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Old 12-20-04, 01:24 PM   #1
Xana
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Tireflys

Hi,

I have just joined this forum and I am looking for some opinions regarding the use of "Tireflys" lights, those that you screw into the valve in the tyre. I am trying to make my bicycle visible at night, for the commute home from work, and I thought these would help making me more visible. However I am not sure if they are legal, as they state on the pack that they are suitable for off-road use only, although they also advertise them as great for night visibility. I am thus confused, and not sure if I should install them or not in my wheels. Also, I am new to the USA (Corvallis, Oregon) and I am not sure what is appropriate here.

Best Regards to all,
Xana
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Old 12-20-04, 02:45 PM   #2
Konakazi
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Never heard of them, but it's a cute idea. It sounds like more of a gimmicky item than a safety item.

I wouldn't expect cars to focus on them. You're much better off lighting up with a bright front light and a nice sharp red LED on the back.
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Old 12-20-04, 02:54 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xana
I have just joined this forum and I am looking for some opinions regarding the use of "Tireflys" lights, those that you screw into the valve in the tyre. I am trying to make my bicycle visible at night, for the commute home from work, and I thought these would help making me more visible. However I am not sure if they are legal, as they state on the pack that they are suitable for off-road use only, although they also advertise them as great for night visibility. I am thus confused, and not sure if I should install them or not in my wheels. Also, I am new to the USA (Corvallis, Oregon) and I am not sure what is appropriate here.
Ahh, more fun with lights!

First off, you should have a white front light and at least a large rear reflector, or a rear light. The front light is more important than the rear. Why? Because --

* most bicycle / motor vehicle crashes occur when either the cyclist or the motorist is changing or crossing lanes of traffic, and
* the only way for a motorist to know you're coming is for him or her to see a beam projecting from the front of the bike.

So the galloot who's planning on turning right into the roadway is going to look left to see if anyone's coming along. Unless you're shining brightly at this person (and unless you've got a front light, you won't be, even with a front reflector), he or she isn't going to see you -- until it's too late. The driver has to have made the decision to yield to you before you get to the intersection.

A rear light is nice to have. However, since you can be reasonably sure that any motorist after dark has the car's light's on, you can get away with having just a big rear reflector -- not the faceted one that came with your bike, but a big flat one, like the kind you get at the automotive department of Target (or wherever) for about $2.50 the pair.

You can see an interesting comparison between rear lights and reflectors at David Smith's webpage:
http://homepage.mac.com/bicycle_driv...toAlbum78.html . (Scroll down past the links at the top to see the photos.) Notice how bright the oval-shaped amber one is compared to the others. Those come with sticky stuff on the back, and are easy to slap on to fenders.

(You have fenders, don't you? If you ride in the Pacific northwest, you need 'em, else you ride with a wet ass a lot of the time! 8-) )

Once you've got the minimum lighting covered, you can go for other bright stuff. I favor reflective ankle bands, because they keep your trousers tucked in, and they tend to flash in car headlights as your legs move up and down. This makes you very noticible.

I think probably the least effective form of lighting or reflection is anything that shines primarily or exclusively to the sides of the bike. The reason for this goes back to what I mentioned above -- motorists need to have made the decision to yield before you're in front of them. Once your wheels are facing them, it's too late. If they've started moving already, you're going to get hit.

I suspect that Tireflys are aware of this, which is why they won't make statements about your safety because they don't want you to sue them if you're hit while using their product.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't use them. They're fun. But before turning to them for safety, make sure the basics are covered first, with a front white lamp and at least a large rear reflector.

Hope this helps!
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Old 12-20-04, 02:58 PM   #4
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There have been previous threads on this.
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Old 12-20-04, 03:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xana
Hi,

I have just joined this forum and I am looking for some opinions regarding the use of "Tireflys" lights, those that you screw into the valve in the tyre. I am trying to make my bicycle visible at night, for the commute home from work, and I thought these would help making me more visible. However I am not sure if they are legal, as they state on the pack that they are suitable for off-road use only, although they also advertise them as great for night visibility. I am thus confused, and not sure if I should install them or not in my wheels. Also, I am new to the USA (Corvallis, Oregon) and I am not sure what is appropriate here.

Best Regards to all,
Xana
I've been putting those on my kids' bikes. They can be bought at Walmart and Toys R' US (among other places), Walmart being the cheapest. In Walmart they are located in the automotive section (for some strange reason). I see no reason why they should be illegal. However, they usually only light up when you bump the bike, so they might not light up as easily on the road.

Sverre
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Old 12-20-04, 03:15 PM   #6
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I purchaed the tricolor(red/white/blue) ones and they really light up my bike from the side. They are brigh enough that I can see the colors reflected off the street. They don't help front or rear visablilty unless they car is pretty close but every bit helps!

Last edited by urbanace; 12-20-04 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 12-20-04, 04:10 PM   #7
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In many states and towns the bicycle laws are available on line. Try looking them up. I can't imagine a police officer being worried that you increased your visibility.
I ride with a guy who has them on a mountain bike, every week in the dark. As mentioned already, unless you go over a good enough bump to start them they don't start. On the road on a mountain bike this is not too often. They can't hurt anything.
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Old 12-20-04, 05:01 PM   #8
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To answer your question I use fireflys and they work great. I have had more comments on them than any other light I have used. Remember though stick to the legal colors ,Red or white. They have been pulling over vehicles here for using the wrong color lights.
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Old 12-20-04, 07:03 PM   #9
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Thank you for all the posts. I had actually entered the bicycle shop in order to buy reflectors and those lights caught my eye, so I ended up buying them instead. However, after seeing the lights/reflectors demo in the website, I think I will also get a reflector to put in the back of my bike. I do have a front white light and a red back light, but still feel that I am not visible enough to the car drivers. And yeah, I do have fenders, which are definetly needed in this weather! I learned that the hard way a few years back (I used to bike in England).
I am happy I stumbled across this very active forum. Regards to all.
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Old 12-20-04, 11:25 PM   #10
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In most of not all municipalities it is illegal to use blue lights of any kind on any vehicle that can be legally operated on a road way. This includes bicycles. So I would stick with the green, red or yellow Tireflys. They will probably only come in handy at night as you cross through an intersection and while you're passing in front of a motor vehicle. Otherwise the best way is a good head light on the front & at the very least a red reflector on the rear.

Check to see what your local ordinance is & follow it. Most if not all require a front head light that has to be visible up to a minimum of 300 feet away. And some require at least a red reflector in the rear, but some towns require a flashing red light.

If you can not find what your local ordinances are check at the county level. If you still have trouble check at the state level & use that as your guidline for riding at night.

And welcome to the forums.
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Old 12-21-04, 05:50 PM   #11
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I personally think they are a great idea, especially in winter commutes. I cant use a front one though because it glares too much! I did however have one friend the other day say he hates them because at a distance he thought they were law enforement and had to slow down. I laughed profusely.
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Old 12-22-04, 03:20 AM   #12
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We use them (actually TireFlares 'cos that brand has a steady red one and I'm fussy about using legal colours) on our trailers. I don't think they add much to rear visibility, but side and rear-three-quarter they definitely add to that funky oilrig look. And hey, they're cheap, so why not - at least on a winter commuter?
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Old 12-22-04, 06:54 AM   #13
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Check your local laws, but in most states, lights are not subsitutes for legally required reflectors. So you are right to add the reflectors. Just make sure you get the front one, too. As to the tireflies, ngateguy has it right, stick to white or red. White would probably be better because people expect red only from the rear.

Last edited by Daily Commute; 12-22-04 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 12-28-04, 09:50 AM   #14
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I have a pair of red ones that I use on the road bike. I view them as just (hopefully) one more way to be visible during the late evening rides. I will add that I got them with a gift card from Radio Shack. After the main purchase was made with the card there was enough left to get them. I have seen them at Wal-Mart also.
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Old 01-01-05, 09:29 PM   #15
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Got my yellow ones at Target today.
One more reason to look forward to commuting Monday!
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Old 01-02-05, 05:09 PM   #16
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Xana, i'm in corvallis as well. where i live in town i see kids with those things all the time from my porch. they they do seem to help some what. also they sell them at the corvallis cyclery so i'd imagine they're street legal but i'd go with yellow for a side light.
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Old 01-03-05, 01:24 PM   #17
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Got em...love em:
Red
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Old 01-03-05, 01:32 PM   #18
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Commute update:

It's been raining and gloomy here in No. Calif. for many days, this morning no exception.

Tireflys looked so cool, I almost ran into the tree that had fallen across the bike trail while hypnotized by them....
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Old 01-03-05, 05:52 PM   #19
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Got the Pep Boys one for $11. I like them. I figure any bit of additional light will help drivers see me. The included batteries suck, so be prepared to replace them with nicer ones.
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Old 01-06-05, 08:02 AM   #20
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...now if they will only make Tireflys to fit presta valves...
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Old 01-06-05, 08:31 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
...now if they will only make Tireflys to fit presta valves...
use a plastic adapter
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Old 01-07-05, 08:35 PM   #22
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I got a set of these for xmas. It should be fun trying them out - now I'll have lights on the side too. If only they made baseball cards that lit up when your spokes hit them...
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Old 01-07-05, 10:55 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eubi
...now if they will only make Tireflys to fit presta valves...
I run them on my presta. All I needed were the cheap $0.98 metal adapters avail at most bike shops.
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