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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 12-11-07, 06:46 PM   #1
Nachoman
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To Strobe Or NOT To Strobe

That is the question.
Assume the following facts:
Cyclist is commuting home at night.
Cyclist is wearing helmet light.
Cyclist is not riding on MUP.
Cyclist is riding on semi-urban city streets.
To insure maximum safety should cyclist strobe or use steady, constant light?
Discuss.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:02 PM   #2
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I run three on strobe.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:05 PM   #3
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Strobe best, steady second best, sequence - worst.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:14 PM   #4
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Forward = steady dual halogens
Rearward = Xenon strobe + steady LED motorcycle tail light
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Old 12-11-07, 07:17 PM   #5
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Forward = steady dual halogens
Rearward = Xenon strobe + steady LED motorcycle tail light
You got it right. Xenon flash tube strobe. A blinking LED is not a strobe, it's a blinky.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:27 PM   #6
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In the area where I ride, and as far as I know throughout the state and quite possibly the entire region of the country; a flashing headlight signals oncoming motorists that you are giving up the right of way and signals them to go ahead......No modulation or strobe for me.....Not on my bicycle nor my motorcycle.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:27 PM   #7
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I'd put the light on strobe.
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Old 12-11-07, 07:29 PM   #8
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You got it right. Xenon flash tube strobe. A blinking LED is not a strobe, it's a blinky.
And with that xenon strobe on there... if someone hits me it's because they know me!
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Old 12-11-07, 08:20 PM   #9
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One of each, one set on steady, one flashing. The flashing gets attention, the steady allows drivers to judge your distance and speed and breaks up the flashing pattern so drunks don't get hypnotized by the flash.
I run a Cateye LD1000 on steady and a PB Superflash on annoyatron mode.
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Old 12-11-07, 08:21 PM   #10
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strobe everything and have a front light in front to see if you can. I bought mpi flashers, they can attach to each arm, I doubt any car can miss me with those on. they work great!!
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Old 12-11-07, 08:24 PM   #11
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I have three tail lights on the back of my rack. The one in the middle is set to blink and the other two are on steady.
(It is illegal in almost all states to have more than one flashing light on the rear of a vehicle, unless they are synchronized to flash in unison. They reserve this set up for emergency vehicles.)
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Old 12-11-07, 09:54 PM   #12
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For taillights - I have a Dinotte 600L in blinking mode, plus 2 Planet Bike Superflash, also in blinking mode. I figure my reflective vest and reflective tape on the rear fender is sufficient "non-blinking" countermeasures.

For headlights - I run a Dinotte 600L on my helmet. It stays mostly on high beam, but if I'm riding near downtown with lots of other cars and commercial lighting, I'll switch to blinking mode. But for darker sections of roadway, the steady beam does a better job lighting my way.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:03 PM   #13
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I'm amazed at folks who are confident enough to run either a single tail light or headlight. I know some of these systems are bomber, but sh$t happens. I personally always run multiple lights even if it's just a spare blinky. As for the OP, one on blink front and back the rest steady.
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Old 12-11-07, 10:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed View Post
I'm amazed at folks who are confident enough to run either a single tail light or headlight. I know some of these systems are bomber, but sh$t happens. I personally always run multiple lights even if it's just a spare blinky. As for the OP, one on blink front and back the rest steady.
That's exactly the way I do it. But I've been reading so much anti strobe propaganda and just wanted to shine a light on the issue.
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Old 12-12-07, 12:22 AM   #15
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Solid if mounted, blinking if worn.

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Strobe best, steady second best, sequence - worst.
Why is sequence bad?
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Old 12-12-07, 08:51 AM   #16
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Both - I mix it up

forward
niterider classic headlights on solid

rearward
superflash on seatpost SOLID
LD1000 on rack on FLASH
led on seatpost on FLASH

superflash on helmet FLASH
LD1000 on courier bag on FLASH
Optic cable lights on bag on SOLID

add an illuminite jacket, illuminite helmet cover and a bike frame where every rearward facing surface is covered in red and forward facing surface is covered in white 3m scotchlite tape and I'm pretty sure I can be seen from the international space station.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:50 AM   #17
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I have a helmet light, and 2 bar lights, I strobe one during fully dailight and at the twlight hours. If it fully dark I turn strobe off. On the rear all 3 of my lights blink all the time.
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Old 12-12-07, 09:52 AM   #18
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Darkness = L+M Arc Ultra front steady, Helmet rear - Cateye blinky, seatpost PB Superflash strobing, messenger bag reflective strips, CPSC wheel reflecters, etc.
Daylight = UltraFaser 3 LED headlight on strobe.

Strobing definitely attracts visual attention = gets you noticed. I think strobing white lights in darkness can confuse drivers. My HID headlight can pump out some light, so it gets noticed. The PB Superflash rocks - it is one great blinky - the pattern of 1/2 watt LED in concert with the smaller LEDs is unusual enough to attract attention

Last edited by usmcmarathonman; 12-12-07 at 09:52 AM. Reason: clarity
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Old 12-12-07, 10:10 AM   #19
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I really don't like front flashing lights when I see them from my car. I can never get a good sense of how close or how fast the object is moving.

I use a 10W HID front light with no backups. It has never gone out on me and if it does I can limp home (on the sidewalk if needed) acting as if invisible and following pedestrian rules and speeds.

Rear I use three LED lights. In full dark: A PBSF in blink mode on helmet, A PBSF in steady on backpack and a Cateye LD-1000 full solid. In low light/rain conditions I put them all on blink.

Al
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Old 12-12-07, 10:19 AM   #20
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I have both my helmet light and handlebar light set to steady. My PB SuperFlash is on blink and the Dinotte tail light is on steady. And my Christmas lights are on steady too!
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Old 12-12-07, 11:24 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Treespeed View Post
I'm amazed at folks who are confident enough to run either a single tail light or headlight. I know some of these systems are bomber, but sh$t happens. I personally always run multiple lights even if it's just a spare blinky. As for the OP, one on blink front and back the rest steady.
I also have a fair amount of reflective gunk and hi-vis clothing as backup. I have a 1.5x4" DOT truck reflector permanently mounted on my bike, plus a few inches of reflective stuff on my helmet, and a construction worker's reflective vest. In most night conditions those are more visible than almost any blinkie (other than xenon strobes/nova bull and perhaps some other high-end models).

I also run two blinkies but I'm not hyper-religious about it.
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Old 12-12-07, 12:28 PM   #22
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During the evening commute home (dark) I use the following:
Front:
- B&M DLumitec Oval Senseo Plus - Solid (LED light with capacitor to remain on whe stopped)
- Trek 5 LED light on flashing (no impressive in the light output)
Rear:
- PlanetBike Super Flash - Solid mode (it lights up the road behind me just like a car tail light, flashing mode appears so bright it may distract drivers)
- Pyramid 5 light - Flash mode
On Body:
- ANSI Class 2 Hi-Viz vest and 3M Solas reflective tape on helmet, rear fender, and some other strategic places on the bike

During morning commute (not dark, but not bright yet)
Front:
- B&M DLumitec Oval Senseo Plus - Solid (LED light with capacitor to remain on whe stopped)
- Trek 5 LED light - Not used
Rear:
- PlanetBike Super Flash - Flash mode
Pyramid 5 light - Solid mode
On Body:
ANSI Class 2 Hi-Viz vest (all reflective materials don't help during low light, but not dark conditions)

I did some non scientific tests with the bike parked on a dark part of the street and check to see what would get my attention without being overly distracting to drivers. The above seems to work well for my setup.

Happy riding,
André
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Old 12-12-07, 01:56 PM   #23
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I really don't like front flashing lights when I see them from my car. I can never get a good sense of how close or how fast the object is moving.
I'll second that. I run dynohub driven stead front and rear lights on a light sensor (auto on). In lower light (I usually leave my office around 4) I have an illuminite vest and an LD1000 stuck in the loop on my helmet with one level on chasing and the other steady. Also, long (~2 ft) strips of reflective tape down the fenders of the bike, and if I can ever find any for the wacky S-6 rims I have, reflective sidewalls are in the future.
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Old 12-12-07, 02:59 PM   #24
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I've done enough group rides at night to know that flashing blinkies are annoying to follow. I use steady taillights out of habit and found that I'm no less visible to cars because of that.

... but then, part of that might also be having multiple tail lights and a jacket with a lot of reflective material.
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Old 12-12-07, 03:23 PM   #25
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Forward and rear flashing on city streets, forward light steady/solid on MUPs.
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