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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 03-09-11, 09:32 AM   #1
lovemachine
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bus strobe

Its been foggy here the last few morning and the xenon strobes that flash on the top of the school buses seems to carry forever. Even when the fog is super thick the surrounding area is lit up letting you know something is there. My commute to work drops down a hill into a valley that usually full of really thick fog. This is also where I am forced onto Highway 60 for about two miles. To the point does anybody run a xenon strobe like this one.

http://www.google.com/products/catal...&ved=0CBMQ8gI#
.

Says its good for 60hrs, and I don't mind being mistaken for a school bus. It may be more effective on the top of a flag pole.

Thoughts?

Craig
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Old 03-09-11, 09:49 AM   #2
MMACH 5
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I've seen smaller, AA-battery versions at Academy for about $20. I'm intrigued, but haven't dropped the duckets on one. And the smaller version only runs for 8hrs.
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Old 03-09-11, 09:56 AM   #3
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Those things are great, and would likely do what you want - but they're very bright and would need to be placed somewhere where they won't interfere with your vision, or that of the drivers of passing cars.

When I was on the fire department, for a while I worked out of a station in a rural area that did not house an ambulance. Instead we ran what was called a first-responder truck, which was a 4x4 pickup with a cabinet box for a bed that would carry all of our EMS equipment, and we would man it with two EMTs. We carried one of those exact same strobes in the glove compartment. When we got an EMS call we would send the first-responder truck, and a transport ambulance would come from a different station, and possibly a paramedic car from a third station.

Due to the rural nature of our area, a lot of the medical responses would be to households that were back long driveways and probably poorly marked. Hard to find at night. Especially if you were the ambulance or medic car, and this wasn't your usual response area.

Anyway, on night runs, when our first-responder truck found the right driveway, they would turn the strobe on and toss it out the window alongside the driveway. This would mark the driveway for the follow-up units. Worked great!
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Old 03-09-11, 10:09 AM   #4
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I say if your going to ride at night, follow the rules of the road, have a small front light to watch for debris, and wear a safety vest - bright green with lots of reflexive strips. Ive never used strobes or rear lights because that vest is practically a night light on the road. Strobes re kinda battery eaters, and I don't have the patience for them.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:15 AM   #5
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I say if your going to ride at night, follow the rules of the road, have a small front light to watch for debris, and wear a safety vest - bright green with lots of reflexive strips. Ive never used strobes or rear lights because that vest is practically a night light on the road. Strobes re kinda battery eaters, and I don't have the patience for them.
I believe in most areas, the rules of the road require a rear light. Reflective and bright clothing is great when the headlights are on you, but are not very visible when the headlights aren't on you. A rear light lets them know something is there long before the headlights hit you.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:20 AM   #6
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That D-cell is going to be heavy on your helmet. $.02 is get a bright red strobe for the rear of your helmet like the new Superflash and one of those 3AAA cell Led headlamps that have a strobe function for the front. If you're in thick dense fog you're screwed strobe or not. The fact that the bus is BIG and yellow does a lot to ensure it's being seen and it's not going to be as damaged as you anyway.

This LED headlamp has a strobe function that's almost as bright as a xenon flash. It's very good.

http://www.petzl.com/en/outdoor/head...kka-2/tikka-xp

get a good charger and NiMh rechargeables. Not that great in very cold weather but I've been running these lights for five days/week with a couple of sets of batteries that are two years old.




http://www.tek-tite.com/src/product_info.php?id=3086
This xenon strobe is light.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pallen View Post
I believe in most areas, the rules of the road require a rear light. Reflective and bright clothing is great when the headlights are on you, but are not very visible when the headlights aren't on you. A rear light lets them know something is there long before the headlights hit you.
Never mind he is riding in a heavy fog where a safety vest will be pointless until the vehicle is almost on top of him.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:33 AM   #8
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Ive got plenty of headlights and rear leds, but they just don't seem to carry far enough when the fog is in the equation. I was thinking that the strobe's purpose would be from a half mile away let a driver know that something is ahead way before my swerve light could.

We have a speedwalker (salmon) who wears one of those vests and if he happens to be at the top of the hill it scares the hell out of me when I'm driving.

Academy? link please, I'm interested.

Craig

Last edited by lovemachine; 03-09-11 at 10:39 AM. Reason: link please
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Old 03-09-11, 10:47 AM   #9
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I wonder if the Dinotte tail light offerings might be an option.
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Old 03-09-11, 10:52 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BotByte View Post
I say if your going to ride at night, follow the rules of the road, have a small front light to watch for debris, and wear a safety vest - bright green with lots of reflexive strips. Ive never used strobes or rear lights because that vest is practically a night light on the road. Strobes re kinda battery eaters, and I don't have the patience for them.
Well, sounds like this works for you in your situation, but:
1) OP is talking about fog - vest is virtually useless except for close range
2) what works for you (i.e. minimal active lighting) may not be compliant with the laws in many places, and, quite frankly is probably less than sufficient for what many commuters find works for them.
3) not all lighting requires batteries. dynamo lighting has come a long way in the last 10 years.
4) Use rechargeables for those battery-powered blinkies. I've been using the same batteries for 5 years for mine.

Last edited by canyoneagle; 03-09-11 at 10:59 AM.
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Old 03-09-11, 11:02 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by lovemachine View Post
Ive got plenty of headlights and rear leds, but they just don't seem to carry far enough when the fog is in the equation. I was thinking that the strobe's purpose would be from a half mile away let a driver know that something is ahead way before my swerve light could.
Craig
problem is that in dense fog any strobe light won't indicate your position and if seriously bright facing forward the back scatter will blind you. I'd stick with bike specific lighting and simply amp up the wattage. Dinotte headlamps have a good strobe function, their tailamps are extremely bright. Check out that Petzl TikkaXp

I grew up in dense fog and it seems like bright strobes just light up an indistinct area without sufficient duration to fix position which is what you really want if cars are passing at 3' away at 35mph and you're going 10-15mph.
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Old 03-09-11, 11:04 AM   #12
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...

Academy? link please, I'm interested.

Craig
Academy is a sporting goods store, here in TX and the Southeast. I just looked and they don't list them on their site, only on their shelves.

Google "acr c-strobe" and you'll find the smaller ones.
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Old 03-09-11, 11:37 AM   #13
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Generally people go with either Lightman strobes or the DIY 12 volt option from All Electronics.

I used to use the All one but I went through 3 of them in 2 years - they just can't take the vibration of riding on gravel roads. They're designed to be in-place warnings, not vehicle mounted. They work fantastic when they work though, and they're cheap.

I now use a MagicShine taillight, and I'm thinking about getting another one and running two (maybe one on constant).
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