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  1. #1
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    Have you ever got into your car and looked at your setup from the drivers viewpoint?

    I almost hit a guy last week..... I really almost couldn't see him.
    He had the little red blinky light under his seat that was almost invisible... NOTHING ELSE TO THE REAR - no reflective tape or anything on his frame or clothing. Black shorts and a red & white striped jersey that may as well have been black with some white accents. Couldn't tell you what color his helmet was (red? Blue? in the dark it may as well have been black). He was changing lanes (across two lanes) in front of me to to get into a left turning lane. He did have a pretty bright light on the front that I was able to see once he had started turning....

    I was not expecting to see a cyclist on this roadway at all, let alone at night.
    The experience has really made me think about how I might set up to be as visible as possible.

    Not flaming or anything, just saying to be careful out there and make yourself as visible as you can.... Put your stuff out there and then get behind the wheel to see what you look like to the driver....
    I'm just a worn out black & white striped Clydesdale....

  2. #2
    Senior Member TransitBiker's Avatar
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    Humans.

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  3. #3
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyref View Post
    I was not expecting to see a cyclist on this roadway at all, let alone at night.
    So... this is on you. Cyclist seems to have been doing all the right things.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    So... this is on you. Cyclist seems to have been doing all the right things.
    All the right things? That's a load of manure. The OP pointed out that his rear light was near invisible, as well as pointing out that the cyclist had to swerve across two lanes of traffic in order to cut him off. It's not like bother parties are perfect, but I get the impression that the cyclist is more at fault, and if the cyclist was driving a car, a citation for reckless driving wouldn't have been inordinate.

    Not that it matters anyways - it's getting away from the topic at hand. All the OP is asking is if you've ever hopped in a car to get a view of your bike to see how reflective it is to drivers at various angles, and that was the backstory where he explained how he realized a rear reflector under the seatpost is insufficient and you should have a reflector/light on your helmet and back, too.

  5. #5
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jas556 View Post
    All the right things? That's a load of manure.
    You're new here. Some posters would defend the cyclist even if they were wearing all black, had no lights, going the wrong way, and was double the legal blood alcohol level.

  6. #6
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    Since this is Commuting and not A&S...

    Cyclist was totally in the wrong. Needs reflective clothing, a better rear light and some way of signaling lane changes in the dark.

    With that said, driver should always expect a cyclist on any road, even in the middle of the night.

  7. #7
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    I haven't gone in a car to see what I look like on my bike, but since one of my lights is on my helmet and clothing makes a difference it would really have to be someone else following me getting the look.

    I may ask my wife to do this as the days get shorter again, as currently I am infrequently riding in the dark with the longer days.

    I have made observations of many other cyclists, and noticed that MANY cyclists have inadequate rear lights, sometimes with dying batteries, or mounted in a way that makes them hard to see. I am also surprised at the number of cyclists I have seen with virtually nothing reflective.

    It is a stark contrast when you see someone with adequate reflective material on bike and clothes, and with good lights. I have found this to be one of the best ways to learn what gear is good for visibility.

  8. #8
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jas556 View Post
    All the right things? That's a load of manure. The OP pointed out that his rear light was near invisible, as well as pointing out that the cyclist had to swerve across two lanes of traffic in order to cut him off. It's not like bother parties are perfect, but I get the impression that the cyclist is more at fault, and if the cyclist was driving a car, a citation for reckless driving wouldn't have been inordinate.

    Not that it matters anyways - it's getting away from the topic at hand. All the OP is asking is if you've ever hopped in a car to get a view of your bike to see how reflective it is to drivers at various angles, and that was the backstory where he explained how he realized a rear reflector under the seatpost is insufficient and you should have a reflector/light on your helmet and back, too.
    Near invisible is not invisible -- driver saw both a rear and front light.

    How else would you expect a left turning cyclist to get from FRAP to left-turn lane/position?

    I don't recall OP claiming cyclist cut him off -- pure uninformed hyperbole you are bringing to the thread.

    Since cyclist was obeying the law and acting in a lawful manner, I would certainly expect a citation for reckless driving to be inordinate.

    There are many cyclists who go overboard with the visibility thing. OP saw the cyclist and didn't hit them when cyclist made a legit move in traffic. All the rest is opinion, and misguided, IMO.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  9. #9
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    Hey guys... I have no issue with the guy signaling and crossing lanes when safe... I cannot say that he did\didn't signal because I COULD NOT SEE HIM UNTIL I NOTICED MOVEMENT AND NEARLY AFTER THE FACT THAT DIM RED LIGHT. He came from right side of right lane, across my lane to the turning lane. He was far enough ahead of me that he may have signaled - or just went for it thinking he had the room...... BUT HE WAS STILL INVISIBLE UNTIL HE WAS ALOST PERPENDICULAR TO ME.

    My point was that I saw movement (the same way you pick up a deer on the side of the road that's about to try to become road-kill) and zeroed in on him. I was not quite doing 30mph since I was starting from a stop at
    the red light. Folks go significantly faster through there (as in 50mph+) if they catch the green at the top of the hill & he crossed about 100 yards on the down side past the light.

    At any rate, My point was that until he turned nearly broadside to me I could barely make out that he was a cyclist.... HE PROBABLY THOUGHT HE WAS DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS BUT NEVER ACTUALLY TOOK A LOOK FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE DRIVER.

    No flames here, just suggesting that folks should put their kit and rig out there and see what the preoccupied driver will see and adjust accordingly. This experience has made me decide to buy a roll of that reflective tape and add some stripes to the frame of the bike that I'm likely to ride at dusk... maybe even put one of those bright headlights on the back angled at the ground just because I saw that really clear once he turned.
    Last edited by hockeyref; 07-28-14 at 11:56 AM.
    I'm just a worn out black & white striped Clydesdale....

  10. #10
    Nobody mconlonx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hockeyref View Post
    HE PROBABLY THOUGHT HE WAS DOING ALL THE RIGHT THINGS BUT NEVER ACTUALLY TOOK A LOOK FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE DRIVER.
    Valid point. And if he did not have pedal reflectors or a rear one, would technically have been in the wrong. I usually go with two rear lights -- solid light on the bike; blinking light on my helmet.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  11. #11
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    For the record, this occurred on a section of a 4 lane highway that has a bunch if traffic lights due to walmat/sams club/lowes/home depot/restaurants, etc. speed limit is 45 and you have about 200 yards or so between lights. Depending on time of day/ night it is entirely possible to catch the lights green while doing the speed limit. You typically do not see cyclists on it -ever. He was likely crossing from one side road to another (that is tree lined and has no lights at all BTW).
    I'm just a worn out black & white striped Clydesdale....

  12. #12
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    I've had my wife check to see if my lights were easily visible when we were leaving (me bike, her car) at the same time.

    No matter who right, wrong, legal, not legal when you are on a bike you are at the disadvantage. I care about two things:
    1 - Am I being a courteous biker so that the biker/car driver relationship has a great chance of working and so that I did not unfairly contribute to someone's attitude that could get someone else hurt?
    2 - Will I be safe?

    Doesn't have to be in that order. Basically no matter what my rights are I treat my rides as if I am a guest on the road. It keeps me grounded and courteous.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Valid point. And if he did not have pedal reflectors or a rear one, would technically have been in the wrong. I usually go with two rear lights -- solid light on the bike; blinking light on my helmet.
    He still is in the wrong, even if he had an audible siren and a flashing strobe light. HE was the one going across traffic, HE was the one changing lanes, HE was the one with the duty to change his speed to in an effort to integrate himself into traffic. Hell, it sounds like the bicyclist thinks he's a jaywalking pedestrian trying to ride perpendicular to traffic.

  14. #14
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    Oh boy, another flame-war. My we're having a busy time of it. Might I observe in the early skirmishing, that in other First World countries cyclists do not have to work especially hard at visibility, either day or night to keep from being creamed by cagers. We aren't talking a small difference we are talking about orders of magnitudes difference in your chances of becoming seriously injured or killed in the U.S. vs. almost anywhere else considered a developed country. Part of it is infrastructure. Levels of overall illumination are tolerated here that are not even sufficient for the public safety of individuals NOT engaged in driving activities.

    One thing I notice, however, drivers always say "you should... ..." you should have more light, you should have more reflective thingies, you should have a light on your helmet, you should have a hi-viz vest, you should not be in the road, you should not be riding so fast/slow/at all ... ... drivers never look at their own behavior and/or equipment. Too many drivers have only running lights on at night or have only one headlight or the headlights are dirty or aimed at anything else but the road and a drivers first instinct upon seeing any kind of road hazard is always irritation. Why is this? Irritation slows your necessary reaction! STOP! Then get irritated. This will help keep those points off your license and your insurance premiums reasonable.

    Maybe the cyclist is from Portland. I've recently moved to Portland. I've spent so much time riding in cities where cyclists dare not even make LEFT TURNS that it is still very unerving when I see cyclists take not only the extreme right hand lane but even the center or far left lane of a three lane road if they want to make a left turn. I myself can't do it yet. Where I am from the driver in the center lane upon seeing a bicycle there would just lose it. Is that the o.p.? Amazing how many cyclists forget that they are cyclists when they are behind the wheel.

    If you get anything from all of the above it should be that, for the most part, I side with the posts that say that drivers bear more responsibility for seeing things than they usually want to take. Bikes do not need to be made reflective beyond a minimum of a red rear flasher and a white front one. Even a dim flasher is a whole lot brighter than a red reflector and that's about all you needed by law until rather recently. I don't know that the recent trend towards flashers, helmets, vests, etc. etc. is bringing American accidental death and dismemberment rates down even a small fraction than from before such accoutrements existed. Maybe, maybe not, but what I DO know is that none of the recent advancements in safety has brought America in line with even the worst of the several other premier cycling cities around the world. Not even close! FWIW.

    H

  15. #15
    Senior Member Null66's Avatar
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    Well,

    I loaned my Daughter my viz 180+ and one magicshine and my SO/riding partner my magicshine 880 clone headlight.

    The 180+ was far more visible then I had given it credit for. At different distances and angles, it just works!

    My SO's cateye rapid5 works well qas a wide area.


    The clone on the other hand, well it's connector between light and battery wire was wiggy. Seems like the socket itself not the wiring. That was a problem.


    I'm gonna stick with the vis 180+ and rig up a red lens on an 808 clone as a rear blinkey.

    Don't know what to rig up for daughter bike?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Null66 View Post
    Well,

    I loaned my Daughter my viz 180+ and one magicshine and my SO/riding partner my magicshine 880 clone headlight.

    The 180+ was far more visible then I had given it credit for. At different distances and angles, it just works!

    My SO's cateye rapid5 works well qas a wide area.


    The clone on the other hand, well it's connector between light and battery wire was wiggy. Seems like the socket itself not the wiring. That was a problem.


    I'm gonna stick with the vis 180+ and rig up a red lens on an 808 clone as a rear blinkey.

    Don't know what to rig up for daughter bike?
    I have to say, the L&M Vis 180 rear light is very effective. I got myself one after seeing some on the road. Very bright, great side visibility.

  17. #17
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    I've never seen my own setup from the drivers view, because no one else has ever been on my bike. But I have seen cyclists and thought, "now that's a brave one, to be riding there" and then realized that I'd also been there. Frequently. And yes that does give me pause.

    I'll tut-tut about a cyclist without any lights at twilight or darker, just like anyone else. But it's usually from a block away on the other side of the road, and I didn't have any trouble seeing him. I think we can sometimes get carried away with all this.

  18. #18
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    Having someone else riding your bike and hop in you car and see them on the road is an interesting idea. You gotta find someone of the right height though. I've never done it.

    I have seen quite a number of bikers that looked like they tried to have lights, but it didn't quite work - their lights are to dim, you can't see them until they're right on top of you and you're like "oh, I guess they sorta have a light?". Always wondered how that happens. Alkaline batteries and cheap lights?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
    Bikes do not need to be made reflective beyond a minimum of a red rear flasher and a white front one. Even a dim flasher is a whole lot brighter than a red reflector and that's about all you needed by law until rather recently.
    I am not sure about where you live, but CA vehicle code requires more than a white light and rear red reflector. Specifically:

    Night Riding - Bicycle must be equipped with the following:

    Light:
    A white headlamp, attached to the bicycle or your body, visible from 300 feet to the front and from the sides

    Reflectors:
    • Red rear reflector
    • White or yellow reflectors on front and back of each pedal
    • White or yellow reflectors on each side forward of center of bike, and red or white reflectors on each side rear of center - usually mounted on wheel spokes (If you have reflectorized tires in front and rear, you do not need side reflectors.)




    Pedal reflectors can be substituted with a reflective ankle band or similar reflective material on shoes, etc.

    You are still required to have something white or and reflective on the side of you bike on the front half and red or white on the rear half.

    I notice a lot of the bikes out at night in my area that do not comply with the last two.

  20. #20
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mstraus View Post
    I am not sure about where you live, but CA vehicle code requires more than a white light and rear red reflector. Specifically:....
    Not here in GA! Headlight, tail light or reflector and that's it. I'm not sure which is more common but I suspect the GA code is.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Got someone else riding your bike?

  22. #22
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    I see a lot of cyclists at night running with blinkies that are either incredibly bad or the batteries are nearly dead. I once saw one that even though I knew he was there because the previous car's headlights had lit him up, I was grumbling that the moron was riding at night with no lights. Until I got within about 15 feet of him and realize that there WAS a blinkie under there, even when looking straight at it I could barely tell it was on.

    In Michigan the law states that the rear facing red light must be visible at least 500 feet away.
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  23. #23
    psy
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    I've wondered for awhile about all the cyclists that are riding clipless..we've all lost our pedal reflectors and very few do anything to make themselves "legal". If you were involved in an accident..could that be used against you, even if it wasn't really a large factor in the accident...just based on the fact that you weren't legal to be on the road in the first place?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by psy View Post
    I've wondered for awhile about all the cyclists that are riding clipless..we've all lost our pedal reflectors and very few do anything to make themselves "legal". If you were involved in an accident..could that be used against you, even if it wasn't really a large factor in the accident...just based on the fact that you weren't legal to be on the road in the first place?
    I wonder about that also, more the legality without reflectors than the culpability.

    My clipless shows have silver reflective accents. How functional they are is another story. I almost always have panniers on so the pedal reflectors would be obstructed in most positions. I know my shoe rain covers have a reflective strip which is pretty visible (relative to me noticing and wondering how my gear is in comparison) when I have seen other cyclists with them.

    I have reflective stripping on my sidewalls but it gets so covered in grime they are essentially useless. I do have spoke reflectors and a piece of reflective tape on the front head tube.

    I have never had anyone else ride my bike and check visibility, though I always want to. I have my wife drive after I leave and try to spot me. But looking for me specifically is not a fair assessment of visibility. I sometimes ask co-workers if they see me on the way home, but I more often get unsolicited comments about how fast I am going. Which is good since they are noticing me.

    I always try to keep my batteries fresh, and I carry a pack in my pannier. I think a lot of cyclists turn them on, glance down and think that they are bright enough. Then the batteries go flat and they are as useful as a lightening bug.

  25. #25
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    I lean my bike against something and walk behind it in the dark to see what it looks like. I go back and forth to check all angles. I also get far away. I'll crouch down to where I think a driver would be too.

    I do this check with all my tail lights, reflectors, and headlights. I don't understand why everyone does not do it. I have seen so many poor lights and no reflector bikes, I can't count them. A few black bikes, with kids wearing all black clothing, and no reflectors or lights, going as fast as they can to get home. Often on the unlighted bike path too. I have a super bright headlight, It has saved me many times.
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