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Old 12-16-08, 11:23 PM   #1
vincentnyc
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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?
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Old 12-16-08, 11:29 PM   #2
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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.
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Old 12-16-08, 11:33 PM   #3
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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
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Old 12-17-08, 12:25 AM   #4
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 12:33 AM   #5
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When it blinds oncoming drivers......
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Old 12-17-08, 12:35 AM   #6
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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
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Old 12-17-08, 12:36 AM   #7
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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
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Old 12-17-08, 01:11 AM   #8
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 01:38 AM   #9
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Your light is too much light when it begins melting your front tire.

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Old 12-17-08, 02:11 AM   #10
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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
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Old 12-17-08, 03:39 AM   #11
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 03:45 AM   #12
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When it blinds oncoming drivers......
+1. Don't want people running into you because you blinded them.
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Old 12-17-08, 04:00 AM   #13
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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
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Old 12-17-08, 04:18 AM   #14
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 06:28 AM   #15
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 06:50 AM   #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.
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Old 12-17-08, 08:02 AM   #17
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Here's a hint:



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Old 12-17-08, 09:08 AM   #18
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When it blinds oncoming drivers......
Not necessarily, that just might mean it's aimed too high, but not too bright.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:18 AM   #19
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Old 12-17-08, 10:18 AM   #20
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 10:25 AM   #21
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:09 AM   #22
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Is that a UFO above the bike ?
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Old 12-17-08, 11:11 AM   #23
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When this guy starts picketing your house...you have too much light.

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Old 12-17-08, 11:28 AM   #24
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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.
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Old 12-17-08, 11:44 AM   #25
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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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