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-   -   Afraid of the dark (http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/922777-afraid-dark.html)

gregjones 11-19-13 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sasquatch. (Post 16260648)
I use a bar mounted rear view mirror that still doesn't take place of looking back when merging crossing etc etc etc.

+1

I have driven vehicles ranging from motorcycles, sports cars, station wagons and several million miles worth of big trucks. Every last one of them has had a blind spot. It is a fool that make a maneuver trusting only his mirrors.

On the motorcycles I rode, now considered vintage, the mirrors bounced to the point of not being any more than a legal appointment. We turned and looked before we moved.

I don't use a mirror on a bike because I'm gonna turn and look anyway. There's no way that I would trust a mirror to move myself and bike into what at a minimum would be 10 to 15 times bigger than me and moving two to five time faster. I'll look.

Use a mirror if you care.

vol 11-19-13 07:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10 Wheels (Post 16258115)

Two of those lights really work well. For several times when I was on the bike path I thought a small vehicle (like those used by city parks) was coming toward me, only to find out it's a bike with two bright headlight. With only 1 light it would be clear it's a bike.

Jim from Boston 11-20-13 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregjones (Post 16260934)
I have driven vehicles ranging from motorcycles, sports cars, station wagons and several million miles worth of big trucks. Every last one of them has had a blind spot. It is a fool that make a maneuver trusting only his mirrors…

I don't use a mirror on a bike because I'm gonna turn and look anyway. There's no way that I would trust a mirror to move myself and bike into what at a minimum would be 10 to 15 times bigger than me and moving two to five time faster. I'll look.

Use a mirror if you care.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jim from Boston (Post 16260557)
Any mirror is …better than none at all requiring a head and shoulder turn and complete loss of forward vision…

Besides just offensively monitoring the upcoming traffic, a mirror can save split seconds when you have to defensively avoid unexpected obstacles and evade approaching traffic, while still maintaining near-continuous forward vision.


IMO, the use of a mirror is a matter of choice, but I dispute the categorical assertion that it is foolish to make a maneuver trusting only a mirror.

As I mentioned above, as a conscientious cyclist who wears right and left eyeglass mirrors I regularly though not excessively monitor the traffic behind me and I’m usually aware of the situation, including my usual blind spot with the mirror. I determine that blind spot to be about, say 8 feet wide and about 20 feet long, to my immediate left and behind.

Just this morning on a quiet road, I did a head and shoulder turn to assess this area. Even using my peripheral vision, which is less sensitive than direct vision, I had to turn significantly to completely visualize this area, taking my forward vision totally away for a brief period. Furthermore, it seems to me that perhaps the act of twisting my upper body may slightly deviate my forward direction of travel. In my mind to turn and look, with this brief loss of forward vision and control is risky, especially if I have preemptively been checking my surroundings. I may travel at least several feet at usual speed under these circumstances while perhaps simutaneously approaching a nearby obstacle.

I think these disputes that so often arise on BF may occur because the subscribers only relate to their own cycling circumstances. I can understand why someone riding rural, lightly-traveled and perhaps well-paved roads might not feel the need for a mirror, and rely on their hearing and rearward glances. On my urban commute where auto traffic may be heavy, bike lanes narrow, and hazards frequent and sudden, my mirror is the best bet.

Even on a quiet country road though, one rearward hazard I have encountered is that when a car passes, I can never be absolutely sure that another car is not immediately behind, and briefly the road noise sounds only like one car passing. Watching in the mirror as one or two cars approach and pass makes the situation perfectly clear.

Jim’s Law of the Road: “No matter how well-paved or lightly-traveled the Road, a vehicle is likely to pass on the left as you encounter an obstacle on the right.”

noglider 11-20-13 01:15 PM

FBinNY, I disagree that a tail light is more important than a headlight. Given that the two most common car/bike accidents where the motorist is at fault are the left hook (from ahead) and the right hook (from behind), I'd imagine that a headlight helps to prevent these maneuvers than a taillight. Granted, a tail light can help prevent the right hook, too. Still, I think a headlight is slightly more important than a tail light.

Having said that, I insist on using both, and I don't see the need for choosing which of them to use.

FBinNY 11-20-13 01:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 16262967)
FBinNY, I disagree that a tail light is more important than a headlight. Given that the two most common car/bike accidents where the motorist is at fault are the left hook (from ahead) and the right hook (from behind), I'd imagine that a headlight helps to prevent these maneuvers than a taillight. Granted, a tail light can help prevent the right hook, too. Still, I think a headlight is slightly more important than a tail light.

Having said that, I insist on using both, and I don't see the need for choosing which of them to use.

I agree that both is the only way to go. But consider that accident statistics are weighted toward mostly daytime riding. Otherwise we are passed from behind by vastly more cars than we encounter making turns at intersections. Also a cyclist is aware of what's happening around him, he can adjust to turning cars (which he sees) but has no control over cars coming up from behind.

If I'm going to be invisible, let it not be to those in the same lane closing on me at a significant speed difference.

I've lost lights at night. I've ridden without a headlight, and while I don't relish it, I find it manageable. If I lose my tail light, I take to the sidewalk.

rumrunn6 11-20-13 01:41 PM

like anything new - do a little at a time

noglider 11-20-13 02:34 PM

Points taken, FBinNY. I have far too much experience riding without lights. Remember, lights on bikes have not been common in this country until very recently. At this point, in NYC, more than 50% of the bikes I see at night have lights. I would have to say this is as recent as in the last year or two.

In NJ, if I was riding without a tail light, I would assume drivers behind me didn't see me, so when I heard a car coming from behind, I would ride very far to the right, but I didn't get off the road.

Anyway, as I add dynamos to most or all of my bikes, it will soon be a no-brainer. There will be no reason for me to be light-less on the road.

mstraus 11-20-13 03:02 PM

I was nervous about riding in the dark at first, but have been refining my strategy to be visible and have good visibility and am now fairly comfortable with it. I have spent a lot of time observing other bikers at night to see what works and what doesn't and from that and my own experience have noticed a few things
1) a good headlight on your bike is a must. How bright depends on a lot of factors. Ideally something with multiple brightness settings. There are times when I prefer to have mine on low or medium instead of high.
2) have backup lights. You don't want to be out there and having something die on you. I have multiple tail lights and now have a spare headlight as well. Might be piece of mind more then anything.
3) More then one tail light and make sure at least one is very bright - I have noticed the most visible riders have multiple tail lights in different positions. You can have some steady and some blink (steady is supposedly easier to judge distance), this is up to you and there are many opinions. I like making sure I have a light higher up (on my backpack or jacket) as well as lower on the bike as this is easier for a car close to me to see.
4) Riders with a helmet light (head and tail light) as well as lights on the bike seem the most visible. This doesn't need to be as bright as your main headlight. I have noticed a ton of people with the Light and Motion 360 lights on their helmet around me, and they are always easier to see then bikers without a helmet light. You can also use the helmet light to get someones attention, signal where you plan to go etc.
5) Reflective material is important and makes you very visible when headlight hits you. Reflective ankle band, reflective strips on clothing, reflective tape on your bike, etc. is all very helpful. I think this is more important then color of you clothing. I can't really see a yellow jacket at night that much better then a black jacket, its the reflective material I notice first.
6) Something reflective or glowing on your wheels stands out and makes clear you are a moving bike.

FBinNY 11-20-13 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 16263260)

Anyway, as I add dynamos to most or all of my bikes, it will soon be a no-brainer. There will be no reason for me to be light-less on the road.

Battery or dynamo, bulb or LED, stuff happens. I don't back up my headlight. But on the rear is use a bright blue (police) strobe which is very attention getting (and illegal). But I also carry a red Planet Bike super flash in my pocket as a backup.

westrid_dad 11-20-13 04:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mstraus (Post 16263365)
I was nervous about riding in the dark at first, but have been refining my strategy to be visible and have good visibility and am now fairly comfortable with it. I have spent a lot of time observing other bikers at night to see what works and what doesn't and from that and my own experience have noticed a few things
1) a good headlight on your bike is a must. How bright depends on a lot of factors. Ideally something with multiple brightness settings. There are times when I prefer to have mine on low or medium instead of high.
2) have backup lights. You don't want to be out there and having something die on you. I have multiple tail lights and now have a spare headlight as well. Might be piece of mind more then anything.
3) More then one tail light and make sure at least one is very bright - I have noticed the most visible riders have multiple tail lights in different positions. You can have some steady and some blink (steady is supposedly easier to judge distance), this is up to you and there are many opinions. I like making sure I have a light higher up (on my backpack or jacket) as well as lower on the bike as this is easier for a car close to me to see.
4) Riders with a helmet light (head and tail light) as well as lights on the bike seem the most visible. This doesn't need to be as bright as your main headlight. I have noticed a ton of people with the Light and Motion 360 lights on their helmet around me, and they are always easier to see then bikers without a helmet light. You can also use the helmet light to get someones attention, signal where you plan to go etc.
5) Reflective material is important and makes you very visible when headlight hits you. Reflective ankle band, reflective strips on clothing, reflective tape on your bike, etc. is all very helpful. I think this is more important then color of you clothing. I can't really see a yellow jacket at night that much better then a black jacket, its the reflective material I notice first.
6) Something reflective or glowing on your wheels stands out and makes clear you are a moving bike.


Very good suggestions, well done!

noglider 11-20-13 04:06 PM

Yes, stuff happens, but not too often with dynamo lights. I've had failures, but not many. Sometimes, when I'm feeling unlucky, I bring a battery flashlight just in case, but that's pretty rare. And sometimes I bring two tail lights. Two blinkies flashing at different frequency are probably a good attention getter.

One thing I've seen in NYC that I think is cute and clever is having two headlights on the sides of a very wide Wald front basket. Having two widely spaced headlights gives one a feel of perspective, since as the vehicle approaches, you can estimate the approaching speed.

Giant Doofus 11-20-13 04:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noglider (Post 16263623)
Yes, stuff happens, but not too often with dynamo lights. I've had failures, but not many. Sometimes, when I'm feeling unlucky, I bring a battery flashlight just in case, but that's pretty rare. And sometimes I bring two tail lights. Two blinkies flashing at different frequency are probably a good attention getter.

One thing I've seen in NYC that I think is cute and clever is having two headlights on the sides of a very wide Wald front basket. Having two widely spaced headlights gives one a feel of perspective, since as the vehicle approaches, you can estimate the approaching speed.

That's a really great idea. I've also been looking at light placement, though, and wondering whether it might make more sense to mount lights to the fork.

alan s 11-21-13 01:01 AM

As helmet lights become more common, I would say the high/low lights front and rear is the most effective lighting technique. Nothing else out there looks like that, so motorists and bike riders immediately recognize you as a bike.

curly666 11-21-13 05:41 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Giant Doofus (Post 16263643)
That's a really great idea. I've also been looking at light placement, though, and wondering whether it might make more sense to mount lights to the fork.

This works for me, usually run the top two in flashing mode.
http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351831http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351832

Null66 11-21-13 07:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gregjones (Post 16260934)
+1

I have driven vehicles ranging from motorcycles, sports cars, station wagons and several million miles worth of big trucks. Every last one of them has had a blind spot. It is a fool that make a maneuver trusting only his mirrors.

On the motorcycles I rode, now considered vintage, the mirrors bounced to the point of not being any more than a legal appointment. We turned and looked before we moved.

I don't use a mirror on a bike because I'm gonna turn and look anyway. There's no way that I would trust a mirror to move myself and bike into what at a minimum would be 10 to 15 times bigger than me and moving two to five time faster. I'll look.

Use a mirror if you care.

For cars: Most people set the mirrors incorrectly creating blind spots. The image in each mirror is supposed to overlap by just a touch. Most people set the mirrors to see the same image from slightly different angles.

I use mirrors on my brifters and when properly adjusted see the lane and behind me quite well. I still do head checks in many situations, but not all.

Giant Doofus 11-21-13 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by curly666 (Post 16265121)

I like this setup. How did you go about attaching them? Can you buy some kind of mount for that arrangement, or did you rig something up?

alan s 11-21-13 12:13 PM

I want my lights within reach so I can adjust the aim and brightness, so the handlebars are the only place on my bike I'll mount a headlight. What is the advantage of mounting on the fork?

ItsJustMe 11-21-13 02:10 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alan s (Post 16266051)
I want my lights within reach so I can adjust the aim and brightness, so the handlebars are the only place on my bike I'll mount a headlight. What is the advantage of mounting on the fork?

Not possible to use the bars with a handlebar bag on there. That's why I got rid of my handlebar bag.

Also the lower the light, the more contrast you get on potholes. Helmet lights are almost useless for spotting potholes.

Ozonation 11-21-13 02:35 PM

Looks like everybody has pretty much weighed in on this topic. I almost prefer riding at night: yes, I'm less visible, and there might be more crazies on the road, but this is offset by significantly fewer cars and arguably, fewer people rushing around to and from work and other business commitments. Riding at night is somewhat liberating too, and perhaps just a bit more thrilling because it is a bit more risky. ;)

And like others, I prefer not to ride at dusk when the sun is setting. Light conditions are changing too fast, in the winter months drivers are rushing home at that time, and things are just unsettled.

That being said, I have both a powerful front light and a blinking back light, reflectors, and preferably, brighter clothing. I've also attached a blinking red LED to my helmet for added visibility. I also try to be more vigilant and not assume a driver can see me. Once, while I was driving, I was startled because a cyclist literally materialized in front of me going the other way. Dark clothes, dark bike, no reflectors, no lights -just a shape moving through the darkness.

I considered more reflective clothing, like a vest, but I often carry a messenger bag or back pack, so it would cover up the vest. I then thought of fixing some reflective markings permanently on my bag, but they would have to be necessarily larger than normal to be effective, and so would ruin the bag's utility in non-cycling situations (think business settings. Also, I don't always cycle with the same bag or pack.

I guess what I need is a large, removable reflector that I can clip onto either me (if I have no bag) or the bag itself.

Suggestions?

mstraus 11-21-13 02:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ozonation (Post 16266456)
Looks like everybody has pretty much weighed in on this topic. I almost prefer riding at night: yes, I'm less visible, and there might be more crazies on the road, but this is offset by significantly fewer cars and arguably, fewer people rushing around to and from work and other business commitments. Riding at night is somewhat liberating too, and perhaps just a bit more thrilling because it is a bit more risky. ;)

And like others, I prefer not to ride at dusk when the sun is setting. Light conditions are changing too fast, in the winter months drivers are rushing home at that time, and things are just unsettled.

That being said, I have both a powerful front light and a blinking back light, reflectors, and preferably, brighter clothing. I've also attached a blinking red LED to my helmet for added visibility. I also try to be more vigilant and not assume a driver can see me. Once, while I was driving, I was startled because a cyclist literally materialized in front of me going the other way. Dark clothes, dark bike, no reflectors, no lights -just a shape moving through the darkness.

I considered more reflective clothing, like a vest, but I often carry a messenger bag or back pack, so it would cover up the vest. I then thought of fixing some reflective markings permanently on my bag, but they would have to be necessarily larger than normal to be effective, and so would ruin the bag's utility in non-cycling situations (think business settings. Also, I don't always cycle with the same bag or pack.

I guess what I need is a large, removable reflector that I can clip onto either me (if I have no bag) or the bag itself.

Suggestions?

I wear a backpack, which as some reflective material on the back. I also have tried to find gear that has some refective material on the sides where my backpack doesn't block.

You can get reflective tape that is designed to go on clothing or bags. I am not sure how well it sticks on, and it could be expensive to keep removing and adding. They also make "stealth" reflective in black that reflects white.

Many bags have a loop you can attach a light too. I suppose you could attache a reflector as well. Maybe something like a velcro reflective ankle strap could be attached somehow?.

Ozonation 11-21-13 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mstraus (Post 16266512)
I wear a backpack, which as some reflective material on the back. I also have tried to find gear that has some refective material on the sides where my backpack doesn't block.

You can get reflective tape that is designed to go on clothing or bags. I am not sure how well it sticks on, and it could be expensive to keep removing and adding. They also make "stealth" reflective in black that reflects white.

Many bags have a loop you can attach a light too. I suppose you could attache a reflector as well. Maybe something like a velcro reflective ankle strap could be attached somehow?.

I was thinking of mounting a big reflective triangle (e.g., slow moving vehicle - ha ha) on some backing and then rigging that to whatever I was wearing - jacket or bag. Sometimes I'm a bit more dressed up and so the jacket I'm wearing is not the usual bright colour kaleidoscope variety! Maybe it could be attached to a big stretchy strap...

curly666 11-21-13 09:21 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by Giant Doofus (Post 16265927)
I like this setup. How did you go about attaching them? Can you buy some kind of mount for that arrangement, or did you rig something up?

I used a Minora swing grip, I mounted it underneath the stem so it hangs down, works good. I have two flashers on top and two main lights underneath upside down.http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351957http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351960

Giant Doofus 11-21-13 09:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by curly666 (Post 16267521)
I used a Minora swing grip, I mounted it underneath the stem so it hangs down, works good. I have two flashers on top and two main lights underneath upside down.http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351957http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=351960

Huh. The things you learn on the bike forum. I had no idea a device like this even existed. Thanks! Think I'll give this a try.

Paramount1973 11-22-13 02:09 AM

I rode tonight on my commute. Strobing white LED in the front (I can see the strobe light reflecting from signs a hundred yards off or more), 300 lumen Terralux tactical flashlight fixed to my front rack as a headlight, a PDW Danger Zone tail light on zzzzZap mode in the back, and a rear facing red helmet blinky running in solid mode. I was wearing a hi-viz chrome yellow wind shell. I saw a couple of other commuters, also lit up in a similar fashion. That PDW tail light is visible from quite a ways off. Come to think of it, my MKS RMX pedals have front and rear reflectors on them.

curly666 11-22-13 05:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Giant Doofus (Post 16267560)
Huh. The things you learn on the bike forum. I had no idea a device like this even existed. Thanks! Think I'll give this a try.

http://www.minoura.jp/english/access...#utilityholder


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