Electronics, Lighting, & Gadgets - Be prepared for night riding! Lights!?
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09-10-07, 09:17 AM
Arlington Officer Hits, Kills man on bicycle (http://www.myfoxdfw.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=4306087&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1)
"ARLINGTON -- An Arlington police officer hit and killed a 41-year-old man on a bicycle with his cruiser Saturday night.
According to police reports, both Officer Patrick Yeats and victim were heading west bound on Cravens Park Drive near Congressional when the squad car struck the victim and knocked him off his bicycle.
The victim was in the roadway with no reflective gear, reflector or light visible to the rear. He also was not wearing a helmet, reports state.
Paramedics transfered the victim to the hospital where he later died of life-threatening head injuries.
The Arlington Police Department said the accident is still under investigations, although the officer claims he could not see the victim.
Yeats is an eight-year veteran of the department. "
They were showing this on the news this morning. The image looks like they are missing the rear reflector now however the tire is missing too from the accident so it may be debris. They do have wheel and pedal reflectors (sometimes hard to see if you can at all) as well as what looks like a strip on their seat bag. This location is right in front of a park and appears to have a lane for bikes.
It is unfortunate that I still see so many people without lights at night wearing dark clothing. My old boss used to think the little white dot on the back of his shoes was enough *sigh* Thankfully he only rode in central park, NYC and not out in the road. The description on the news said the riders head hit the window. You can see the dent on the hood and dent in the windshield from where the rider hit.
09-10-07, 10:24 AM
There is a simple solution. In Europe you can not buy a bike without some sort of light. Reflectors are no substiture for lights. Even a $15 set of front and rear LED blinky lights will help you be much more visable. I have seen losts of people riding their bikes at night and most of the time I see them just in time to not hit them because they are invisitable in the dark. I get very aggivated with the stupidity. No one that is not drunk or hih on drugs would think to be wise to drive a car on the road with lights, so why should it be OK for a bike. Occasionally I'll see a cyclist with some lights and I generally can see them far enough away that I don't have to perform some emergency avoidance maneuver.
Here is an anecdodal example of the uselessness of reflectors. The other day my wife was driving behind me in her car when we were returning from diner at my father in-law's place (I rode straight there from work, therefore I was the only on a bike). I have a 6 LED rear blinky light and three refectors (1 tiny one build into the seat, one that is on the seat post (OEM fitment), and one extra one I had laying around that I attached to the back of my rack right next to my blinky light. She told me she had a hard time seeing me. The blinky light could be seen, but was not that bright. The reflectors were somehow not lining up nicely with the head light beam and therefore did not reflect much light. I was wearing an bright orange shirt, but that is usless at night as orange starts to look almost black. The next morning I looked at the blinky light again and noticed that it didn't look as bright as it should. I put in new batteries and it immediately became at least 10 times as bright. Moral is don't forget to replace the batteries regularly. I've used mine almost daily since March so I was definitely due.
Here is what I am looking to do to help ensure I will be much more visable at night:
1. Buy a high vis vest with reflective tape. I don't want orange as it will not show up well in low light conditions. I found one on the web at alertshirt for aroudn $12.00, but need to check one more bike store locally as there is a base $6 shipping charge.
2. Buy some highly reflective tape. On Dutch bikes you will see many colors for the frame of the bike, but the back/last 12" of the fender always has bright white to make it the bike stand out more. I am looking to do the same thing except improve on it a a bit. I will add either 3M High Intensity refelective tape or 3M SOLAS (coast guard approved tape) from reflectivelyyours.com. Both should be superbly reflective, It appears that the SOLAS is a bit brighter, so I'll probably go with it. I will also add some to my Panier bags. The Pannier bags are black and have a reflective stripe, but it is a measly 1/2" wide. Not much to help me stand out. A nice 2" wide band should help a lot.
3. Add some reflective tape to my helmet
4. Get a brighter rear light. The brightest and best appears to be the DiNotte tail light, but at $150 it is a little expensive for me right now. I am looking at the Planet Bike Blinky Superflash. I am sure it can in no way compete with the DiNotte, but at $20 it fits my budget much better, and is hopefully a nice step up from my current light. Maybe I'll keep my 6 LED tail light and use it in solid light mode during real darkness as an addition to the Planet Bike Blinky.
5. Get a brighter front light. I have some cheapy LED front lights. The one does shine a little light on the road, the other has 5 LED's, and also has side visability. I realy need to get a descent main light, and it needs to not be over $100. That it a bit tricky. I know loads of forum members love the DiNotte 5 Watt light, but it is just a bit too expensive for what I can afford right now.
If anyone has any suggestions on what I should do differently or specific brands that have worked well for them. I'd love to hear about it.
09-10-07, 10:34 AM
We have a program here in Columbia where we buy cheap light sets ($6.00)
Then as I am riding at night I will offer them to people who I see riding at night without lights.
About half of the people accept and are soo grateful since we even install them right there.
The other half refuse and become angry that I even suggested they needed lights. Go figure.
09-10-07, 11:00 AM
I think the problem with lights is not so much the cost associated with the lights themselves, but the cost and hassle associated with the batteries. I had a new NiteRider UltraFazer 3.0 (http://www.niterider.com/prod_ultrafazer3.shtml) battery powered front LED headlight burn out the batteries on the second run with it (the first run was less than an hour). Now I keep extra batteries in my saddle bag, but it's a pain. I have to have AAs for the front, and AAAs for the rear.
The above is about a new "backup" light I have just in case I get caught riding home in the dark. My regular light (for planned night riding) is a Marwi USA Nightpro Pro-Elite (http://www.marwiusa.com/default.aspx?taxid=24&cid=productview&bbid=3&pid=44#42) with one of those huge heavy rechargeable batteries that takes up a water bottle cage. Who wants to haul that thing around for no reason?
09-10-07, 11:08 AM
The pedal reflectors should have been visible if both vehicles were traveling in the same direction.
When I am driving my car at night I almost always notice the pedal reflectors before a rear red reflector or a low power blinkie.
09-10-07, 06:02 PM
Unfortunately, the poor chap may have been homeless and couldn't afford a Niterider.
09-10-07, 08:43 PM
I hear ya gosmsgo, i have tried to give away cheapie lights to my friends and have recently started riding around with 2" red reflective tape and offer to cut and wrap a bit on peoples seat tube and stem or wherever they let me. Most people just think im wierd or something, but others love it. I live in a college town and thus am a student, around here there are bikes everywhere (mostly fellow students), and just on a quick ride from a friends house tonight I counted 12 bikes without lights, to 2 with lights (rear), most of them with no reflectors either (seems most people rip them off) and thats just on about a 1 mile ride across campus... Still though, those who accept the free reflectivity is always great!
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