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  1. #101
    Senior Member italktocats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    - If my lights work well, then I should never know how many cars did NOT hit me because I had lights.

    - If you choose not to use lights and get hit, it's in your best interest to shift the blame to something else - eg. distracted driving. It's in the driver's best interest to pin it on your lack of lights.

    - Even if it's not the absolute reason for hitting you, it can be a pretty strong mitigating factor, making it harder to sort out the mess. A judge would be far less sympathetic to a ninja than someone who took some effort to be visible.

    Hence it's not about strict "what would my legal responsibility be?", but just being safer overall for pretty minimal effort.
    i only got hit while having lights, without lighs on; never had any problem, not even a close call

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
    i only got hit while having lights, without lighs on; never had any problem, not even a close call
    And me + 200 of my friends have all been hit at least once when riding without lights. Never happened when we have them on.

    True story.

  3. #103
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    Taillights are taillights and that's a good thing. If your HEADlights don't provide a field of vision across the lane at minimum and forward to clearly all the road and any hazards for over two car lengths and preferably three+ at 10-15 mph you probably don't have them set or maybe even capable of being seen by oncoming traffic either.

    Little LEDs or a big vintage light on a Higgins or Monarch etc ...as with autos AIMING your headlight(s) is crucial.
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  4. #104
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by italktocats View Post
    did you happen to almost hit a tree, curb, parked car or mailbox? any other object w/o lights that wasnt a cyclist?

    im my experience, the only object cars seems to hit that doesnt have lights, are cyclists, ANY other object is magically seen..
    Oh common, when is that last time a tree, curb, parked car or mailbox blasted out of an alleyway and split traffic going the wrong way?

    Generally trees, curbs, parked cars or mailboxes are not doing the squirrel dance in traffic; instead they are sitting patiently, and stationary, by the side of the road. Oh, and ask anyone who lives in a rural area, trees and mailboxes get hit pretty often. Back when I had a car I once found it sitting in the middle of the road with a "Sorry dude, I hit your car but he brake was on so I couldn't push it back" note on the windshield (It was a chevette, those things were built like tanks, no damage was done).
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  5. #105
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    Oh common, when is that last time a tree, curb, parked car or mailbox blasted out of an alleyway and split traffic going the wrong way?

    ...
    Strawmen do it all the time...

  6. #106
    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    Come to Asia and then complain - here in Singapore the number of cyclists riding without lights at night is at least 50%, arguably the majority being foreign workers with dark skin and more-often-than-not dark clothing.

    I'm sure the statistics for many our neighbors are MUCH worse.
    I lived in China for about over six years and I did notice that few cyclists used any lights at all; add to that the reality that bicycles never have the right of way and you get exactly what people expect, carnage.

    What does that prove? nothing.

    I do suppose that be seen lights are a bit pointless in an environment where you never have the right of way in the first place. . . (the logic is that bicycles are for poor people and cars are expensive; therefrom are used by more important people . .. and yes, the only word that translates is "important")



    Back to the US, which seems to be the subject of discussion. Yes I use lights at night, and yes, largely to be seen. Sometimes I use a blinkie in the daytime; primarily when I am riding at the speed of, therefore mixing with, traffic.

    I even got a dyno-hub on my most recent commuter bike so I wouldn't have to think as much about the light. That being said, I do side in with those who oppose legislated lights. First, I happen to be in favor of less laws as a general principle. Second, if the unexpected happens (look longer than planned, dead batteries. . . whatever) the law leaves you in a bad spot; whereas, without the law one can ride on by being hyper-vigilant.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  7. #107
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by keyven View Post
    A judge would be far less sympathetic to a ninja than someone who took some effort to be visible.
    To be fair, this attitude applies to helmet use as well.

    You weren't wearing a helmet? You didn't do anything to prevent injury to yourself, so you're responsible for the collision!

    Of course, that makes no sense, especially if helmets are not required, but it does come up often.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    I lived in China for about over six years and I did notice that few cyclists used any lights at all; add to that the reality that bicycles never have the right of way and you get exactly what people expect, carnage.

    What does that prove? nothing.

    I do suppose that be seen lights are a bit pointless in an environment where you never have the right of way in the first place. . . (the logic is that bicycles are for poor people and cars are expensive; therefrom are used by more important people . .. and yes, the only word that translates is "important")

    Back to the US, which seems to be the subject of discussion. Yes I use lights at night, and yes, largely to be seen. Sometimes I use a blinkie in the daytime; primarily when I am riding at the speed of, therefore mixing with, traffic.

    I even got a dyno-hub on my most recent commuter bike so I wouldn't have to think as much about the light. That being said, I do side in with those who oppose legislated lights. First, I happen to be in favor of less laws as a general principle. Second, if the unexpected happens (look longer than planned, dead batteries. . . whatever) the law leaves you in a bad spot; whereas, without the law one can ride on by being hyper-vigilant.
    Yes, to be fair, these foreign workers very seldom get hit by cars - but then again Singapore is a very well-lit city with only a relatively small number of lightless side-roads where cars wouldn't be travelling all that fast anyways.

    We have laws for everything here, so I understand where your "less laws" mentality is a good thing. My wife is currently in Australia where there is mandatory helmet laws, lighting laws, etc. I'm happier without a helmet since my scalp gets really itchy and I've lost too much hair thanks to that. Mandatory helmets would make me lose what little I have left.

  9. #109
    Senior Member italktocats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    Oh common, when is that last time a tree, curb, parked car or mailbox blasted out of an alleyway and split traffic going the wrong way?

    Generally trees, curbs, parked cars or mailboxes are not doing the squirrel dance in traffic; instead they are sitting patiently, and stationary, by the side of the road. Oh, and ask anyone who lives in a rural area, trees and mailboxes get hit pretty often. Back when I had a car I once found it sitting in the middle of the road with a "Sorry dude, I hit your car but he brake was on so I couldn't push it back" note on the windshield (It was a chevette, those things were built like tanks, no damage was done).
    last week, someone thought it was a crossing tree so the person didnt brake, but it was a child crossing


    "oops"

    and you said it yourself: even mailboxes get hit, so why would a light save a cyclist?!

  10. #110
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    I thought common sense was defined as the sum of someone's biases.
    Unfortunately, that's how it is used now. As a result, I find myself in these situations:

    Me: Hey X, what do I do with my ABC?

    X: Aw, I don't have to tell you. Just use common sense.

    Me: OK, I blarted the framistan, since my common sense told me to.

    X: Damn, what the hell is wrong with you?

    Me: Oh, I guess common sense isn't a sense we have in common. If you have a sense, don't assume I share it.

    "Common sense" used to be a term for the sense that most reasonable people would have. So for example, a jury decides that the accused is guilty, because the evidence leads them all to the same conclusion. This is why "common law" didn't require many statutes to be written out, spelling out what the law was. If a reasonable person thinks that the accused did something wrong, whether or not it was against some statute or another, then he's guilty.

    Does a reasonable person believe that lights enhance safety on a bike in a well lit city? I don't know. But I'll tell you why Tom Reingold finds it to be a good thing for him to do himself.

    First, there is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    A majority of cyclists being hit at night being caused by things other than lack of lights says nothing about how riding without lights at night impacts the chances of being hit.
    And then there is this:

    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    True, especially when the "other causes" listed by police as "the cause" do not necessarily exclude lack of lights as a contributing cause; i.e. if/when alcohol, speeding or reckless driving is determined to be "the cause," police reports may not bother looking for or recording any other contributing factors.
    And then there is the fact that drivers appear to me to be treating me with more caution and conscious action than when I'm not sporting lights. I might be under a delusion about this, but the only evidence I have about my personal doings is what I perceive, true or not.

    So perhaps each of the above three reasons is not alone compelling enough reason to use lights in the city. However, the three of them combined produce a sum that has enough weight that I cannot reasonably decide not to use lights.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  11. #111
    Junior Member punkinevil's Avatar
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    I am just going to toss in my observations of NYC/Manhattan riding here. Technically, we do have a dusk 'til dawn bike light ordinance. I have had a bunch of near misses with other cyclists 9mostly delivery guys) salmoning at night with no lights. You would think streetlamps and other ambient city lighting would be enough to make everything visible, but it is actually harder to see unlit objects in a sea of so many self-illuminated ones.

    Of course, if these other riders did follow the law and use lights at night, they would probably also NOT be riding the wrong way and it wouldn't be such an issue.

    Ultimately, I think riders without lights are very hard to see in this urban setting, and being visible to other cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians can only help everybody.

  12. #112
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dougmc View Post
    You weren't wearing a helmet? You didn't do anything to prevent injury to yourself, so you're responsible for the collision!
    Of course, that [attitude] makes no sense, especially if helmets are not required, but it does come up often.
    Comes up often on the Internet - yes.
    In court - maybe.
    Successful defense - doubtful.
    Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 07-28-14 at 10:11 AM.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by achoo View Post
    Where do you pull that from what links you've posted?

    30-40% of cyclists in amsterdam and berlin etc are NINJAS and fatality and collisions rates are much lower than in the USA.
    Last edited by spare_wheel; 07-28-14 at 11:46 AM.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  14. #114
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    Quote Originally Posted by jputnam View Post
    Yet in Denmark, which certainly has a longstanding cycling culture and motorists who are well-trained to look for bikes, daytime running lights on bicycles in urban areas reduce car/bike accidents significantly. (19% reduction in reported accidents.)

    See Safety effects of permanent running lights f... [Accid Anal Prev. 2013] - PubMed - NCBI Safety effects of permanent lights for bicycles: a controlled experiment
    Thanks for the link! The fact that they only saw a large effect during the day supports the idea that lighting at night may not have as large a risk-reduction effect as is commonly assumed.

    As an example, Table 7 and Table 8 reflect that the accident rates for the cyclists are higher under daylight conditions than under night time conditions.
    Daylight accidents Incidence rate – IR 103 2.98 4.91 3.98
    Incidence rate ratio – IRR 0.61


    Night time accidents Incidence rate – IR 103 1.41 1.51 1.46
    Incidence rate ratio – IRR 0.94
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  15. #115
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    30-40% of cyclists in amsterdam and berlin etc are NINJAS and fatality and collisions rates are much lower than in the USA.
    Do you have anything to substantiate that the percentage of so-called Ninjas in the entire USA are any higher, lower or the same as in Berlin and Amsterdam?

    More important and relevant is do you seriously believe that night time lighting is the only variable that affects any alleged difference in so-called fatality and collisions rates?

    BTW, how are "fatality and collision rates" computed for bicyclists in these 2 cities vis--vis the entire USA? "Collision rate" is an extremely vague term, so often used by self professed bicycling experts to make any point they want that fits the agenda. Do these "collision rates" ignore severity of injuries, i.e. a collision resulting in a scraped knee is tallied as equal to a collision resulting in paralysis?

  16. #116
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    No matter how one spins it, an object that is lit and/or of a contrasting color will be more visible in low light conditions. Studies can be manipulated and misinterpreted to fit ones agenda, but observation in the real world should make the answer obvious.

    I use lighting and colors to communicate my presence to attentive road users without any expectations that it will make me "safer".

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    No matter how one spins it, an object that is lit and/or of a contrasting color will be more visible in low light conditions. Studies can be manipulated and misinterpreted to fit ones agenda, but observation in the real world should make the answer obvious.
    under low light conditions color has very little impact.
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  18. #118
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Do you have anything to substantiate that the percentage of so-called Ninjas in the entire USA are any higher, lower or the same as in Berlin and Amsterdam?

    More important and relevant is do you seriously believe that night time lighting is the only variable that affects any alleged difference in so-called fatality and collisions rates?

    BTW, how are "fatality and collision rates" computed for bicyclists in these 2 cities vis--vis the entire USA? "Collision rate" is an extremely vague term, so often used by self professed bicycling experts to make any point they want that fits the agenda. Do these "collision rates" ignore severity of injuries, i.e. a collision resulting in a scraped knee is tallied as equal to a collision resulting in paralysis?
    i never directly compared amsterdam or berlin to anytown USA -- the data from europe stands on it's own.

    i also think the question in my thread title is quite clear. is there any evidence that suggests that using a light at night in an urban area increases safety? (appeals to "common sense" are not evidence.)
    Road rash is a precious gift. Road rash is your friend. Bask in it, appreciate it, love it. Above all, learn from it. --Robert Hurst

  19. #119
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    under low light conditions color has very little impact.
    True. Lights, reflectors, and reflective material are what count when being seen by motorists at night is a consideration; or fanciful thinking that it doesn't matter at all.

  20. #120
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    under low light conditions color has very little impact.
    I was referring to the semi lit urban conditions pertaining to your OP.

  21. #121
    I STILL miss East Hill :) Rollfast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kickstart View Post
    I was referring to the semi lit urban conditions pertaining to your OP.
    Half the lights are turned off on my streets or have been replaced with dinky little PARKING LOT LAMPS...the days of the big industrial strength steel posts are GONE.

    Most people seem to like it dark around here too and whole BLOCKS are dark.

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  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    i never directly compared amsterdam or berlin to anytown USA -- the data from europe stands on it's own.

    i also think the question in my thread title is quite clear. is there any evidence that suggests that using a light at night in an urban area increases safety? (appeals to "common sense" are not evidence.)
    Pray tell, how does one conduct a conclusive experiment like this in 'controlled' conditions? Looking up statistics seldom tell the full story.

    Putting 2 different groups in driving simulators - a control group with no lightless cyclist, and one with a lightless cyclist at some point - without telling the participants which group they are in? Door-to-door surveys? Online questionnaires?

    There's also a question of the lighting and traffic conditions that can differ wildly from state to state, suburb to suburb. If at least one of these aren't met, then the results of the experiment is always going to be questionable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    i never directly compared amsterdam or berlin to anytown USA -- the data from europe stands on it's own.

    i also think the question in my thread title is quite clear. is there any evidence that suggests that using a light at night in an urban area increases safety? (appeals to "common sense" are not evidence.)
    Wrong:

    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    30-40% of cyclists in amsterdam and berlin etc are NINJAS and fatality and collisions rates are much lower than in the USA.

  24. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    ....
    Legal requirements for lighting reinforce the idea that cycling is dangerous.
    ....
    Or, legal requirements for lighting reinforce the idea that operating a vehicle at night without lighting is dangerous.

    (Please feel free to ignore all lighting studies of all vehicles, since you've got a hash of bad "research" that says that lighting doesn't make a difference, maybe.)

    Helpful hint - they put reflectors on trees (which, except in LOTR, trees are stationary) to keep vehicles from hitting them. When it becomes cost effective to have lights on trees (which, except for LOTR, trees are stationary, for god's sake, even in WWOZ, all they could do is stand there and throw apples) they'll put lights on trees too.


    -mr. bill
    Last edited by mr_bill; 07-29-14 at 09:50 PM.
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  25. #125
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    Anecdotal evidence:

    I rode home as normal tonight. I had to stop look at a bike two blocks from home and go to the store one block from the bike. Vancouver side streets are narrow with parking on either side and room for one vehicle (or a sub-compact and bike) to drive.

    I looked at the bike and shut all my lights off. I left to ride to the store, it was 6 pm so bright out, street is covered in trees so no direct sun to hinder drivers, nor too shady to not be visible. A lady in a SUV kept coming at me while I am dead center in the lane. She was not going to stop, no idea if she even saw me. I had not lights on.

    Then I I left the store to ride the same street three blocks home. I had no lights again, three blocks why bother I thought. A car tailgated me the whole way. Then I had a guy in an SUV run a stop sign and stop mid-intersection.

    So no lights two near misses and one aggressive driver. I normally have no issues. I like lights

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