Cycling and bicycle discussion forums. 
   Click here to join our community Log in to access your Control Panel  


Go Back   > >

Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 09-26-07, 01:48 PM   #1
chtorr
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
chtorr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Illinois
Bikes:
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Tail Lights: Blinking or Solid?

It seems like most people run their tail lights in blinking mode, as this supposedly draws more attention from drivers. But I wonder if running tail lights on solid (provided they're pretty bright) would be better since drivers would more likely see your bike as a "vehicle". Drivers are able to see other cars, none of whom have blinking tail lights.

I have two tail lights on the back of my bike (Planet Bike Superflash and Cateye LD1000) and have turned them on and parked my bike next to my truck with its lights on. The bike lights on solid are actually a little brighter than my truck's tail lights ('91 Toyota 4 x 4). Admittedly my truck's tail lights aren't the brightest but I would say they're probably close to average. If drivers can see my truck's tail lights, I don't see how they could possibly miss my bike (which also has a rear reflector and reflective material on the seat bag).

Does anyone else think it's possibly safer to run solid tail lights in order to be recognized as a vehicle?
chtorr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 01:51 PM   #2
noisebeam
Al
 
noisebeam's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: AZ
Bikes: Cannondale SuperSix, Lemond Poprad. Retired: Jamis Sputnik, Centurion LeMans Fixed, Diamond Back ascent ex
Posts: 14,109
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 76 Post(s)
I use both when it is dark outside. At minimum a solid (LD1000) and a flash (PBSF)

I use both in blinkie mode when it is dim outside as my even dim bike/body/reflector provides a solid reference point.

Al
noisebeam is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 02:05 PM   #3
flipped4bikes
ROM 6:23
 
flipped4bikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Coastal Maine
Bikes: Specialized Tricross Comp, Lemond Tourmalet, Bridgestone MB-5
Posts: 1,713
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I plan on running the PBSF blinkie on my saddle and the LD1000 solid on the rear rack.
flipped4bikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 02:09 PM   #4
fordfasterr
One speed: FAST !
 
fordfasterr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Ft. Lauderdale FL
Bikes: Ebay Bikes... =)
Posts: 3,375
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
As indicated by the incessant honking from cagers, it seems like my solid 4 led 12v DOT trailer light works perfectly fine for me.
fordfasterr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 02:51 PM   #5
littlewaywelt
Senior Member
 
littlewaywelt's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Bikes:
Posts: 1,508
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I read something recently that in very dark conditions blinking lights are harded to judge distance. This winter I plan on running both solid and blink. Formerly, I've always put everything on blink.
Current rear setup:
reflector rear rack, loads of reflective tape
cateye LD 1000 on courier bag solid
cateye LD 1000 on seatpost flash
planet bike superflast on rear stay flash
planet bike 3 led on seatpost solid
generic free linkie on helmet flash

The point isn't just that they see you, but that they differentiate you from cars. ...that they do a "what the heck is that" and exercise some caution as they close and pass.
littlewaywelt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 02:53 PM   #6
Tappets
almost kosher
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 398
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
both prolly would be best. personally, i do find the blinkies to be rather noisome though. especially on group rides.
Tappets is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 03:07 PM   #7
eubi
No Rocket Surgeon
 
eubi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Corona and S. El Monte, CA
Bikes: Cannondale D600, Dahon Speed T7
Posts: 1,648
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Solid red on rack bag and backpack.

Blinkie on seat.

Lots of reflective tape, just to be sure!

It seems the combination of both solid and blinkie is popular with those who regulary commute in the dark.

I think car drivers recognize a blinkie as most likely being attached to a bicycle. Also, any pedal reflectors or shoe reflectors emphasize the pedalling motion, further indentifying you as a bicycle.

Hey, I always get a wide berth when they pass...

I do not use lights or blinkies during the day. However...I do have a long, dark freeway underpass that I have to go through on my way home...after the time change, I'll turn on my lights before the start of my trip home, since it will be dark by the time I get home...
__________________
Fewer Cars, more handlebars!
eubi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 03:08 PM   #8
AlmostTrick
Yabba-Dabba-Doo!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Bedrock, IL
Bikes: 1968 Schwinn Orange Krate, 5 speed stick shift
Posts: 4,784
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by chtorr View Post
Does anyone else think it's possibly safer to run solid tail lights in order to be recognized as a vehicle?

On dark roads a really bright flashing tail light is over powering to motorists, which makes it hard for them to see around you. After dark I put the PBSF on steady and run a basic lower power blinkie on flash to still catch attention. In bright city conditions I'd leave it on flash.
AlmostTrick is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 03:14 PM   #9
bmclaughlin807
Crankenstein
 
bmclaughlin807's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Spokane
Bikes: Novara Randonee (TankerBelle)
Posts: 4,038
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tappets View Post
both prolly would be best. personally, i do find the blinkies to be rather noisome though. especially on group rides.
I run mine solid if there's going to be a cyclist behind me, otherwise it's on some form of blink/pattern.

Flashing mode in low light (cloudy or dawn/dusk) or the random mode on it if it's dark out. (Flash blinks all the LED's at once, random has one random LED lit up at a time)

On the front I run an LED flashlight on flash mode, and my 15 Watt halogen lights if I need them.
__________________
"There is no greater wonder than the way the face and character of a woman fit so perfectly in a man's mind, and stay there, and he could never tell you why. It just seems it was the thing he most wanted." Robert Louis Stevenson
bmclaughlin807 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 03:51 PM   #10
Sledbikes
Senior Member
 
Sledbikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
i run solid since it can be seen from a distance
Sledbikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 04:04 PM   #11
ghettocruiser
Former Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: dropmachine.com
Bikes:
Posts: 4,062
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
night=steady

day=flashing
ghettocruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 04:20 PM   #12
chipcom 
Infamous Member
 
chipcom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Ohio
Bikes: Surly Big Dummy, Fuji World, 80ish Bianchi
Posts: 24,366
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I prefer both, but when riding with a group I think solid is preferred by the others in the group.
__________________
"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws" - Edward Abbey
chipcom is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 05:06 PM   #13
syn0n
livin' the nightmare
 
syn0n's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: desert
Bikes: '81 Centurion SS coversion, other ****
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I run mine steady. It's plenty dark where I normally ride so the steady is more than adequate for visibility. I also find that sometimes blinkies can be painful to look at when they blink really fast in the dark, so I only use the blinking or random modes when I'm on a well-lit city street, where there are more cars and I need to catch their attention.
syn0n is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 05:38 PM   #14
Glynis27
Spinning @ 33 RPM
 
Glynis27's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: NE Ohio
Bikes: '89 Fuji Saratoga, '97 Schwinn Mesa SS, '07 Felt F1X, '10 Transition TransAM, '11 Soma Analog SS
Posts: 747
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a Mars 3.0 and normally run it on chase mode. It seems to be the best of both worlds. My friend also has a Mars 3.0 and after following him home last night I will remember to never use the flash mode when on a group ride. That thing blinded me numerous times. In chase mode it only turns on 1 LED at a time so it is much less bright overall. When I get another taillight, I will start using one on chase and one on solid at night.
Glynis27 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 06:21 PM   #15
joelpalmer
Back after a long absence
 
joelpalmer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Bay Area CA
Bikes: 1974 Schwinn Speedster 3-speed, Raleigh Super Course
Posts: 603
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Right now I'm primarily blinking (reelights) and as soon as the new wheels for my commuter are built I'll have dynamo-powered steadies.
joelpalmer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 06:25 PM   #16
CommuterRun
Conservative Hippie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wakulla Co. FL
Bikes:
Posts: 4,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I think flashing lights are more attention grabbing, while steady lights give better spatial awareness. My coworkers have verified this after seeing me on the way to work, telling me they pick up on the flashing lights from over a mile away when they see me on the right stretch of highway. We start before daylight year 'round. By the steady lights they can see that the thing up ahead is moving. If they didn't know it was me they wouldn't know, by the lights, what it is or that it's a bicycle from that far away, but it's easy to determine that there is definitely something there.

On the back of my helmet is a Mars 3.0 run steady on.

On me is a red LED flashing reflective vest.

On my seat post is a Cateye TL-LD1000, one bank on flash, the other steady on.

On the back of my rear rack (on a bike that has one) is a Cateye TD-LD500 run steady on.

If I'm towing one of my trailers, the above light is omitted in favor of a TL-LD500 on each rear corner of the trailer run steady on.

I've been thinking about rigging up some yellow clearance lights for the sides of the canoe, like the big rig trailers. It's such a long trailer, over 15' total length.

Last edited by CommuterRun; 09-26-07 at 06:44 PM.
CommuterRun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 06:31 PM   #17
Sledbikes
Senior Member
 
Sledbikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
this beats LEds by a mile and can be seen from

Sledbikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 06:42 PM   #18
CommuterRun
Conservative Hippie
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wakulla Co. FL
Bikes:
Posts: 4,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Fantastic side visibility, but I don't see anything fore and aft. Wouldn't meet legal requirements 'round these parts.

Cool looking set up, though.
CommuterRun is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 06:46 PM   #19
eXCeSS
loves his IRO.
 
eXCeSS's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Downtown Albany
Bikes: IRO Angus, all sorts of upgrades.
Posts: 470
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledbikes View Post
this beats LEds by a mile and can be seen from

Having blue lights on your car (unless youre a firefighter) in NY is illegal.

I'd assume the same for a bike, but hey, it looks sweet.
eXCeSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 07:35 PM   #20
Sledbikes
Senior Member
 
Sledbikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Bikes:
Posts: 539
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by CommuterRun View Post
Fantastic side visibility, but I don't see anything fore and aft. Wouldn't meet legal requirements 'round these parts.

Cool looking set up, though.
cars can see it the halo is a lot brighter, thats how dark it is around here as we dont have streetlights
Sledbikes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 09:30 PM   #21
Giro
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: USA
Bikes:
Posts: 501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Look up at night the next time a commercial aircraft flies overhead. Strobes to get your attention against the background of stars (or lights on the ground if you were in an aircraft above it), solid lights to aid tracking the object once you detect it. Same lighting principle on tall radio antennas.

Based on these, I think both a flashing and steady lights. Two steady lights might be best so that other vehicles can judge how fast the distance between you and them changes based on how the separation between the two steady lights changes.
Giro is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 10:04 PM   #22
chtorr
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
chtorr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Illinois
Bikes:
Posts: 75
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Giro View Post
Look up at night the next time a commercial aircraft flies overhead. Strobes to get your attention against the background of stars (or lights on the ground if you were in an aircraft above it), solid lights to aid tracking the object once you detect it. Same lighting principle on tall radio antennas.

Based on these, I think both a flashing and steady lights. Two steady lights might be best so that other vehicles can judge how fast the distance between you and them changes based on how the separation between the two steady lights changes.
This makes a lot of sense. I may try my Superflash on solid and the Cateye "pickle" with one bank on solid and the other on flash. The Superflash is actually brighter than the Cateye on solid mode (also brighter when flashing). That may be the best of both worlds -- a lot of solid red light with a smaller amount of flashing red light.
chtorr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 10:30 PM   #23
randya
Senior Member
 
randya's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: in bed with your mom
Bikes: who cares?
Posts: 13,689
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Europe = solid, US = WTF?
randya is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-26-07, 11:38 PM   #24
beoba
hrc.org [=]
 
beoba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Boston, MA, USA
Bikes: pre-1993 Specialized HardRock, has Suntour derailleurs/shifters
Posts: 67
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I have a light which does a flashing pattern across 5 or so LEDs, where at any given moment at least one LED is on. I guess it could be considered "hybrid". I tend to use this since it both grabs attention and continually shows my position/velocity.
beoba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-27-07, 12:06 AM   #25
Sixty Fiver
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Bikes: See my sig...
Posts: 27,262
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
I run a solid light on my bike and a blinkie is mounted at the back of my helmet... the extra height of the blinkie is really atention grabbing since it is well above the levek of most tail lights.

Some research also indicates the blinking lights are like a magnet to impaired drivers who will unconciously target in on the blinking light...which is a really bad thing.

I run a 1 w or 10 w led up front and also run a small white blinkie that I mount to the head tube so it's flashing doesn't bother me
Sixty Fiver is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:27 AM.