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Old 12-19-05, 10:33 AM   #1
oboeguy
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Red lights in front

Is it just me thinking this, or is it universally accepted that red blinkies and such should not be on the frontside? It strikes me as particularly boneheaded to put a red light anywhere but the backside (I don't mean the butt here, I mean facing backwards, somewhere as opposed to facing forward).
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Old 12-19-05, 10:49 AM   #2
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I'm pretty sure that in the state of Maine you cannot have flashing red lights facing forward unless you are an emergency vehicle, or have a permit approved by local authority (e.g. red light for volunteer firemen).

I don't know about a steady red light. Of course, I fail to see the point of a steady red light anyway.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:52 AM   #3
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I think it's pretty universally illegal in the US. Probably in the uniform vehicle code. Amber in front, white if non-flashing, red in the back. I personally think amber is OK in the back, witness MANY new cars have amber turn indicators, but some states vary on this.
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Old 12-19-05, 01:20 PM   #4
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Red is used on the rear of most vehicles, I wouldn't want to risk having a driver think you were traveling the other direction and cut you off or hit you. I would use amber or white in the front. In California red front lights are for emergency vehicles only as well.
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Old 12-19-05, 03:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ritehsedad
I'm pretty sure that in the state of Maine you cannot have flashing red lights facing forward unless you are an emergency vehicle, or have a permit approved by local authority (e.g. red light for volunteer firemen).

I don't know about a steady red light. Of course, I fail to see the point of a steady red light anyway.
I pretty well agree with Ritesehdad about it being illegal to use red blinkies on the front of a bike. Mine is equipped with white blinkies. So far, state troopers, county mounties, and tin stars in Maine and elsewhere haven't objected.

What do you think?
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Old 12-19-05, 04:12 PM   #6
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I'm currently running blue strobing LEDs on the front of my bike.
No objections from Vancouver Police or RCMP.

Soon I'll be running red spoke POV displays on both wheels, so from both sides people will see red.
I'm hoping it won't be an issue.
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Old 12-19-05, 04:48 PM   #7
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I too would worry about confusing others about my direction of travel. Not just motorist either.
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Old 12-19-05, 08:18 PM   #8
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Maybe it makes sense for a wrong way cyclist? That would be a way to pretend he is riding on the right side of the road, as if two wrongs made a right?

Just kidding of course.
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Old 12-19-05, 08:37 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
Maybe it makes sense for a wrong way cyclist? That would be a way to pretend he is riding on the right side of the road, as if two wrongs made a right?

Just kidding of course.


I wouldn't use red on the front either. Amber, sure... although I'd like for my primary headlight to be the main attention-getter. It doesn't show from a full 180° forward, however.
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Old 12-19-05, 08:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
Maybe it makes sense for a wrong way cyclist? That would be a way to pretend he is riding on the right side of the road, as if two wrongs made a right?

Just kidding of course.

Two wrongs don't make a right...


















... but three lefts do.
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Old 12-19-05, 08:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webist
I too would worry about confusing others about my direction of travel. Not just motorist either.
Is any of this worying necessary? How prevalent is the problem of front mounted red lights on bicycles? I've never seen it. I would think cyclists without any lights at night is a far more serious concern.
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Old 12-19-05, 10:37 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Is any of this worying necessary? How prevalent is the problem of front mounted red lights on bicycles? I've never seen it. I would think cyclists without any lights at night is a far more serious concern.
As fate would have it, I saw one yesterday on the way home. I can't remember seeing one before that. It definitely took me a moment to figure out which way he was going.
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Old 12-19-05, 11:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike
Is any of this worying necessary? How prevalent is the problem of front mounted red lights on bicycles? I've never seen it. I would think cyclists without any lights at night is a far more serious concern.
I see it frequently enough to have made this post. It's not every day, but then I'm not out at night every day anymore. So what do you say about peds (joggers) with red lights in front? Yes, they are common enough too.
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Old 12-20-05, 02:05 AM   #14
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i have a 20w halogen headlamp, 2 x 1w (white) luxeon headlamps in flash mode on front (1 on helmet), 3 flashers on rear (one on helmet)

i'd use more if i had them but they're expensive and it takes some work to manage all the battery recharges.

i don't think cops care too much - they're mostly just glad you're lit up.

my entire bike frameset is covered with white scotchbrite reflective sheeting. identical to the stuff on the sides of le/emerg vehicles, without the printing.

sometimes the drunks fly by me and tap their brakes, i think they think im 5-0 with the scotchbrite and white forward flashers. its a little funny.

i'm gonna keep adding lights till someone makes me stop.
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Old 12-20-05, 04:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
So what do you say about peds (joggers) with red lights in front?
Nothing. Seems like a good idea. Do you have a problem with that too?
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Old 12-20-05, 08:40 AM   #16
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Nothing. Seems like a good idea. Do you have a problem with that too?
Sure do. To me, red in front is confusing. I have an easier time figuring them out if they're simply wearing some reflective accents.
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Old 12-20-05, 10:49 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
Sure do. To me, red in front is confusing. I have an easier time figuring them out if they're simply wearing some reflective accents.
I assume even in NYC, NOBODY has offered up any lame requirement for pedestrians to don "approved" lights, bells, reflectors or whistles to help (visually) impaired vehicularists figure out what's what.
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Old 12-20-05, 11:00 AM   #18
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I assume even in NYC, NOBODY has offered up any lame requirement for pedestrians to don "approved" lights, bells, reflectors or whistles to help (visually) impaired vehicularists figure out what's what.
Heh, fortunately you're right. Cyclists get tickets for not having a useless bell, but peds are spared. However, in the darkness of the Greenways at night, folks should be sensible in their apparel choices. Putting a red blinkie on your chest is asking for trouble.
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Old 12-20-05, 11:05 AM   #19
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Illegal to have a red light up front. Next subject please.
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Old 12-20-05, 03:32 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
I see it frequently enough to have made this post. It's not every day, but then I'm not out at night every day anymore. So what do you say about peds (joggers) with red lights in front? Yes, they are common enough too.
I don't see it as much of an issue. The reason it's important for your lights to give an indication of which way you're headed is the same reason we run into so many problems with cars in the first place -- we're moving a LOT faster than pedestrians. When someone's going 5mph it's a lot less critical to know which end is the front and which end is the back.
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Old 12-20-05, 04:02 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oboeguy
To me, red in front is confusing.
Not confusing at all - there is something there I have to avoid. Their speed is usually so low that the direction of travel doesnt make much difference. This is a result of the ready availability of red LED blinkies. I have a white blinkie (actually pale green) on front as well as two LED headlights, but you have to go to a specialty shop for a white blinkie.
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Old 12-20-05, 04:39 PM   #22
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When I jog in the dark or at dusk, I carry a 2 C-cell CatEye halogen bike headlamp, which I direct forward and toward the ground or flash at motorists to get their attention, and I have a red 5-LED blinkie clipped to the center of my backpack. I always wear a white t-shirt, sweatshirt, or sweater.
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Old 12-20-05, 06:04 PM   #23
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I guess it's usually only an real issue for me when I'm on the Greenway which at night I am travelling upon toward the North. There's horrible glare from oncoming traffic on the other side of a barrier. The path is twisty and narrow at times, so under these circumstances it's very hard to see anything that's not very close. It's very easy to get confused by a red blinkie, believe me. Note that this is where 95% of my night riding takes place.

Anyway, I didn't expect this to be big deal, just wanted to know what others think.
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Old 12-20-05, 07:09 PM   #24
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A cut-and-paste from Massachusetts General law, chapter 85, section 11B, regarding light requirement on bikes:

"During the period from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise, the operator shall display to the front of his bicycle a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet, and to the rear of said bicycle either a lamp emitting a red light, or a red reflector visible for not less than six hundred feet when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A generator powered lamp which emits light only when the bicycle is moving shall meet the requirements of this clause."

I've been noticing people using red blinkies on the front for the past few seasons. Looks like another piece of misinformation has become entrenched. Yes, I would say the problem is enough to warrant attention. Maybe we can nip this one in the bud while there's still time.
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Old 12-20-05, 07:23 PM   #25
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Quote:
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Maybe we can nip this one in the bud while there's still time.
Nip it how? I hope you don't mean "advocating" the siccing of law officers on the less worthy cyclists who somehow upset or confuse educated, avid, or real cyclist advocates.
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