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  1. #1
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    Bike specific lighting color?

    I've read a few threads here suggesting most bike-car accidents occur with the rider being hit from the front. Because of that and because I've perceived a similar scenario at a couple of intersections on my daily ride, I've decided to go for lights-on for day or night riding. I've also wondered if there could be any additional lights one could install on the front for visibility. Maybe it could be a unique color for cyclists. Green flashing perhaps? I suppose green is for "go" so that might not be wise. Blue is out. Something bright and unusual is required. something just for bikes.

  2. #2
    I'm Carbon Curious 531phile's Avatar
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    I got it. It works great both day and night. Amber light. White light is not as visible during the daylight.
    Dinotte 140 Amber Light.

    Quote Originally Posted by avner View Post
    I loled. Twice. Then I cried. Then I rubbed one out and cried again, but thanks for sharing.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Though a bike-specific color would be nice, I simply happy that bikes are allowed to equip flashing lights (hopefully the case in all states)- they're more visible than a steady beam, and it saves battery life, too.

  4. #4
    Senior Member 009jim's Avatar
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    I used to ride a bike to work every day in about 1983. Lighting for bikes was very limited compared to today. Not liking the generator style, I had this whopping big battery outfit front and rear. The batteries would last about a month. Phile has made a good point about amber. Trouble is amber is not distinct for bikes. Motorist might not easily differentiate it from traffic signals or emergency stuff.

  5. #5
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 009jim View Post
    I've read a few threads here suggesting most bike-car accidents occur with the rider being hit from the front. Because of that and because I've perceived a similar scenario at a couple of intersections on my daily ride, I've decided to go for lights-on for day or night riding. I've also wondered if there could be any additional lights one could install on the front for visibility. Maybe it could be a unique color for cyclists. Green flashing perhaps? I suppose green is for "go" so that might not be wise. Blue is out. Something bright and unusual is required. something just for bikes.
    Flashing green is used for volunteer fire response, probably not a good choice for that reason, too.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  6. #6
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    Amber on the back of a bike appear rather bike-specific, e.g. it's the color used for pedal reflectors. Amber reflectors are much brighter to human eyes than are red reflectors of the same size. I mounted amber rear reflectors on the backs of my trunk bags. My blinky lights, however, are red. Blinking is also fairly indicative of a bike rather than another vehicle.

    In front, the law requires a white headlamp, although additional lights may be allowed. Motorists seem to be pretty good about not crossing in front of me at night with my white NiteRider headlamp mounted to my handlebars - probably better than daytime - so I don't see much benefit in being bike-specific. It might be safer to be mistaken for a motorcycle from the front and have drivers in front of you overestimate your speed, than to dismiss you and underestimate your speed.

  7. #7
    Senior Member trek2.3bike's Avatar
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    Not satisfied with red, the police in my state now use red, blue, amber, white, purple (a kind of off blue), yellow and others. There is nothing left. There used to be a sort of color coding -- Red for police, red & white for fire, blue for Snow Plows (VIP here) and volunteer firefighters, yellow for construction, amber for turn signals, etc. But it's all gone now because the PIGS use all colors often on the same vehicle. Our state patrol's squad cars look like moving Christmas Trees.

  8. #8
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    This is my latest creation. The Type 10 now has a string of 70 LED Christmas lights. Since shooting this video, however, I have wrapped the LED's in "lens repair tape", amber on the front, and red on the rear.

    I think amber front/ red rear is the standard, and we might as well follow it.

    This string of lights uses 4.8 watts, through an inverter, powered by a 12volt, 12 amp/hour battery.
    Last edited by hotbike; 11-15-10 at 10:08 AM. Reason: test and text
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  9. #9
    Subjectively Insane MilitantPotato's Avatar
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    That's insane hotbike. I'm guessing that's not just for the holidays, and is a regular setup for ya?
    Stay out of Nevada.
    You've got a bike, so you gotta move.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MilitantPotato View Post
    That's insane hotbike. I'm guessing that's not just for the holidays, and is a regular setup for ya?
    Stay out of Nevada.
    I hope I can find some Automotive/Trucking grade , 12 volt , red and amber marker lights , eventually. The items are hard to find, but I often see truckers trailers with LED lights nowadays. I have wrapped the white LEDs with red and amber "lens repair tape" so it doesn't look totally like a holiday decoration. I don't use the Type 10 very often. In the past year, I had it out in the Memorial Day Parade, and I used it 4 or 5 times to move gravel, for mud abatement in a local trail area.

    I was going to do this last year, and the year before, but the LED lights were sold out before I could get a set-They were ten dollars then. This year, I saw the LED lights early, they were only $6.39, so I bought the box. I'm not sure if it's deflation, or the factories are lowering the price due to mass production.

    I'm thinking how I could make these lights look like marker lights. I don't want to look like I have holiday decorations up year round. I might have to do a lot of cutting and splicing; group the lights together, keep them square, etc.

    There are seventy (70) LED's in this string of holiday lights, I want to arrange them as follows:

    Front Amber = 15
    Right Front Amber =10
    Left Front Amber = 10

    Rear Red = 15
    Right Rear Red = 10
    + Left Rear Red = 10

    Total = 70

    So it's just a matter of re-arranging the lights into little rectangles. But there will be a lot of cutting and splicing involved. If I can find LED marker lights at the Auto parts store, I will buy new.
    The fact is, the LED's are so much more efficient than incandescent, that I can't afford not to use them, for marker lights.
    And Marker lights are what the OP of this thread is looking for, IMHO.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  11. #11
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    I shot a better video. Or I should say, I left the camera on the tripod and rode in front of the camera. Now you can see the Red and Amber. At the end of the video, I put the big headlight on.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by trek2.3bike View Post
    Not satisfied with red, the police in my state now use red, blue, amber, white, purple (a kind of off blue), yellow and others. There is nothing left. There used to be a sort of color coding -- Red for police, red & white for fire, blue for Snow Plows (VIP here) and volunteer firefighters, yellow for construction, amber for turn signals, etc. But it's all gone now because the PIGS use all colors often on the same vehicle. Our state patrol's squad cars look like moving Christmas Trees.
    That's pretty bad; I'd always seen it as blue being unique to cops, and red/white for EMS/fire. Flashing amber is sort of a catch-all "hazard" indicator, used on everything from tow trucks to salt trucks to any vehicle that might move slowly or erratically. At least around me.

    The one thing that's a bit unfortunate about blue being for cops though is that, and this is coming from some conversation long ago as to why blue is used as runway markers for airports, blue light is better perceived by the eye in low-light conditions. So I'd think for a low-power light such as would be mounted on a bike, blue would be the best color possible.

  13. #13
    Senior Member trek2.3bike's Avatar
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    Showing my age. Police traditionally used red lights. The first blue ones showed up in the mid-1960's. I first saw a police car with blue lights in 1967.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Senexs's Avatar
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    alternate with rainbow colors

  15. #15
    Bicikli Huszár sudo bike's Avatar
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    I've wanted to get an amber for some time. It seems to draw more attention than a red light, and tends to come with the natural definition of "caution".
    "The bicycle is the noblest invention of mankind. I love the bicycle. I always have. I can think of no sincere, decent human being, male or female, young or old, saint or sinner, who can resist the bicycle."

    - William Saroyan

  16. #16
    Senior Member Looigi's Avatar
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    I don't think anybody has mentioned this yet so I'll state the obvious: Front turn signals and many rear turn signals nowadays are amber and also serve as hazard flashers. Also the front marker lights on trucks and trailers are amber. And, of course, some people run amber fog lights on their vehicles. So, virtually all vehicles on the road have multiple amber lights, several time as many as white and red lights.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    If the goal is to be visually identified from the front as a cyclist, in daylight, my top suggestion is a neon-lime cycling jacket plus a daytime-visible headlight running in flashing mode, such as the 1W or 2W Planet Bike Blaze headlights running in SuperFlash mode, or a DiNotte in 5-pulse mode. Flashing headlights are probably technically illegal on public roads, but if you want to get noticed... yeah.


  18. #18
    LCI #1853
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    As Steve noted way up above, there's no specific color for bikes. The law in nearly every state requires that you have a white headlight and a red tail light, but that's about it. Some states get hinky about certain colors of lights -- for example blue lights, especially blue flashing, are reserved for law enforcement officers in most states. Amber is a good choice, as it's visible, and many other sorts of vehicles use these lights for extra visibility.

  19. #19
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    I hope I can find some Automotive/Trucking grade , 12 volt , red and amber marker lights , eventually. The items are hard to find, but I often see truckers trailers with LED lights nowadays.
    J. C. Whitney doesn't always have the best prices, but they have a pretty good selection of automotive parts.

    Running lights, including various LED models:

    http://www.jcwhitney.com/marker-and-...2879j1s17.jcwx
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  20. #20
    Senior Member trustnoone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    If the goal is to be visually identified from the front as a cyclist, in daylight...
    If they don't see you it's because they are not looking at all.

    I would be surprised if the OP's comment was true. Being hit from the front leads me to think that the damage or collision occurred to the front of the bike not the front of the motor vehicle. For example, broadsides by either the bike or car, doored, lane changes, reversing onto side streets right hooks all seem to be more likely causes than head on collisions between bike and car. The exception is getting turned into from opposing directions (left-hook).

    It would be hard to test but I don't think the drivers who are going to hit you in the daytime are going to see you regardless of lights or light colour.

    Aside from the hooks and broadsides and clips where drivers just aren't looking at all the left hook by my thinking is going to happen because the driver has either not estimated the cyclists speed correctly (IMO probably the most common for me), or the cyclist is obscured by narrow streets or oncoming MV's. In these cases a daytime running light isn't helping much.

    In wide open spaces how much is a light going to help? If a cyclist is travelling at 30km/h or roughly 8 m/s and it takes a car three seconds to complete a turn, the cyclist is only 24 m from the vehicle at the start of motion. Add another generously slow two seconds of go/no go reaction time the cyclist is still only 40 metres (131 ft) from the vehicle at the critical point.

    If someone can't see a man sized moving object at 40 metres in daylight in an otherwise inherently dangerous situation they are either not looking or are clinically blind. Would they bother to see a 1 or 2w LED? If so and they would have hit you had you not had the light do you want to confuse them by making them guess what the colours mean?

    If I were to pick a colour for a daytime running light it would be 'blinking'. A blinking light is probably is more universally recognized as a bike than anything else. Apparently even more so than the bike.

    I would not be at all worried about the legalities of blinking lights. It would be a community with either far too many police, too little crime and very sleepy streets that saw a cyclist stopped for flashing lights.
    Last edited by trustnoone; 12-27-10 at 01:05 PM.

  21. #21
    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trustnoone View Post
    If they don't see you it's because they are not looking at all.

    In wide open spaces how much is a light going to help? If a cyclist is travelling at 30km/h or roughly 8 m/s and it takes a car three seconds to complete a turn, the cyclist is only 24 m from the vehicle at the start of motion. Add another generously slow two seconds of go/no go reaction time the cyclist is still only 40 metres (131 ft) from the vehicle at the critical point.

    If someone can't see a man sized moving object at 40 metres in daylight in an otherwise inherently dangerous situation they are either not looking or are clinically blind. Would they bother to see a 1 or 2w LED?
    Third option, they are looking for conflicting traffic, their eyes produced an image of the man sized object but it did not register as a vehicle and did not filter up to their conscious awareness. This is most common when bicycles are uncommon. Where bikes are common, they are more likely to be included in the driver's mental filters as "traffic" that the motorist must watch out for. (In a situation as complex as driving, seeing involves as much exclusion as inclusion, the brain learns to ignore most things so that it can focus on the important things. You want your bike to register as one of those important things.)

    A 1W LED is brighter than the turn signals of many motor vehicles, and could cause the man sized object to register as traffic. If so, it would be most effective if it met the expected colors of vehicle lighting.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jputnam/collections/72157604835074312/

  22. #22
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mechBgon View Post
    If the goal is to be visually identified from the front as a cyclist, in daylight, my top suggestion is a neon-lime cycling jacket plus a daytime-visible headlight running in flashing mode, such as the 1W or 2W Planet Bike Blaze headlights running in SuperFlash mode, or a DiNotte in 5-pulse mode. Flashing headlights are probably technically illegal on public roads, but if you want to get noticed... yeah.
    Do your gloves have reflective stripes on them?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  23. #23
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes View Post
    Do your gloves have reflective stripes on them?
    Yeah, I had extra iron-on tape so I added it to the gloves. It wore off eventually, but was useful while it lasted.

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