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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-05-06, 08:15 AM   #1
sbhikes
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Low sun

I ride due East/West into the sun on my way to and from work. The sun's getting pretty bad. What are your tactics for dealing with it? I really don't have an alternate route. My town is long and skinny and oriented east/west. Any alternates would be exactly the same.
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Old 10-05-06, 10:16 AM   #2
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This happened to me yesterday too and usually just go with the knowledge that everyone's visibility is down a little bit. Because my ride is curvy and hilly with trees it is usually never too bad for very long.

Is your concern your visibility or other drivers?
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Old 10-05-06, 11:29 AM   #3
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My concern is drivers behind me probably can't see anything. I'm not even sure if they'd be able to see any kind of lights or anything. It's really bright. Sometimes the glare off the pavement is even worse than the sun itself. But if anybody had any tactics they use to make themselves visible under these horrid situations, I'd be interested.
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Old 10-05-06, 11:40 AM   #4
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I have a similar issue in a couple of spots on my commute. Visibility can be horrible. For making sure I can see, I found that a cycling hat under my helmet provides enough of a bill to shade my eyes without blocking my vision if I tilt my head just so. The visors that came with my helmets were pretty much useless in this case. Too short and too far from my eyes.

As for being seen - My only real option is to vary my time of travel. A couple of minutes for me makes a big difference. My plan is to stop and wait it out if I hit one of the blind spots at a blind time but so far it's not happened.

I use rear lights and blinkies and high-vis alert shirts and an amphipod reflective vest but I've seen the sunrise make a semi invisible so I'm not really counting on being seen in certain spots at those times.
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Old 10-05-06, 12:02 PM   #5
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Dark sunglasses. Big helmet visor. Look nervously behind me a lot.


Hmm. The way I worded that makes it sound like I have other 'issues' as well.
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Old 10-05-06, 04:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sbhikes
My concern is drivers behind me probably can't see anything. I'm not even sure if they'd be able to see any kind of lights or anything. It's really bright. Sometimes the glare off the pavement is even worse than the sun itself. But if anybody had any tactics they use to make themselves visible under these horrid situations, I'd be interested.
It's most likely worst during the 15 or 20 minutes just before the sun goes down. Have you considered either delaying your departure or pausing mid ride in order to let the sun dip below the horizon? You should still have a good hour of twilight to ride in - for the time being, that is. In any case, I'd rather ride in the dark with a decent array of blinkies than with a procession of sun blinded drivers coming up from behind.

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Old 10-05-06, 08:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by DanO220
It's most likely worst during the 15 or 20 minutes just before the sun goes down. Have you considered either delaying your departure or pausing mid ride in order to let the sun dip below the horizon? You should still have a good hour of twilight to ride in - for the time being, that is. In any case, I'd rather ride in the dark with a decent array of blinkies than with a procession of sun blinded drivers coming up from behind.

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This sounds good to me. I am less bothered by the drivers then by the pain of the sun in my eyes.
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Old 10-05-06, 09:28 PM   #8
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Got exactly same problem. Helmet visor and squinting for me. In a car sun visor and squinting , along with impecably clean windshield, works too. I get some solace out of handlebar end mounted rear view mirror. Not that it will save my life, just makes me a bit more confident about traffic to rear.
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Old 10-06-06, 12:41 AM   #9
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After a friend was killed by a vehicle whose driver claimed to be blinded by the sun, I have serious reservations about riding in those conditions. I actually now regard it as the most dangerous riding condition for a cyclist.

If an alternative route is unavailable, I'd suggest rescheduling the ride until the sun has gone down. In my opinion, there is nothing you can do to make yourself more conspicuous to a driver who is already blinded by the sun, but continues to drive in the hope that (a) nothing is on the roadway ahead or (b) they can catch of glimpse of it if it is.
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Old 10-06-06, 02:18 AM   #10
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Hmm.. not making fun of anything here as it is serious and it's your life at stake but even if the idea does sound funny perhaps someone can alter or think of something else based on the idea given.

I was thinking getting one of those klaxons. They're those things used at new years parties and such. They were originally used to warn of gas attacks or aerial bombardments in either the first or second world war. Seeing as the light sounds to be so bright reflective vests and such may not work so it makes me look towards sound to let the drivers know you're there. If there is a way to have some post on your bike (I think your avatar shows you're using a recumbant) or recumbent and have it spin around in those conditions that sound the klaxon makes would alert the cars you're there.

I was going to say originally to have a siren but I'm pretty sure there is a law against that one and only the cops, fire, and ambulance have that right.

Well I'd get one of those FOX PRO 40 whistles that are pea-less at an army surplus store for cheap and only get louder as you blow it. If you see a car coming then chip the whistle a few times or get the airhorn and let off a few short bursts.

Another idea which may look kiddish but still effective is to have that stuff the cheerleaders use on those ball things they jump around in. Get lots of those strand things and make two posts at the back of your bike with a few streamers on each post glittering around as you're riding. It should give the driver some heads up combined with the audio alert.

Hope that helps. I can't think of anything else other then building a EMP gun and shooting the car and frying all the electronics in that car but it'll be heavy and take up space.


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Old 10-06-06, 06:23 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rowan
I actually now regard it as the most dangerous riding condition for a cyclist.

If an alternative route is unavailable, I'd suggest rescheduling the ride until the sun has gone down. In my opinion, there is nothing you can do to make yourself more conspicuous to a driver who is already blinded by the sun, but continues to drive in the hope that (a) nothing is on the roadway ahead or (b) they can catch of glimpse of it if it is.

I second this advice. Riding on a straight road into a low sun on a wet road is quite legal but not very safe. Do everything you can to avoid the situation.
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