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Old 11-05-04, 11:07 AM   #1
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Front safety lights - what's out there and good?

Looking for some front safety lights. I am thinking of mounting on the left and front side of the front fork. low.

So there are 3 points of light from the front: headlight, and 2 safety lights. Since US doesn't have requirement for front safety lights, they are hard to find.

All I have found so far are:

Vistalight Nebula, ecommerce, white, 3 LED's
Cateye, LD 120II, REI, amber 3 LED's
Cateye, LD 260 CWC, REI, white, 3 LED's.

Is that it, or am I missing your favorite?

Huff
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Old 11-05-04, 04:13 PM   #2
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I wonder whether safety lights would be more effective at the ends of the handlebars or strapped to one's upper arms. One wants to give the illusion of width, since motorists tend to ignore vertical objects.
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Old 11-06-04, 01:02 AM   #3
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I have a Planet Bike BRT 3F (amber) mounted high on the right side of the fork and at a 45° angle (viewable from front and side). I'll get another one for the left side. I'd like to mount it on the handlebars so it would be higher and wider but they'd be in the way. I also thought of the BRT Spot because it's smaller but I prefer amber for side lights though. I wish the mount were more flexible, like a big zip-tie, which could adapt more easily to the shape and bigger diameter of the fork.
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Old 11-06-04, 01:14 AM   #4
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I'd go with the amber color up front. In the US, drivers have come to expect to see white headlights and yellow markers up front, and red tail/turn/brake lights in the rear. If you put red up front, they may think you're moving away from them, even as you bear down on each other.
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Old 11-06-04, 02:49 AM   #5
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I saw these at my LBS yesterday:
http://www.teamestrogen.com/products.asp?pID=5105

They're called TireFlys. They're little lights that screw onto your valve stems.

They may look dorky, but they'll light up your bike at night.
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Old 11-06-04, 03:03 AM   #6
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My partner and I had tireflys for a while; they're pretty spiffy! Then I got hit by a car, and the front tirefly just wouldn't quit blinking... in a week it was dead. Haven't used them since.
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Old 11-06-04, 03:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca
My partner and I had tireflys for a while; they're pretty spiffy! Then I got hit by a car, and the front tirefly just wouldn't quit blinking... in a week it was dead. Haven't used them since.
Were you hit by the car at night or during the day? Did the Tirefly's contribute to the accident?
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Old 11-06-04, 03:15 AM   #8
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It was during the day, and the tireflys made no difference. The idiot in the cage would've had to have looked IN MY DIRECTION in order to see them.

*grumble*
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Old 11-06-04, 03:18 AM   #9
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Sorry - the vent wouldn't stop. Tireflys are very cool and look awesome spinning on the wheels! For a bicycle, they'd look even better if they remained lit as long as the wheel was moving.

The only real down-side to tireflys is the fact that you can't just replace the batteries. You have to crack the case to do that - and most people would rather throw them away and buy new ones. That's just wasteful and irresponsible in my opinion.
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Old 11-06-04, 09:12 PM   #10
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Since you've already got your headlight for lighting the way, you might check into a flashing white light for safety. When I'm driving these show up from a long way off. They really catch my attention.
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Old 11-06-04, 10:48 PM   #11
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On my rain bike, I use a Zefal bar mount headlight that also has a separate set of 3 yellow LED blinkie lights. I bought it for the yellow blinkie & never use the head light as I have a hub generator & Lumotec headlight. The Zefal uses 4 AA bateries that are long lasting if you don't use the halogen headlight. The yellow blinkies are setup so 1 aims straight forward, & the other 2 aim about 30 degrees left & right. Seems to get driver's attention. Nashbar also has a yellow blinkie available along with their red & amber rear blinkies, on sale now for $7.95. The yellow is just identified as "front". They are pretty bright. Don
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Old 11-07-04, 12:08 AM   #12
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Actually you could get a Cateye EL200 that has 3 LED's that is actually a headlight but will fasten to a fork; and this light has a flashing mode where the batteries will last 220 hours! http://www.cateye.com/en/products/vi...d=7&subCatId=2

I have a friend that tours and he uses a Cygolite Metro (I use the same light) and he then uses two (one on each fork) Cateye EL200's; but he uses it on steady mode. I do not use those Cateyes on the front, instead I opted for a single xenon amber flasher connected to the stem and hangs down in front of the head tube; it's made by Cateye but they don't make it anymore, but VistaLite makes a light called the White Nebula that uses 5 LED's for longer battery life and should be brighter then mine. Scan this web site down about half way to see the Vista, it's only $13: http://brandscycle.com/site/showitem...OVMTC=standard

I get a lot of attention since I added the flasher.

I forgot one thing, sounds kind of silly, but I discovered it by accident. When it rains water can and does run down the stem and throught the headset into the frame. The Cateye flasher had a rubber strip they use to protect the frame from the bracket marring the paint. I found that if I set the rubber strip and bracket hard against the headset water doesn't enter there now. Something I don't think would work with threadless design. Before I used a thing made by Snakeskin that protected the headset water entry.

Last edited by froze; 11-07-04 at 12:14 AM.
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Old 11-07-04, 01:23 AM   #13
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a cateye EL-120 will work as a good safety light, just use it in flasher mode, or constant on if your using it as a legality backup for a malfunctioning or dead front light.

GIven it doesnt light up much of anyhting, but it sure is vicislbe for a good distance.
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Old 11-08-04, 08:57 AM   #14
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I have one of those yellow LED "blinkies" that I can do either blinking or just lit up. They have absolutly no projection and are only good to use so other car and bikes can see you. At night I strap on a headlamp and use my LED. The combonation of the two has worked very well for me.
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Old 11-08-04, 12:26 PM   #15
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I am still amazed it is so difficult to find amber LED safety lights. The cateye I thought was yellow LED was actually white even through the REI URL clearly shows them as yellow. I don't want white as I want faster recognition by drivers. With amber and white they should think this is the front of the moving object. With just white, they may or may not recognize correct motion.

I couldn't find a nashbar yellow blinkie or a zefal yellow blinkie.

I did find one yellow light, with 5 LED's, but can't find today.

A most interesting was a programmable spoke light set

http://www.lightgod.com/store/produc...1958&catid=510
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Old 11-08-04, 01:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Becca
The only real down-side to tireflys is the fact that you can't just replace the batteries. You have to crack the case to do that - and most people would rather throw them away and buy new ones. That's just wasteful and irresponsible in my opinion.
Becca, I looked at a package of flourescent green Tireflys today. It contained two Fireflys and six additional little batteries. Although I couldn't open the sealed package to see how to replace the batteries, the units appeared to be easy to open. If, as the manufacturer claims, each Tirefly will burn for 200 hours (sounds optimistic) per battery change, then $10 per package sounds pretty good to me.

Do you think you had a previous version of the product, or are the Tireflys really less utilitarian than they appear?
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Old 11-08-04, 11:28 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froze
Actually you could get a Cateye EL200 that has 3 LED's that is actually a headlight but will fasten to a fork; and this light has a flashing mode where the batteries will last 220 hours! http://www.cateye.com/en/products/vi...d=7&subCatId=2

I have a friend that tours and he uses a Cygolite Metro (I use the same light) and he then uses two (one on each fork) Cateye EL200's; but he uses it on steady mode. I do not use those Cateyes on the front, instead I opted for a single xenon amber flasher connected to the stem and hangs down in front of the head tube; it's made by Cateye but they don't make it anymore, but VistaLite makes a light called the White Nebula that uses 5 LED's for longer battery life and should be brighter then mine. Scan this web site down about half way to see the Vista, it's only $13: http://brandscycle.com/site/showitem...OVMTC=standard

I get a lot of attention since I added the flasher.

I forgot one thing, sounds kind of silly, but I discovered it by accident. When it rains water can and does run down the stem and throught the headset into the frame. The Cateye flasher had a rubber strip they use to protect the frame from the bracket marring the paint. I found that if I set the rubber strip and bracket hard against the headset water doesn't enter there now. Something I don't think would work with threadless design. Before I used a thing made by Snakeskin that protected the headset water entry.
I think that Cateye was what caught my attention in the flashing mode. The guy was at least a half mile away!!!
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Old 11-09-04, 12:24 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suntreader
Becca, I looked at a package of flourescent green Tireflys today. It contained two Fireflys and six additional little batteries. Although I couldn't open the sealed package to see how to replace the batteries, the units appeared to be easy to open. If, as the manufacturer claims, each Tirefly will burn for 200 hours (sounds optimistic) per battery change, then $10 per package sounds pretty good to me.

Do you think you had a previous version of the product, or are the Tireflys really less utilitarian than they appear?
Most definitely I had a prior version; we got them over two years ago, when they were fairly new. I haven't looked at them lately, and was basing what I said solely on our experiences with those Tireflys.

If the new ones come with replacement batteries, then I withdraw my single objection to them!
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Old 11-09-04, 05:02 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dchiefransom
Since you've already got your headlight for lighting the way, you might check into a flashing white light for safety. When I'm driving these show up from a long way off. They really catch my attention.
Okay, but what does that actually do in real-life conditions?

The people who need to know you're approaching are almost always either 1) on a side street, looking left for traffic before turning onto the road, 2) in front of you and on the other side of the road, intending to turn left in front of you, and waiting for oncoming traffic to clear, or 3) pedestrians, looking up the road to see if it's safe to cross.

What these people need to know is how far away you are, and how fast you're approaching. I don't think a blinking light communicates that very well. A steady beam appears brighter as it approaches, and it's easier to track.

A blinky does get you noticed from far away, but that isn't so important -- if you're one or two tenths mile away and they see you, so what? It'll be 30 - 45 seconds before you reach that person, if you're moving at 15 - 17 MPH. You want them to make the right decision when you're 100 feet away or less, not at 1000+ feet.

I ride with two front lights, just in case one burns out. One is a 5w halogen Vistalite, the other is a Cateye 5-LED white light. Neither are flashy. If I were going to update my light set, I'd go for a light that's brighter, so that I could see the potholes and glass and other krud more clearly, rather than put my money and batteries into blinkies.

The only reason I could see using a blinky mode is if you've failed to change your batteries in a timely manner, and your LED light is going to give out in steady mode. Blinkies are very frugal when it comes to batteries.
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Old 11-09-04, 05:13 AM   #20
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Lights show more of the road when you mount them low. A fork mounted lamp with the beam spreading forward in an oval is very good for revealing potholes, bumps, litter, and so on, much moreso than a handlebar or helmet-mounted lamp, that makes a small, bright, shadowless circle on the ground.

Mouting lights low is kind of like the old trick of laying a flashlight on the floor when you're looking for something that you dropped. You'll see long shadows behind anything that's on the floor in front of the light, making it a lot easier to find small stuff.

Of course, if you dropped what you're looking for in the kitchen, then it's under the fridge. Guaranteed.
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Old 11-09-04, 04:37 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HiYoSilver
Looking for some front safety lights. I am thinking of mounting on the left and front side of the front fork. low.

So there are 3 points of light from the front: headlight, and 2 safety lights. Since US doesn't have requirement for front safety lights, they are hard to find.

All I have found so far are:

Vistalight Nebula, ecommerce, white, 3 LED's
Cateye, LD 120II, REI, amber 3 LED's
Cateye, LD 260 CWC, REI, white, 3 LED's.

Is that it, or am I missing your favorite?

Huff
It looks like you and I are on the same quest, Huff.

Vistalite Clear Nebula has *five* green LEDs, with a clear lens. Seems to have built in reflector but doesn't seem to light up on/around the edges (corners)
Another Cateye is the LD170F from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/cat_eye.asp, three amber LEDs and clear lens. Does not appear to have a reflector but looks to have some ability to show lighting at the edges (corners).

I'm trying to choose between the Vistalite, the LD170F, and the Planet Bike BRT 3F (three amber LEDs, clear lens, with reflector, limited? corner lighting...

If anyone has used any of these please tell Huff and I why you like or don't like it... Thanks!
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Old 11-09-04, 04:46 PM   #22
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The LD 170F, looks like white LED's with light amber cover.

I'll recheck when I get home about that other light.
A new alternative one guy suggested was the Planet Bike FRT 3R
http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1100017434861

After REI, I don't trust yellow LED's in image unless also in description. I bookmarked it in case first solution fails.

hi 'o
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Old 11-09-04, 04:56 PM   #23
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Yup, the Cateye 170 does *look* white, but click on the comparison chart on this page: http://www.cateye.com/en/products/vi...d=7&subCatId=4. The 'F' model has the amber LEDS.

I am leaning toward the Planet Bike model you mention - but when I tried to order from MEC, it said back ordered 4 or 5 weeks. Ugghh.

I found another source for the Planet Bike model (http://www.mtbstore.com/mountain-bik...ies/lights.php) but their text says *white* LEDs. I've emailed them and Planet Bike to try to find out the real story... I'll let you know if I find out anything useful.
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Old 11-09-04, 08:15 PM   #24
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Ok, here's the best I found:

5 LED light, personal safety light
http://www.coolflashlights.com/biking-flashlights.html

small LED flashlight with yellow lens
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...oods&n=3375301

amber flasher
http://www.maxximastyle.com/Merchant...ry_Code=SELEDL

I ordered the first. I'll let you know how it works out.

Hi 'o
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Old 11-12-04, 06:04 PM   #25
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Ok, here's the best I found:

5 LED light, personal safety light
http://www.coolflashlights.com/biking-flashlights.html
I ordered the first. I'll let you know how it works out.
Received today and installed. Easy install. The light is designed to mount on the seat post but works prefectly well on the front forks. I now have 2 extra yellow arm bands.

The light was $12. It has 5 LED's with an amber color. The most useful modes are:
-- steady
-- fast blinking
-- slow blinking
-- progressive slow, 2,2,1 LED

I plan to use with progressive slow. Lights are at 10 oclock and 2 oclock as primary concern is people turning into me. Light says it is water resistant. There is a ring around the lens, but think there may be a problem with the on/mode/off button. Overall thought for $12, it seems like a very good buy.
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