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Old 10-12-06, 09:42 PM   #1
carless
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Dark helmet, no lights at night?

What is the rationale for riding a bike at night with a dark helmet, but no lights?
Is there a social stigma attached to visibility? This isn't a homeless problem with squeaky walcrap bikes, think Orbea and Trek carbon. I've seen yuppie families, college and grade school kids, seniors, not to mention runners dressed in "Nike" black shorts/shirts.
What good is a black helmet in traffic: at night.
Sorry for the honest rant.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:44 AM   #2
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I have a black helmet, I'm not going to have a collection of them for different conditions, I don't wear the one I have enough as it is. I don't ride a lot at night but I don't expect my helmet to make me visible.

Did they at least have reflectors? Maybe they didn't want to be seen so they don't get their bike jacked?
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Old 10-13-06, 07:51 AM   #3
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I have same "rant" . I frequently ride early/late during darkness due to work schedule but I use both head and tail light. However, my experience suggests that I am in the minority. I come across numberous other bikers with zero visibility and I have almost had collisions with them at intersections before. Same for walkers/joggers. I would favor a law that REQUIRED lights during darkness for any biker/walker/jogger who wants to use streets for their activity.
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Old 10-13-06, 07:54 AM   #4
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There is no reasonable rational for doing that.

The ones I have talked to........

don't plan on being out past dark and get caught out later than expected.

Don't realize that a heavier light can let you go faster in the dark that a light weight one, or none. It's the reverse of weight wenie thinking. But a powerful light is better for riding harder or faster.

Don't really think about it.

Think they can get out of the way of or avoid anything, including cars and glass on the ground.

Yeah, there are some that think lights look stupid.
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Old 10-13-06, 08:01 AM   #5
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I bought my newest helmet, a Giro Xen, because of the safety and coverage it provides, but I would have greatly preferred a bright, reflective color for its shell. (For the record, I do not ride at night without lights, front and rear.)
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Old 10-13-06, 08:37 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldokie
I have same "rant" . I frequently ride early/late during darkness due to work schedule but I use both head and tail light. However, my experience suggests that I am in the minority. I come across numberous other bikers with zero visibility and I have almost had collisions with them at intersections before. Same for walkers/joggers. I would favor a law that REQUIRED lights during darkness for any biker/walker/jogger who wants to use streets for their activity.
And they should keep off your lawn too, oldtimer?
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Old 10-13-06, 09:41 AM   #7
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I guess society has ingrained helmets so completely, that it is taboo to go without one (helmet safety aside, just an observation). I wish we had the same trend with riding skills and visibility.
I feel better after the rant, thanks.
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Old 10-13-06, 10:21 AM   #8
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My gripe is that white helmets are getting harder and harder to find. By white I mean white, not silver or light grey.

The latest trend is dark aka 'carbon' color helmets, yuck.

Al
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Old 10-13-06, 10:38 AM   #9
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I bought a silver grey helmet as the coolest helmet for hot summer days. Dark clothes seem to be the fashion choice in Montreal. The low number of cyclist/pedestrian deaths indicates that drivers are much more alert and careful than the posts on this forum usually suggest.
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Old 10-13-06, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP
I bought a silver grey helmet as the coolest helmet for hot summer days. Dark clothes seem to be the fashion choice in Montreal. The low number of cyclist/pedestrian deaths indicates that drivers are much more alert and careful than the posts on this forum usually suggest.
My current helmet (Giro X2 or some similar name) is silverized grey. I think it is a terrible color for overcasts days, just blends in.
White stands out much better (in my observation of seeing others with white vs. grey) helmets in low light conditions.
Silver grey is also theoretically warmer surface temp in full sun than white, but the temp difference would be so neglible and very likely indetectible (even with measurement tools) thru the styrofoam layer and with a breeze. Silver/light grey is quite a bit darker vs. white than the eye/brain would lead us to believe - these differences in reflectivity can be seen on charts used to compare things such as roofing material.

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Old 10-13-06, 12:45 PM   #11
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I don't know who or what you are talking about, but I can tell you that on full moon nights long ago I used to go for lightless rides... late at night, they were a blast. The quiet streets and the bright headlights would help you identify a car from quite a long way... and they were just easy to avoid. Riding down the middle of the street at midnight on a cool summer night is just one of those forbidden pleasures.
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Old 10-13-06, 12:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I don't know who or what you are talking about, but I can tell you that on full moon nights long ago I used to go for lightless rides... late at night, they were a blast. The quiet streets and the bright headlights would help you identify a car from quite a long way... and they were just easy to avoid. Riding down the middle of the street at midnight on a cool summer night is just one of those forbidden pleasures.
I ride in my own relatively quiet residential hood at night with no lights sometimes - for similar reasons. I go into pedestrian mode if another vehicle is nearby. Even in the possibility a car driver didn't turn on their lights, there is enough ambient light (plus noise) to get sufficient warning to get on the sidewalk.

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Old 10-13-06, 01:09 PM   #13
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I have never ridden at night with lights. I simply use the IPDE technique they taught me in school when I learned to drive. IPDE=Identify, Predict, Decide & Execute.

I Identify the approaching motiorist.

I Predict that they will run me over.

I Decide to get the hell out of their way, even if I have to pull over, or duck into a driveway and stop.

I Execute above mentioned maneuvers.

I also have extremely good night vision and am familiar with all the obstacles on my routes. I have lived here all my life and drive/ride the roads during the day. If I run over glass etc, C'est le vie!

I guess my other rational is that I would need to buy lights by the case! (20+ bikes in the garage to choose from!)
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Old 10-13-06, 01:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
I have never ridden at night with lights. I simply use the IPDE technique they taught me in school when I learned to drive. IPDE=Identify, Predict, Decide & Execute.

I Identify the approaching motiorist.

I Predict that they will run me over.

I Decide to get the hell out of their way, even if I have to pull over, or duck into a driveway and stop.

I Execute above mentioned maneuvers.

I also have extremely good night vision and am familiar with all the obstacles on my routes. I have lived here all my life and drive/ride the roads during the day. If I run over glass etc, C'est le vie!

I guess my other rational is that I would need to buy lights by the case! (20+ bikes in the garage to choose from!)
How do you handle intersections where you have the right-of-way (2-way stop for crossing traffic only, for example)?
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Old 10-13-06, 02:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
I have never ridden at night with lights.
I want to be clear that my lightless rides I mentioned above are special and restricted to a very small local neighborhood area with extremely low traffic. I would never suggest than anyone ride without lights even in low traffic areas. It would be impossible to safely or even practically leave my immediate hood without lights.
Al
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Old 10-13-06, 02:20 PM   #16
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Quote:
What is the rationale for riding a bike at night with a dark helmet, but no lights?
Is there a social stigma attached to visibility? This isn't a homeless problem with squeaky walcrap bikes, think Orbea and Trek carbon. I've seen yuppie families, college and grade school kids, seniors, not to mention runners dressed in "Nike" black shorts/shirts.
What good is a black helmet in traffic: at night.
Sorry for the honest rant.
Because that big clunky light will slow them down. Of course so will hitting a car head on, but they don't want to risk losing that 0.01 mph. It's worth it to them.

But seriously, they probably got a flat, are running late, and just got caught out later than they expected. Especially this time of year the time from just before sunset where it is quite light out and near total darkness happens so much faster than it does in the summer.

Of course if they were smart, they would have prepared to be in the dark even if they have no intentions of riding at night. I always have my blinky on...you just never know.
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Old 10-13-06, 02:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
I want to be clear that my lightless rides I mentioned above are special and restricted to a very small local neighborhood area with extremely low traffic. I would never suggest than anyone ride without lights even in low traffic areas. It would be impossible to safely or even practically leave my immediate hood without lights.
Al
I actually went a bit beyond my local neighborhood... but it was still in very familiar territory and in residential neighborhoods with very low traffic.

I used to live in an area called City Heights, and I would range north toward Normal Heights... all well structured quiet residential neighborhoods and somewhat flat in terrain.
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Old 10-13-06, 02:54 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genec
I actually went a bit beyond my local neighborhood... but it was still in very familiar territory and in residential neighborhoods with very low traffic.

I used to live in an area called City Heights, and I would range north toward Normal Heights... all well structured quiet residential neighborhoods and somewhat flat in terrain.
My immediate hood is a 1/2x1mi block bounded by a 7-lane and 6-lane arterial and a 15 and 19-lane freeway. Yes you read that right a 19-lane freeway!
So that doesn't give me much distance to go without 'traffic equipment'

Al
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Old 10-13-06, 03:15 PM   #19
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I recently got a black/grey Giro Transfer.. and I decided to add a bit of red 3M reflective tape to it.
I put it on the underside of the back vents, so when I'm grinding along, lookign at the ground, passing car's headlights will illuminate the holes in my helmet.
It doesn't look bad in the daytime either (as opposed to reflective striping all over the shell)

oh. and i ride with lights, thats a no brainer.
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Old 10-13-06, 03:18 PM   #20
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Riding at night with no lights is just dumb. The helmet color doesn't really matter as long as the bike has the legal + requirement of active lights.

Additional reflective gear is even better, but nothing replaces redundant, active lights. I have two predominately black helmets and a predominately light blue helmet with 3 colors of reflective tape stuck all over it. I have actually started back wearing a helmet, now that I have started playing around with a helmet mounted light to augment my handlebar mounted headlight. The spare 'bar mounted light that I've been carrying in my repair kit still goes, since I consider the 'bar mounted headlight the primary.

On bright, moonlit nights I do ride on the highway with my headlight(s) off, but this is only when (often, the majority of each morning commute) there are no cars visible in either direction. This is nice, since there are no streetlights, nor any other ambient light sources, for about a four mile stretch of my usual route.
(It's rare to see another cyclist on this route during daylight. I have never seen another cyclist on this route at night, same for pedestrians.)

Riding at night with no lights in a populated area shows a single digit IQ with no regard for self or others.
Except in the case of law enforcement. I have a friend on the Sheriff's Dept., Bicycle Squad, who tells me about being able to ride right up on folks at night, completely unnoticed.

Reminds me of the old TV show, "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows."

Last edited by CommuterRun; 10-13-06 at 03:29 PM.
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Old 10-13-06, 05:22 PM   #21
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The dark helmet allows the wearer to utilize the Schwartz for safety purposes.
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Old 10-13-06, 06:35 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
I guess my other rational is that I would need to buy lights by the case! (20+ bikes in the garage to choose from!)
Somehow you would end up with at least 60 lights that way.

It's better to have one light interchageable to fit them all.
That way you might end up with only around 20 lights.
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Old 10-13-06, 11:30 PM   #23
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Anyone relying on their helmet to make them visible, needs to have their head examined

Pic:



That's a silver-colored helmet, which is sort of a light color. Any good? Nope. The reflective tape I put on the back of it is showing a little, though. The same reflective tape shows much better down on my chainstays, because low-beam headlights are a lot stronger down low at this range.

If you really want your helmet to help with visibility...


...clip a blinkie onto it
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Old 10-14-06, 10:05 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by mechBgon
Anyone relying on their helmet to make them visible, needs to have their head examined
mBg,
I think your missing the/my point. Every little item the cyclist can use to help increase visibilty is a bit that helps. I would never rely on nor assume the the helmet provided visibility, but use it to potentially enhance.
Your image shows a cyclist from the rear at night. That is not the condition I would have thought a helmet would provide any even slight visibilty enhancement in. The condtions I think of are daylight and low light from the sides and/or front of the cyclist. Perhaps also at night, a white helmet is more likely (even if it doesn't much or only on occasion) to catch headlights and street lights than a black one.

Check out the first picture in this thread in a photography discussion forum. Notice how from the front the helmets are very visible and notice how the white ones stand out better, better than silver and better than partly white with colored trim. Check out the picture anyway as its a great one!
http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/re...ssage=19520595

That's it, not for visibilty, but for potential with no other effort other than to pick a light colored helmet over a dark one.
Al

Last edited by noisebeam; 10-14-06 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 10-14-06, 10:40 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr.Deltron
I guess my other rational is that I would need to buy lights by the case! (20+ bikes in the garage to choose from!)
Bike lights are required by law in CA.

The light I have uses thumbscrews to allow it to be attached to just about any bike in 2 minutes. The battery is then worn on a waist belt, though there are other portable arrangements possible.

It does seem like they should put reflective tape on helmets as a standard option. I've tried to use the little yellow reflective tabs on my helmet (as well as for two other family members) but they tend to fall off as the helmets get banged around.
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