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Thread: Fog

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    Fog

    Today we had such heavy Fog that you couldn't see anymore then 100' at a time for the first few miles. Has anyone rode through Fog this thick? If so, did it change the way you rode? (Speed or how many miles you rode.)

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    Good question/topic. I think this is one of the most dangerous situations we ride in. Thick fog diminishes the effectiveness of the rear blinky lights big time. I'm not so sure reflective clothing is perhaps more important than anything. Very interested in what the more experienced folks have to say.

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    Fog is very dangerous.

    Obviously.

    it's the one condition that I really avoid riding in, and will take to a sidewalk and go slowly if the only other option is a regular traffic lane.

    Mercifully, we don't have it heavy here very often.
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    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    Just last night, I was at work so I had no choice but to hit the road. I'm fortunate to have a rural commute so at night it's pitch black anyway. With my two rear blinkers and hi-vis vest I was still easy to spot in the dark so I didn't feel unsafe at all. My headlight is very powerful so that was fine too.
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    Senior Member GeneO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colorado Kid View Post
    Today we had such heavy Fog that you couldn't see anymore then 100' at a time for the first few miles. Has anyone rode through Fog this thick? If so, did it change the way you rode? (Speed or how many miles you rode.)
    Yes, but not on the road. Wouldn't want to tackle that on the road.
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    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Mount and turn on every light you have, wear your most reflective clothes, then ride on side roads and sidewalks . . . heavy fog is dangerous. For drivers and for riders and for pedestrians.

    If I was caught out in heavy fog and had absolutely no choice but to ride on a road with cars, I'd probably remove my headlight from the bars and remount it somewhere pointing rearward. Rely on my helmet light to see forward, and swivel my head constantly in hope that drivers from my side would see it.
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    Senior Member alan s's Avatar
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    Ran into a bit of fog yesterday along the Potomac. Had to turn off the helmet light to avoid being blinded. Not dangerous on the MUP, but roads would be another matter.

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    Senior Member jputnam's Avatar
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    In winter, on the bottom of a humid river valley, I regularly commute in fog with visibility under 100 feet. Not really a problem, just slow down a bit and make sure you're well lit.

    Many headlights will throw a wall of glare in front of you that makes them worse than nothing -- you'll want a light mounted below bar height and forward of your face, preferably with a strong top cutoff on the beam to minimize glare. Mine is fork crown mounted, about 6" ahead of the crown.

    Tail lights need to be bright in the fog. I have a pair of 1W PDW Radbots that cut through fog pretty well, plus a lot of rear-facing diamond-grade reflector. If you have to ride in the street, stay visible, fog increases the risk of not being seen at intersections and by overtaking motorists if you're not where they're looking for conflicts.

    If you have ninja cyclists in your area, be extra wary in the fog, unlit riders are even less visible than usual, and the effectiveness of reflectors is reduced by the scattering of your headlight beam.
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    Fog does have an impact on how I ride. I typically slow down a bit and make sure that both rear lights are on (one on bike & the other on my helmet). Since I started wearing a Niterider Lumina on my helmet, I've had fewer problems with cars at intersections, even in heavy fog. It seems that the beam is bright enough that when I look in the direction of the cross street, driver see it.
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    I've never been in a fog bad enough for serious visibility issues at bicycle speed, though I've had winter fogs, condense and freeze on me, turning me into a snowman.

    Yes, there's the issue of me being visible to cars coming up from behind, but IME (so far) cars also moderate their speed, and I get passed much less frequently than otherwise. Those who do pass, are barely going faster than I am, and seem to get around me fine.

    It's also been my experience that drivers are on higher alert when vis is bad, so I'm probably better off than on a clear day when they're less attentive.

    It might also make a difference that I us a bright blue strobe as a tail light, and it seems to get attention.
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    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Yesterday was the warmest, driest day of the week but I drove due to heavy fog. It's just not worth the risk. I have ridden in the fog before and made the decision afterwards to avoid it if at all possible. First, your glasses get all misted up, making it very difficult to see potholes, sticks and other obstacles. In heavy fog, you have to keep wiping your glasses clear or just take them off, and it's hard to ride with no glasses on a cold winter day -- particularly if you have corrective lenses. Second, drivers obviously have a harder time seeing you as well. The biggest reason that drivers give for hitting cyclists is "I didn't see him," and heavy fog reinforces that excuse. If your commute route is mostly or entirely on bike paths, then it might be worth riding, but you still run the risk of hitting other cyclists, runners or obstacles.

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    100' visibility isn't too bad. I rode in that the other day. I just pretended it was dark out and turned on all of my lights and wore all of my reflective gear. I had no problems.

    If it was really thick fog with <25' visibility (I've only seen it once in my life), I'd probably take the car, and drive very slowly.

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    My commute includes 10 miles of a MUP that parallels a river. The last couple of weeks there's been a couple of mile section with fog dense enough (coupled with kamikaze deer) that I had to slow down. I'd estimate visibility was no more than 30 ft. I ride this MUP a lot, and I still got disoriented and almost missed a turn. As others have said, the high powered lamp on my helmet did more harm than good (at least for my ability to see), but I felt OK with my Dinotte 300 on steady and a Niterider 2W Solas flashing behind me.

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    that would be a good day to skip. in my area today we had freezing fog. which means the moisture from the fog freezes on the roadways making them slippery, very much like black ice, but in a weirdly different way
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

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    It usually doesn't effect my speed that much, but I definitely have all of the flashers going.

    We had black ice and fog here yesterday, double whammy. I slid out on a couple of the slicker patches, but nothing I couldn't recover from. My tires did a pretty good job of handling the slick roads, I had to get off of my bike at one point to pick up something I had dropped and my shoes were less effective at gripping than my tires were.

    We get fog around here alot. The office I work in is situated on a building that is on the outter Neoponsett valley, so we get wierd localized wheather phenomon here. I've seen mornings where it's only foggy/rainy/snowing in the local vacinity to my office and has been relatively mild the farther I travel from the valley.

    My bigger hazard than either fog or black ice is the amount of instant potholes on the roads. Holy hell there are some craters out there right now.
    Last edited by OneGoodLeg; 01-16-14 at 09:47 AM.

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    Today we had such heavy Fog that you couldn't see anymore then 100' at a time for the first few miles. Has anyone rode through Fog this thick? If so, did it change the way you rode? (Speed or how many miles you rode.)

    Well abundant water 3 sides of me.. fog horns on the ships at anchor go off regularly ..

    This summer I moved into town, proper, @ 65 I bought a wee house. 1st and only
    so Grocery runs are the distant trips 5 mile RT.

    fog here , dew point is above freezing , so its more staying out of the way on sidewalks and the riverwalk MUP.

    my winter Parka is as a tow truck driver's.. neon and reflective, and my bike has dynamo lights F&R..

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    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGoodLeg View Post
    It usually doesn't effect my speed that much, but I definitely have all of the flashers going.

    We had black ice and fog here yesterday, double whammy. I slid out on a couple of the slicker patches, but nothing I couldn't recover from. My tires did a pretty good job of handling the slick roads, I had to get off of my bike at one point to pick up something I had dropped and my shoes were less effective at gripping than my tires were.

    We get fog around here alot. The office I work in is situated on a building that is on the outter Neoponsett valley, so we get wierd localized wheather phenomon here. I've seen mornings where it's only foggy/rainy/snowing in the local vacinity to my office and has been relatively mild the farther I travel from the valley.

    My bigger hazard than either fog or black ice is the amount of instant potholes on the roads. Holy hell there are some craters out there right now.
    would you consider studds for the next couple of months?
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneGoodLeg View Post
    ...My bigger hazard than either fog or black ice is the amount of instant potholes on the roads. Holy hell there are some craters out there right now.
    Yes, it's amazing what the winter freeze/thaw cycle does to roads in the Northeast. It's one reason I use 2" tires on my commuter. I don't know about where you are, but in the NTC metro area, it takes almost until May for them to get roads into halfway decent shape again. (they never get better than halfway decent).

    One problem here is the lines of authority for road maintenance. Each city/town maintains their own, but it makes for strange consequences. For example, my daily route takes me over a parkway, that is also the town border. So town A plows/paves up to the overpass, and town B the same on the other side. The overpass itself is the states responsibility along with the exit entrance ramps, so we end up with OK conditions on either (sometimes both) sides, but the overpass itself is a mess.
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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    would you consider studds for the next couple of months?
    If the fog is right around Freezing and snow temperatures , certainly ..

    by now its a spare bike I own, set up with studded tires to ride it as required.

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    Sure, pretty often. I ride with a 3 watt and two 2 watt tail lights, that takes care of it for me. Fog, heavy rain and snow don't really cause me any trouble. I ride nothing but studs from Nov to March so that doesn't bother me. I do watch out when there's freezing rain or fog because the CARS might start slipping around.
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    I don't know about 100' visibility, but I ride in dark fog all the time on my rural commute. It's that or rain, sometimes both. I comfort myself by noting how far away I can see other lights and reflective surfaces in front of me, and knowing that I'm as bright as they are from behind. Like another poster above I run two PDW Radbots blinking, along with my dyno hub powered steady on tail light. Only two cars passed me in the whole 9 miles, though there will be more than that on the way home.

    FBinNY, I'm jealous of your blue strobe. No problems with cops? Where did you get it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by enigmaT120 View Post
    FBinNY, I'm jealous of your blue strobe. No problems with cops? Where did you get it?
    I used to sell them to bike cops. Mine is a Xenon strobe from a company called Lightman. However technology has jumped past this and when it comes time to replace it, I'll search out a bright LED system, in the 100+ lumen range.

    Over the 6 years that I've used it, I was stopped twice. Each time I explained that red was easily mistaken for something moving faster, and I really wanted to get driver's attention. Since I had it in back, and couldn't chase a car that way, there was no likelihood that I'd be taken as a cop. Both officers agreed that they'd rather have me lit blue, than have to find me and write an accident report.

    It's been my experience, that officers see the result of ninja cyclists so often, that they agree that any light is better than none.
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    Yeah, wicked thick fog yesterday morning. I couldn't see more than one street light at any time, but I left so early (4:45 am) that I could hear traffic a half mile away, so I did not feel particularly endangered. I only saw a couple cars in the six mile ride to the train station. But got soaked in front, which made for a cold train ride.

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