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  1. #1
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    How much light is too much light?

    i'm visiting sf right now...i see this dude has light on his helmet, his backpack, and two tail-light. do u think it is too much? i mean come on...if i a driver is not going to see one of those light....what make u think they will see the others?

  2. #2
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Is the asphalt melting in front of the bike? no?... then it's not too much light.

    Are the astronauts in the orbiting space station complaining about lack of sleep due to the glare from your lights? no?... then it's not too much light.

    Is the energy immediately in front of your bike warping time-space so that you're travelling faster than the photons and therefore couldn't see where you were going? no?... then it's not too much light

    Has there been a huge number of cars being traded for guide dogs and white canes along your route? no?... then it's definitely not enough light.
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  3. #3
    CRIKEY!!!!!!! Cyclaholic's Avatar
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    Has SETI been asked to pass on a message to you to "point it the other way, we're trying to get some sleep on this planet"? no?... then it's not too much light
    There are 10 types of people in the world - the ones that can count in base 2, the ones that can't count in base 2, and the ones that didn't expect this to be in base 3.

  4. #4
    Peripheral Visionary spock's Avatar
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    Are drivers passing thinking to them selves, "wow, that guy on a bike thinks he is safe looking like a Christmas tree. Well, the Christmass is over buddy. Here comes the Hummer"? No? Then it's not too much light.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    When it blinds oncoming drivers......

  6. #6
    Senior Member downtube42's Avatar
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    no, it's not too much light

    sorry I'm not witty and clever like some folks, that's all I've got
    What is bicycle touring?
    "So I kept looking and eventually found that a spark plug had same threads. So I cycled next two days until I got to Jackson, MS with a spark plug instead of right pedal." - mev

  7. #7
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
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    I can always suppose a driver who is impaired and needs a little more help seeing me. Right now I am happy with a 100 watt Cessna landing light and a Xenon strobe in the rear. I am hoping for a powerful RED, steady tail-light for Christmas
    This space open

  8. #8
    uke
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    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
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    I just wrote about this in the electronics forum. I'd say when your light presents a danger to yourself or others, it's too much. That can vary from a few thousand lumens shining toward oncoming traffic on a two lane road to a few dozen lumens alerting a would-be-robber that someone on a bicycle's approaching the secluded path.

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  9. #9
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Your light is too much light when it begins melting your front tire.

    -Kurt

  10. #10
    S E Michigan
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclaholic View Post
    Is the asphalt melting in front of the bike? no?... then it's not too much light.

    Are the astronauts in the orbiting space station complaining about lack of sleep due to the glare from your lights? no?... then it's not too much light.

    Is the energy immediately in front of your bike warping time-space so that you're travelling faster than the photons and therefore couldn't see where you were going? no?... then it's not too much light

    Has there been a huge number of cars being traded for guide dogs and white canes along your route? no?... then it's definitely not enough light.
    What he said I agree

  11. #11
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincentnyc View Post
    i'm visiting sf right now...i see this dude has light on his helmet, his backpack, and two tail-light. do u think it is too much? i mean come on...if i a driver is not going to see one of those light....what make u think they will see the others?
    From your description I'm not sure what you mean. It sounds like you're saying he had a taillight on his helmet, a taillight on his backpack, and 2 taillights mounted to the bike, so I'll go with that. 4 taillights is definitely not too much, especially since they're mounted at various heights. For example the lights mounted on the bike may be blocked by a car behind the bike, but the light on the back of the helmet would hopefully be visible to cars further back in line. Another advantage of multiple lights is redundancy. If one or 2 stop working for whatever reason there are still more lights running; that's why I consider 2 taillights and 2 front lights to be the bare minimum. As far as how much light is too much light (especially for front lights) I think the primary concern is where the light is directed. You can have thousands of lumens shining out the front, and as long as you have a horizontal cutoff and have them directed to illuminate the ground, not shine at drivers' eyes, it's perfectly safe. On the other hand, a few hundred lumens directed into the eyes of an oncoming driver can be enough to blind the driver and create an unsafe situation.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Anogar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    When it blinds oncoming drivers......
    +1. Don't want people running into you because you blinded them.

  13. #13
    Senior Member owenh's Avatar
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    I have 1 on the helmet one on the pack one under seat and one on each rear fork
    a mix of white and red blinkies to break up the pattern
    when I just had the under seat I had numerous near misses
    now I get room

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincentnyc View Post
    i'm visiting sf right now...i see this dude has light on his helmet, his backpack, and two tail-light. do u think it is too much? i mean come on...if i a driver is not going to see one of those light....what make u think they will see the others?
    In a previous thread about bike ninjas, a few posts commented that if you're riding in a dangerous neighborhood, you might not want to be conspicuous.

  15. #15
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Okay, so if I've got three light, and I'm contemplating spending XX dollars on a fourth... I think I'll save that money and go with three (or two, or one). It's like, why not 7 lights? or 15? At some point it just doesn't merit the extra expense.

  16. #16
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    I agree about the positioning at various levels. You have different angles at which your bike presents itself at times....steep hills, sharp turns, etc. It makes sense to have light emanating from as many possible viewpoints. Plus, you have varying heights of vehicles.....a semi truck for example.....they may not notice a slightly off kilter and tucked underneath a seat blinkie. I figure if I have one on the seatpost, one on my backpack, and one on my helmet......and then my various movements while riding combined.....then I have a good chance of being seen by almost anyone. It's all about being seen, not rationalizing which place is the best for ONE light......or trying to figure out how one person might notice you over any other.

    The other HUGE benefit of multiple lights is redundancy. Esp. on the rear.....on a long commute you may not be aware of a light beginning to fade or go dead. This way you have the best chance of maintaining at least one full power light at all times.

  17. #17
    An Army of Fred harleyfrog's Avatar
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    Here's a hint:



    Owner/operator of Fredkenstein™ I
    http://img81.imageshack.us/img81/289...r613833gj7.gif
    You know all that money we spend on nuclear weapons and defense each year, trillions of dollars, correct? Instead -- just play with this -- if we spent that money feeding and clothing the poor of the world -- and it would pay for it many times over, not one human being excluded -- we can explore space together, both inner and outer, forever in peace. Thank you very much -- Bill Hicks

  18. #18
    Senior Member Pig_Chaser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    When it blinds oncoming drivers......
    Not necessarily, that just might mean it's aimed too high, but not too bright.

  19. #19
    Galveston County Texas 10 Wheels's Avatar
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    17 Lux
    Good for 15 mph riding

    http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?id=2690

    [SIZE=1][B]What I like about Texas[/B]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PGukLuXzH1E

    Set F1re To The Ra1n ( NY Night Rain Ride)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7jfcWEkSrI

  20. #20
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vincentnyc View Post
    i'm visiting sf right now...i see this dude has light on his helmet, his backpack, and two tail-light. do u think it is too much? i mean come on...if i a driver is not going to see one of those light....what make u think they will see the others?
    I think that there is too little emphasis on the surface area of lights as opposed to the number of lights. But no, the number of lights he rides with is fine.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    You have too many lights when the ones on the helmet and backpack are signaling airplanes and pedestrians angling toward you, with cars not being able to see them.
    Last edited by Dchiefransom; 12-17-08 at 12:57 PM.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  22. #22
    Shut Up and Ride MyPC8MyBrain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
    Is that a UFO above the bike ?

  23. #23
    your nightmare gal chipcom's Avatar
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    When this guy starts picketing your house...you have too much light.

    "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

  24. #24
    Commuter JohnBrooking's Avatar
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    I think ccdrider made a good point about redundency. That's one good reason.

    I think it's also not just about about whether they see you or not, but also how soon they see you. They need to have adequate reaction time, the more the better. If you improve your chances of more motorists seeing you sooner the more lights you have, then I think multiple lights are not overkill. Cheap taillight blinkies are < $10, why not buy several, in addition to a very good one that costs more? Headlights maybe are not as crucial, assuming you are riding on the correct side of the road, but good ones can still be had for < $100. Compare to the cost of a car, and how much you value your life.

    Reflective clothing and tape also helps, on both you and your gear.
    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

  25. #25
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnBrooking View Post
    Headlights maybe are not as crucial, assuming you are riding on the correct side of the road, but good ones can still be had for < $100. Compare to the cost of a car, and how much you value your life.

    Reflective clothing and tape also helps, on both you and your gear.
    Hmmm, I would say that it depends. In urban environments, a good front blinky is important to distinguish the cyclist from auto headlights. In my case, I use a solid helmet light and a bar mounted blinky. Or is your statement in reference to redundancy?

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