off automatically after the turn, so you might have to do that yourself. That might be a pain. As for the brake lights, there ought to be some way of integrating the wiring with the brakes so that gripping the brakes would close a contact and turn on both lights as once to indicate stopping.

    The only drawback I can think of is if the lights would be large and bright enough to really be noticeable in car traffic, since they need to be battery or generator powered. Even so, the brake lights would also be useful on group rides, where they would be more noticeable when only surrounded by other bikes.

    A quick Google searched turned up one good lead on a turn signal, but nothing on brake lights except for a Chinese portal site for bicycles which didn't seem to have anything about lights when I went there. Maybe a more thorough search would turn up more.

    Comments?
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  2. #2
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    I think we are lucky that cars even see US- much less our "signals."

  3. #3
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    I had a cheap light kind of like you describe on my bike briefly in the early 70's.

    I don't remember why I stopped using it (I was a kid, and probably got bored), but it really was more of a toy than a real safety device.

    I just mention this to say that it has been done, and went away... Mine didn't do brakes, but had a turn signals. Each one also was shaped like an arrow, I guess to make the meaning clear. I wouldn't be surprised if someone through the years did one with a brake light mechanism as well.
    Slow Ride Cyclists of NEPA

    People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.
    - Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    Burnt Orange Blood Longhorn's Avatar
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    Someone mentioned ordering one of these on the board: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    Maybe you could do a search and see who it was and how it worked out.

  5. #5
    I am not a car Map tester's Avatar
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    I bought one of the Nashbar lights just to get the switch. I haven't converted my tail light to a 3-way 12-volt light yet (like a car taillight: turn, stop, and running). I have mounted so if I don't have my lights on, the lights will come on if I brake (rear brake only now). There are a few places on my commute where having a brake light is good--like a traffic light under a very wide interstate overpass.

    Last fall and winter, I had a geek turn signals on my commuter, and I don't think drivers really realized what they were. I also had to manually turn the signals off, and more than once found then flashing a long time after turning.

    I do plan on working on a rear running/stop light, especially this fall with more riding in the dark. And with our government playing around with daylight savings time in a couple of years, I think we will all need better lights.
    "Bad facts make bad laws." FZ

  6. #6
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    If you get one, Map tester, please let me know. I'm not quite curious enough to start tinkering myself, but enough to be interested in what you come up with.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  7. #7
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    Last fall and winter, I had a geek turn signals on my commuter, and I don't think drivers really realized what they were.
    Yeah, I think they'd have to be kind of big and shaped like arrows. The one I found and linked to looked way too small to be very noticeable. I'm envisioning a vest with large red arrows on the back that light up, blinking individually for turning or both steady for braking.


    Quote Originally Posted by Map tester
    I also had to manually turn the signals off, and more than once found then flashing a long time after turning.
    Maybe incorporate a circuit which causes it to start beeping after some predetermined time to remind you to hit the kill switch if you haven't already. When I was searching, I noticed some kind of device for motorcycles, which must have the same problem. I didn't read it closely, but maybe something similar could be done for bikes.
    Quote Originally Posted by MadfiNch on Commuting forum
    What's the point of a bike if you can only ride it on weekends, and you can't even carry anything with you?!
    Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Meetup

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    You can get lights that fit in the end of the handlebars. You should use these for turn indicators as the rack is too narrow to distinguish a flashing turn indicator from a flashing rear light.

  9. #9
    Dominatrikes sbhikes's Avatar
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    On motorcycles you have to cancel the signal manually. It's not a pain. You get the hang of it after a while.
    ~Diane
    Recumbents: Lightning Thunderbolt, '06 Catrike Pocket. Upright: Trek Mountain Bike.
    8.5 mile commute. I like bike lanes.

  10. #10
    What, me hurry? Boston Commuter's Avatar
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Longhorn
    Someone mentioned ordering one of these on the board: http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?c...eid=&pagename=

    Maybe you could do a search and see who it was and how it worked out.

    That description says when the light is on "steady" that it turns off. Not exactly what I'd be looking for.

  12. #12
    Senior Member geeklpc1985's Avatar
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    http://cs150_1.comp-sci.edgewood.edu...SafetyMods.htm

    I have put turning lights onto my bike, the stop light doesn't work because I have a disk break on the back. But if you have v-brakes they will work fine.


    Good Luck,

    Geek
    Super Geek
    2004 Martin Novato: 10613 miles, Ride in Peace (DOD: 12/05/06)
    Max Speed: 40 mph

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