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Old 12-05-13, 11:41 AM   #1
ro-monster
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It Seems Motorists Like My Lights...

I've been using a slightly different route on my commute lately (due to the completion of a rather nice new bike lane on a busy street I used to avoid). I come home well after dark, and twice in the last month I've had motorists pull up at stops to tell me how great they thought my lights were! They are considerably brighter than the lights on most bikes in the area, but mostly I wanted to post a positive experience with drivers, as it seems we often forget about those in here.
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Old 12-05-13, 11:55 AM   #2
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Could you list your lights and how you run them, as well as post a photo of an average night scene on your route?
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Old 12-05-13, 12:00 PM   #3
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Very true, I try to give all drivers who treat cyclists with respect a good experience with me. One of the reasons I religiously stop for red lights and stop signs. Not doing that seems to really give a lot of drivers a bad taste for cyclists. I also agree about the lights thing as well, bright without being blinding is the key and if it flashes not having a harsh fast flash that is near migraine causing obnoxious.

As to other drivers who try to bully me, I try to give them a "he doesn't do what I want him too when I bully him and he just continues to go about his business and keep on doing what he is doing regardless of me bulling him" kind of experience.

I agree with you that often the positive side of that two sided coin is sometimes ignored.
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Old 12-05-13, 03:00 PM   #4
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Could you list your lights and how you run them, as well as post a photo of an average night scene on your route?
I am curious, too.
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Old 12-06-13, 03:16 AM   #5
ro-monster
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I took a few pictures on my ride home tonight. The quality is pretty awful, though; my phone doesn't have a very good camera. My commute starts off on dark side streets like the first picture, then I turn onto the main street which is shown from several vantage points in the next three pictures. (It has a lot more traffic during the day.) The second and third pictures show a bit of the bike lane where it ends and is replaced by sharrows.

Rear lights consist of the following, all running in slow blinking mode.
  • 2 Serfas Thunderbolts, on high brightness setting (mounted either on the rack or the stays, depending on which bike I'm using)
  • 1 Planet Bike Rack Blinkie on the seatpost (this is replaced by a Radbot 1000 if I ride my other bike)
  • 1 small Serfas blinkie on my helmet
Front lights consist of the following, generally on the brightest setting.
  • 1 Light & Motion Urban 300 and 1 Light & Motion Urban 400 on the handlebars, blinking during daylight hours and steady at night. You can kind of see how these illuminate the pavement and signs in the fourth picture. They're aimed fairly low so they don't shine into people's eyes too much, hopefully.
Both of the motorists who commented on the lights approached me from behind, so I presume it's the rear lights they liked.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Commute01.jpg (63.8 KB, 56 views)
File Type: jpg Commute02.jpg (84.3 KB, 53 views)
File Type: jpg Commute03.jpg (99.3 KB, 47 views)
File Type: jpg Commute04.jpg (95.6 KB, 68 views)
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Old 12-06-13, 08:24 AM   #6
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Thanks for the post ro-monster. Looks similar to areas I ride through. No compliments yet, but I haven't had any issues with motorists not seeing me. I run two blinkies on the rear, one set to "seizure mode" and the other set to slow blink. Magicshine 808 up-front on the highest setting.

The Thunderbolts look nice. Do you mount them vertically?
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Old 12-06-13, 03:53 PM   #7
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Bike lighting has come a LONG way over the last few decades, especially since the adaptation of LED
's.
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Old 12-06-13, 07:22 PM   #8
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My wife and I had someone pull over to compliment us on our lights and fashion sense (yeah, we were wearing hi viz reflective vests) in the middle of the day. Although the Dinotte 400R we were rolling with is indeed bright, I suspect what was really going on is that this older gentleman does not see as well as he should and refuses to acknowledge that all those cyclists who come from out of nowhere are visible to most of us from a mile off. Drivers like him are the reason we take extreme measures to be seen.
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Old 12-07-13, 12:33 AM   #9
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Does the Serfas Thunderbolt have side visibility?
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Old 12-07-13, 02:35 PM   #10
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The Thunderbolts look nice. Do you mount them vertically?
They are vertical on one of my bikes and horizontal on the other. They work well in either orientation.

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Does the Serfas Thunderbolt have side visibility?
They can, depending on how you mount them. When I put them horizontally on the rack, they point straight back and have no side visibility. But on the other bike, where I place them vertcially on the stays, I angle them outward slightly, which makes them equally visible from the side and from behind.

My headlights (Light & Motion Urban) have little amber marker lights built into the sides, which I think is a very nice feature.

I really love the Thunderbolts! One of them is brighter than my Radbot 1000 and my boyfriend's Planet Bike SuperFlash combined, and the stretchy straps make it easy to mount them in lots of different places. They seem to be rainproof too, although we don't generally have sustained heavy rainfall around here. They do require frequent recharging if you run them at maximum brightness. I just keep a charging cable on my desk at work and charge each one on alternate days, but if you're absent-minded about that sort of thing, they may not be ideal for you.

My one quibble with the Thunderbolts is the battery status indicator light. On my headlights, there is a little LED that goes green-yellow-red so you can easily tell how much battery life is left. But on the Thunderbolt, there is only a yellow LED that starts flashing red when the battery is very low. This is not nearly as useful.
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Old 12-07-13, 03:12 PM   #11
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I wish more cyclists understood the utility of having dual front lights. I was running a similar setup until recently. I would have one light on low, aimed somewhat at the ground, and another on high, aimed further ahead. Recently, I got a Philips Saferide that takes care of the far ahead stuff, so my two other lights are set on low, and serve a backups in case the Philips light dies (It's run-time is a bit on the short side).

With multiple lights, motorists can judge your distance better.
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Old 12-07-13, 03:59 PM   #12
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With multiple lights, motorists can judge your distance better.
Since their judgment is often poor, it is best to make sure at least one of those lights is very bright. That create the perception that you are closer than what a dim light indicates. This can sometimes prevent left crosses and driveway/side street pullouts.
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Old 12-10-13, 03:34 AM   #13
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My one quibble with the Thunderbolts is the battery status indicator light. On my headlights, there is a little LED that goes green-yellow-red so you can easily tell how much battery life is left. But on the Thunderbolt, there is only a yellow LED that starts flashing red when the battery is very low. This is not nearly as useful.
My quibbles with the Thunderbolt was how shortlived they were. I had two, and they both died at about 6 months. My LBS replaced the first one, then gave me store credit for the 2nd one. In the end, the battery would be fully charged, and the light would stay on for about 1-3 seconds.

I also didn't like how when they were out of charge, they'd just shut off. No warning, no dimming, they'd just turn off. I'm glad that I kept my PBSF on the bike. IMHO the Thunderbolt was brighter, and had a better viewing angle, but it's better to have a more reliable light on, JIC.

I'm now using a PDW Aether Demon as the TB's replacement, and have plans on adding a Knog Blinder 4 to the helmet.

And before I get flamed by people who think that I'm overdoing it... Let's see you ride 4+ miles on a wet, 4 lane Highway, at night, in rural Oregon. Can you say "rednecks"?
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