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  1. #1
    Senior Member Timber_8's Avatar
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    Street Lighting on rural roads

    I am still plotting out all my commuter routes for my night and day travel back and 4th to work. I never noticed before but I see a large number of street light that are out along all the roadways. The one I am most concerned about is the one I will use on my inbound commute. It is a routed road way an I am rather surprised at the amount of lighting that is out. Has anyone else noticed this along there routes and who is worth compiling too? I have thoughts

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    I find with street lighting I need brighter lights due to constantly going from light to dark. I would almost prefer no street lighting. Almost.... as a home owner I prefer the opposite.

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    Cold Rain and Snow Hot Potato's Avatar
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    Huh. As a form amatuer astonomer and homeowner, I prefered less street lights, even around the home. I used to call it "light pollution."

    the only thing about riding totally dark roads is that there are all sorts of noises outside of your headlight beam that you can't see, and I often wonder what is making those noises.
    Quietly elevating being dropped to an art form

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    S E Michigan
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    There should be a number on a little plate on the pole ! Copy down the numbers and call your electric company and give them the numbers that should get them fixed in a week or 2 simple :O)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Potato View Post
    Huh. As a form amatuer astonomer and homeowner, I prefered less street lights, even around the home. I used to call it "light pollution."

    the only thing about riding totally dark roads is that there are all sorts of noises outside of your headlight beam that you can't see, and I often wonder what is making those noises.
    huh?

    eh?

    What is a form amatuer?
    Lights can be equated with safety. Anyhow, in a metro area you are screwed when it comes to light pollution. Hence the reason my father and I would head out into the hills.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    I am still plotting out all my commuter routes for my night and day travel back and 4th to work. I never noticed before but I see a large number of street light that are out along all the roadways. The one I am most concerned about is the one I will use on my inbound commute. It is a routed road way an I am rather surprised at the amount of lighting that is out. Has anyone else noticed this along there routes and who is worth compiling too? I have thoughts
    Since you have mentioned previously that you go from Bridgewater to Mansfield, yet described the roads as rural, I'm not surprised that you have light along some roads, as I have probably ridden them in daylight hours and I would describe them as "exurban," more so than roads I have ridden in Dover which have no lights at all.

    Slightly oblique to your query though, there is a peculiar phenomenon which I have heard described as a virtually paranormal event called streetlight interference in which street lights turn off as you pass them (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetlight_interference) I'm pretty skeptical about it myself, but I have seen it happen on several occasions, maybe about once every three months. It is kind of a non-random event insofar as I note it essentially always when I am going up a slight incline. My route is hills, up or down; flat; or slight inclines, up or down, so that makes it peculiar to me. I never look back though to see if it reverses after I pass.

  7. #7
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    Since you have mentioned previously that you go from Bridgewater to Mansfield, yet described the roads as rural, I'm not surprised that you have light along some roads, as I have probably ridden them in daylight hours and I would describe them as "exurban," more so than roads I have ridden in Dover which have no lights at all.

    Slightly oblique to your query though, there is a peculiar phenomenon which I have heard described as a virtually paranormal event called streetlight interference in which street lights turn off as you pass them (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetlight_interference) I'm pretty skeptical about it myself, but I have seen it happen on several occasions, maybe about once every three months. It is kind of a non-random event insofar as I note it essentially always when I am going up a slight incline. My route is hills, up or down; flat; or slight inclines, up or down, so that makes it peculiar to me. I never look back though to see if it reverses after I pass.
    You are wise to be skeptical.

    http://www.randi.org/jr/082704gluton.html#9

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  8. #8
    Cold Rain and Snow Hot Potato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    huh?

    eh?

    What is a form amatuer?
    Lights can be equated with safety. Anyhow, in a metro area you are screwed when it comes to light pollution. Hence the reason my father and I would head out into the hills.
    LOL. Why, that is short hand for a guy with a broken thumb, typing on a laptop with no spell checker, who barely gets his post submitted before some crisis at work rudely makes him close out BF in a hurry. I have to drive at least an hour to get away from the Chicago sky glow. That, and my increasing age, chronic lack of sleep, wife, and two kids is what has made me a former amatuer astronomer.


    Hmmm.... perhaps I emit some sort of force that deflates bicycle tubes.....
    Last edited by Hot Potato; 02-28-09 at 02:02 PM.
    Quietly elevating being dropped to an art form

  9. #9
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    Haven't noticed a difference

    I commute through three towns, only one has much in the way of street lights, the others only a few on the state roads or near a high way overpass (or in other areas of the town). The town that doesn't have street lights has at least two businesses/families that have a mercury vapor light near the road. I feel I stand out more in the "dark" roads with the contrast of my lights and reflective vest (even good bike lights could use contrast). Even in the town with the lights the lights are pretty uncommon, and generally mark road intersections.

    As far as odd animal noises, I have looked with my headlamp but can't see much, then again the noises are never around a nice street light anyway. I've gotten used to the indignant deer snort which is the most startling (I've also learned to pay attention to chattering squirrels, as they are most likely to run through my wheels - I've had two pretty close calls).

    It has been assumed that lights provide safety, particularly in crime, in fact they MAY not. Perceived safety, perhaps, but other factors such as how busy the road is with neighbors out and about and general crime rates are clearly important. Studies done at colleges found the wrong types of lights, even though they made the ground brighter, actually created "hiding" places since there were more shadows - I'm not sure if they actually had any increase or decrease in crime though. Another study I remember dimly (ha! a little light humor) found graf and vandalism went DOWN when the lights around two suburban schools were turned off perhaps because the punks were scared and went elsewhere or perhaps because any perpetrators had to carry lights with them and stood out more to passing police patrols and neighbors. Building lights MAY be more effective in deterring vandals and theft if on a sensor (only flick on when motion is detected) as it scares some (why did that light go on? have I been seen?) and gives the owner cause to look outside. Safety from road hazards (curves, etc.) seem to have made great improvements in the last few years with reflective plastic line markers and signs. As town budgets get cut the remaining money could go to much better uses and proven crime prevention (i.e. community policing and programs to increase graduation rates) than lighting back country roads through the wee hours.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hot Potato View Post
    LOL. Why, that is short hand for a guy with a broken thumb, typing on a laptop with no spell checker, who barely gets his post submitted before some crisis at work rudely makes him close out BF in a hurry. I have to drive at least an hour to get away from the Chicago sky glow. That, and my increasing age, chronic lack of sleep, wife, and two kids is what has made me a former amatuer astronomer.


    Hmmm.... perhaps I emit some sort of force that deflates bicycle tubes.....
    lol

    I'd like to pick up a telescope for my son.
    I remember spending time with my father and his telescope fondly.

  11. #11
    Senior Member lil brown bat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    I am still plotting out all my commuter routes for my night and day travel back and 4th to work. I never noticed before but I see a large number of street light that are out along all the roadways. The one I am most concerned about is the one I will use on my inbound commute. It is a routed road way an I am rather surprised at the amount of lighting that is out. Has anyone else noticed this along there routes and who is worth compiling too? I have thoughts
    A lighted state highway? Is there such a thing? If it's a town road, you could complain to the town, but if it's truly rural I'm not sure what "street lights" are doing there in the first place.
    You have the right to your own opinion. You don't have the right to your own facts.

  12. #12
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Timber_8 View Post
    Has anyone else noticed this along there routes and who is worth compiling too? I have thoughts
    I honestly can't figure out what this question means. I figured out the misuse of "there" instead of "their", but I don't know what "who is worth compiling too?" means.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  13. #13
    Didn't make it Bat22's Avatar
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    I see I'm not the only part time asstrominer. I didn't realize how bad the light pollution
    is around here until one night I was driving down by lake Champlain Vt, one June night.
    With my headlights on I could see Mars as well as I could near Boston with a meade
    12" SCT.
    I've also pedaled down Rte. 18 south to Bridgewater on my way to Taunton.
    Haven't used the side roads which seem fairly rural.The traffic seems to get
    heavier each year and there are no break down lanes to ride in.
    Ride like a teen machine

  14. #14
    Conservative Hippie
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    I'm with DataJunkie. There are maybe about a dozen streetlights, in clusters, on my seven+ mile commute to work. My old commute was quite well lighted over most of the entire 12 mile route.

    What I have found is that the less ambient light there is from streetlights and other sources, the less light I need to see or be seen. In other words; more ambient light requires brighter lights on the bike.

  15. #15
    Gear Hub fan
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    I have seen reported studies indicating that crime decreases in unlighted areas compared to lighted ones. The criminals have to be able to see too and are pretty obvious if using a flashlight.

    I am also an amateur astronomer and wish outside advertising lighting were banned and street lights be required to be properly shaded, putting their light where needed. A properly reflectored and shaded light can be about half the wattage of a poor design for the same amount of light on the ground, saving energy and tax money.

    In todays government cash crisis I expect to see more street lights out and other cutbacks in government funded services and maintenance.
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  16. #16
    Cold Rain and Snow Hot Potato's Avatar
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    Yes, I think it is called project dark sky, or something like that? Convince government officials to replace existing lights with more efficient, energy saving, better designed lights that don't send light directly upwards, and don't reflect as much light upward from the ground. The beauty of it is that it can be done gradually. No need to throw out the existing infrastructure, just replace it with better design when the existing stuff goes bad. Sure, it will take a few decades, but so what?

    Remember California, where officials were swamped by concerned people who thought the sudden brightening of the stars was responsible for the earthquake? It had been that long since they had seen a dark sky.

    I also saw the reports questioning lighting as a crime deterrent. Only in Sky and Telescope, never the main stream media, so I wasn't sure it was unbiased.
    Quietly elevating being dropped to an art form

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    Didn't make it Bat22's Avatar
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    Dark Sky. There is a map that shows the U.S. at night.
    D.C. to Boston is one enormous light smear. The same
    for southern California. Simple things like attaching
    hoods to street lights throwing light downwards instead of
    wasting it in space. I've been told I gotta get out to Montana.
    where you can see the night sky come down like a dome.
    Ride like a teen machine

  18. #18
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    Another amateur astronomer here. Yes, the studies have shown that bad outdoor lighting (MOST outdoor lighting is bad) contributes to crime levels, and you'd be better off with no lighting at all.

    I built my house where I did to be able to use a telescope, but in the 13 years I've been here, the light pollution has gotten worse. About 2 years ago the convenience store on the corner put in a gas station, which totally sucked. They just went out of business though, so that's a small reprieve.

    I agree as a cyclist as well; I think I'm a lot safer where it's good and dark, my lights really stand out, and I can see better too. In town where there are street lights, it's harder to see without kicking my headlight up to full, and I don't think I'm as visible either.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

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