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Old 11-12-04, 08:30 PM   #1
mcavana
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since everyone seems to be talking about night driving and lights, i figured i would throw in one more question. not many night riders around here at all. actualy can't remember the last time i saw one with proper lights. I have a cygolite headlight, and two red lights for the back / one on my seat post, one on the back of my helmet... anyway the question is this... is it better for the rear to be on flash or steady? or should one be set one way and one the other??? talking about both dusk and total darkness conditions. my commute home is on both lighted and unlighted streets / both busy and not busy
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Old 11-12-04, 08:36 PM   #2
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I don't worry about it. I just worry about being visible. I have the blinker that gives me a choice of being a steady blinking, or a strobe that goes left to right, or just a straight up light. I just vary it depending on my mood. I also have those LED's for my dropouts, and I always use that one for blinking. I just think it looks better if they blink. But overall, the main thing is to make sure you have bright lights and enough reflective gear to be visible for cars.

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Old 11-12-04, 08:38 PM   #3
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I'm a non-blinker myself. Blinking lights confuse some people's brains, and are said to attract drunk drivers. Blinking lights also make it more difficult for the driver to figure out what your size/shape/distance is.
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Old 11-12-04, 08:39 PM   #4
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I have one blink and one steady. that works pretty well.
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Old 11-12-04, 08:40 PM   #5
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I spoke to a group of California Highway Patrol officers and Sheriffs about this same question roughly 20 years ago and they all said to flash the rear lights. When asked why, they said because the flashing attracts the attention of the driver more then a steady light. So then I asked why don't motorcycles do this then, their answer was that since they are driving a the same speed as a car and the tailight is larger that the drivers know that it's a faster moving object and identify that with a motor vehicle; but bikes cannot use a light that large and are not in traffic lanes moving at the same speed as the cars, so the the flashing alerts the driver to a smaller slower moving vehicle is on the road. That's basically in a nut shell from what I remember that they said.

Interesting note; when I moved to Indiana I moved close to where the Amish people live and still ride in horse and buggys down the highways; at night they use flashing red lights.
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Old 11-12-04, 09:47 PM   #6
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since they are driving a the same speed as a car
That's the very reason I keep my main rear light blinking. It says I'm a slow moving vehicule. I have 5 other lights on my bike, all set on solid. One white headlight, 2 amber side-light on front and 2 more red side light on rear. Side lights are angled to be seen from side and front/rear. The rear is set on blinky since I can't see the cars coming fast behind. Other lights are set solid because I can see the cars so I prefer them to think I'm faster than I really am (I look somewhat like a motorcycle) and blinkers are just downright annoying (for me and them).

This is for my commuting bike. If this were for a light road bike with "just-in-case" lights, I'd probably go with front and rear blinkies.
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Old 11-12-04, 10:08 PM   #7
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Our bicycle police officers always set their back lights in the back-and-forth blink mode. The lights stay on whenever the officers are on their bikes... even during daylight hours.
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Old 11-12-04, 10:27 PM   #8
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Hmm... http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-40214.
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Old 11-13-04, 08:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by froze
when I moved to Indiana I moved close to where the Amish people live and still ride in horse and buggys down the highways; at night they use flashing red lights.
Must be them Indiana Amish are more modern then our upstate NY'er Amish. They just hang a totally useless kerosene lantern on the back. NOthing like coming up on one of them in the pitch black.

I'm always humored by the fact that drivers seem to pay more attention, heed to the Amish (who are thick as theives up here) then to me as a cyclist. Maybe I should mod my gear to look more Amish like, take to wearing the straw hat.



On topic part: I run three lights on the back, blinky (1) on the seatpost, steady (2) on the backpack.
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Old 11-13-04, 10:24 AM   #10
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Flashing is more noticable. Steady is more visible.
By that I mean with flashing, they'll notice something there but it takes them harder to track down what it is. In fact, if you're going where there's a lot of traffic, at a glance, flashing just looks like the rear of another car going between the trees sometimes.
With visible, you're not as likely to attract attention than flashing but once the driver notices you, it's easier to get a fix on where/what you are along with your speed and direction.
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Old 11-13-04, 07:04 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcavana
I have a cygolite headlight, and two red lights for the back / one on my seat post, one on the back of my helmet...is it better for the rear to be on flash or steady? or should one be set one way and one the other???
A flashing light is good for attracting attention, while a steady light is good for a passing vehicle to track your position. As long as each rear light is adequately bright, I'd set one for flash and one for steady.
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Old 11-13-04, 07:13 PM   #12
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If you use a blinking light and a steady light that are side by side, some stupid driver may think the blinking light is a turn signal.
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Old 11-14-04, 08:56 AM   #13
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I'm with steveknight, I use both a blinking light on the back of my rear rack and a steady light under my seatpost, both LED lights. I also have a passive red reflector underneath my rear rack.

I've heard that the blinky one will get drivers to notice you while the steady light can allow one to gauge distance better.
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Old 11-14-04, 11:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erick L
That's the very reason I keep my main rear light blinking. It says I'm a slow moving vehicule. I have 5 other lights on my bike, all set on solid. One white headlight, 2 amber side-light on front and 2 more red side light on rear. Side lights are angled to be seen from side and front/rear. The rear is set on blinky since I can't see the cars coming fast behind. Other lights are set solid because I can see the cars so I prefer them to think I'm faster than I really am (I look somewhat like a motorcycle) and blinkers are just downright annoying (for me and them).

This is for my commuting bike. If this were for a light road bike with "just-in-case" lights, I'd probably go with front and rear blinkies.
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Old 11-14-04, 11:25 AM   #15
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Haven't ridden much at night yet. For twilight I use one set of slow flash on rear. Plan to ride at night with both sets rear on steady and slow rolling flash on front safety lights. My handle bar flash backs are on blinking. I think this is safest. Dimmer handlebar lights say something's here pay attention. Double row of rear lights gives clear definition. Will try to post photos as soon as I can figure out how to take non flash digital pictures.
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