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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 07-25-10, 08:46 PM   #1
agarose2000
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Ways to improve night-time side visibility?

Any tips for improving night-time side visibility? I've got great stuff for the front & back but I still feel vulnerable on the sides.

I was thinking of mounting PBSFs on straps to my arms or the sides of my bike , but I reconsidered it since it would give the impression that I was going away from the driver rather than perpendicular.
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Old 07-25-10, 08:48 PM   #2
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Do you have reflective tires?
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Old 07-25-10, 09:32 PM   #3
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I recently saw a bicyclist who had mounted a PBSF on each of their knee. They must have sewn some loop on their pants and clipped the light on it. They was pointed not straight back nor sideway. Kinda like 45 degree outward. The blinking along with the up down movment action from his pedaling were very eye catching.
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Old 07-25-10, 09:32 PM   #4
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I have two headlights one on steady the other on blink and facing slightly more to the right. Before I did that I had people pull out in front of me from side streets. Hasn't happened since I went with that setup. I have 3 lights in back.
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Old 07-25-10, 09:41 PM   #5
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What you need is a couple of SpokePOV's for side visibility:

http://www.ladyada.net/make/spokepov/index.html
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Old 07-25-10, 09:43 PM   #6
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Direct sideways visibility is totally irrelevant, as vehicles approaching from 90 degress are already too close to avoid hitting you. Try for illumination at 45 degrees of the front. Blinking wristbands are good for signalling turns at night and also give a bit of sideways illumination.
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Old 07-25-10, 10:14 PM   #7
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Reflective sidewall tires, reflective tape wrapped around the forks (white) and seatstays (red). The tape is actually a bylaw in town here, but I've never heard of it being enforced. I've also seen lighted spoke reflectors, valve stem caps, and bar end plugs.

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Originally Posted by FunkyStickman View Post
What you need is a couple of SpokePOV's for side visibility:

http://www.ladyada.net/make/spokepov/index.html
I love the Pacman and ghost setup!
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Old 07-26-10, 04:56 AM   #8
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You could strap a couple of Knog Beetles to your fork legs and aim them to fire to the sides. They're small, streamlined, and unobtrusive: http://www.knog.com.au/gear-lights/

Tireflys, the small, valve stem mounted LEDs would work, too: http://www.customwheelweights.com/st...ge=C/CTGY/tfuv

Last edited by chaadster; 07-26-10 at 05:20 AM.
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Old 07-26-10, 05:34 AM   #9
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I use one of these wrapped around my frame...works great.... or so some motorists have told me. I got the yellow one...
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Old 07-26-10, 05:51 AM   #10
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Oh, I almost forgot...Monkeylectric!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLtbe...=youtube_gdata
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Old 07-26-10, 06:43 AM   #11
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I use Lightweights in addition to the retroreflective trim on my clothes and trunk bag.
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Old 07-26-10, 06:52 AM   #12
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Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) in Canada has these "Turtle Lights", which are very versatile, quite bright, and can be set in either flashing or steady modes. The little bungee cord allows them to be wrapped around forks, stays, handlebars, frame tubes, etc. (the cord then hooks onto the turtle's "feet") or to be hung from virtually any attachment point. They could easily be mounted facing forward, backward, or sideways on your bike, or they can be hung from zippers, buckles, etc. on your clothes or bags. They can also be mounted on helmets. You can choose white or red LEDs. Unfortunately they use 2 "coin" batteries (which MEC sells for $0.50 a piece) so they can't be recharged. Make sure you dispose of the batteries properly so they don't end up in a landfill! If you don't live in Canada they can be shipped to the States, but I'm sure someone else carries a similar product.


Last edited by irclean; 07-26-10 at 06:58 AM.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:19 AM   #13
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Cateye orbit spoke lights. Amber flashing or steady lights that work well. Very visible and the circular motion helps to give it bikyness ( word of the day)
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Old 07-26-10, 07:53 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
Direct sideways visibility is totally irrelevant, as vehicles approaching from 90 degress are already too close to avoid hitting you. Try for illumination at 45 degrees of the front. Blinking wristbands are good for signalling turns at night and also give a bit of sideways illumination.
Agreed; you want front and rear visibility to at least 45 degrees from center but 90 degrees side illumination is rarely useful for short vehicles driven lawfully. If a driver is pointed at the side of your bike at 90 degrees, either he saw you coming at a stop sign and is waiting for you to clear, or you're so far away that you'll be out if his path before you can collide. As a motorist, the only times I ever notice wheel reflectors before any other part of the bike is when I'm a long way from an intersection where cyclists are crossing, or when a cyclist lacking a headlamp illegally darts in front of me at close distance.

When I stop my bike at an intersection in the left turn lane, I sometimes turn my handlebars and headlamp in the direction of left-turning traffic approaching from my left, to make sure they can see me. Other than that situation, I feel sufficiently visible with front and rear visibility.
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Old 07-26-10, 07:55 AM   #15
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Leave the spoke/side reflectors on the bike, for one...

Reflective tire sidewalls, such as the Schwalbe Marathons or Continental Contacts are a good deal.

Reflective vest or reflective details on your clothing, reflective tape on the bike frame & fork.

Of course, reflectors only do their job when you already have that deer-in-the-headlights situation...

Bright head lights and tail lights are a good measure... the brighter, the better. State law only requires that they be visible from 500 feet away, but you need to seriousl outperform that...

Lights in the wheels, such as "TireFlies", "Hokey Spokes," or similar spoke lights are excellent.

The "DownLow Glow" (http://www.rockthebike.com) is one of the best ways to improve side visibility, letting you ride in about a 10-foot circle of colored light...
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Old 07-26-10, 08:17 AM   #16
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For six bucks I bought a set of led valve caps off of ebay that only turn on when it's dark enough and when you are moving (and this included shipping). They are extremely visible from the side since they are bright leds and they are spinning in circles with your tire rotation.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:36 AM   #17
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Reflective ankle bands work very well. The pedaling motion attracts the eye and quickly identifies you as a cyclist. +1 on reflective tire sidewalls. Though clunky and unattractive, spoke reflectors work very well. I use monkeylectric lights front and back, but I find it attracts motorist to pull up beside you and watch the patterns change.
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Old 07-26-10, 08:57 AM   #18
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Planet Bike BRT Strap, I think it's a pretty good, You can strap it anywhere, I normally ride with it on my left arm at night, by my elbow.




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Old 07-26-10, 10:51 AM   #19
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Forget reflective stuff only. Put an active blinker/light on the front forks at 45 degree angle to forward motion. Works great at intersections between you and roads/driveways/alleys. A 3-5 LED rear light blinker is about about $10. Check REI,etc for options. They really help decrease people trying to right fork or left fork you.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:26 AM   #20
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I've got reflective sidewalls on the tires (Panaracers and Michelins) on both my road bike and my commuter.

You can really see those things shine.

Also, a helmet light is good ... you can aim it where you need it to be seen. I've got a lightweight flashlight up there, running on hyper-blink.

I disagree with the notion that side illumination is worthless. That aside, you can see the reflective sidewalls from well beyond 90-degree angle.
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Old 07-26-10, 11:29 AM   #21
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I use Lightweights in addition to the retroreflective trim on my clothes and trunk bag.
+1 (me too)
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Old 07-26-10, 11:44 AM   #22
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Gee... Lightweights for wheels, reflective sidewalls are great and all, but you could cover your bike in Retro-reflective films (like 3M's Scotchlight, or Avery's films). Here's a shot of my late bike in the snow.


Retro-Reflective Henry in the snow
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Old 07-26-10, 02:55 PM   #23
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^^^I was waiting for K'Tesh to post - he's got the most reflective bikes on BF!
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Old 07-26-10, 03:00 PM   #24
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The spoke lights are pretty attention grabbing.

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Old 07-26-10, 03:01 PM   #25
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Poking around, I see these NiteIze Spokelit thingies, too: http://www.niteize.com/collections/l...ducts/spokelit

EDIT: Seattle Forrest beat me to 'em by a minute...and with a pic!
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