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Old 05-18-17, 10:12 PM   #1
Bmach
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Seeing bicycle lights.

I see cyclists way before I notice any sort of light during the day. Do any of you have the same results?
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Old 05-19-17, 04:04 AM   #2
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Personally, I really don't see too many cyclists using lights in the middle of the day. On the other hand I see many cyclists in the early evening ( as the sun is setting ) using lights. Many of those I see the light first but sometimes it will be the cyclist I see first. All depends on the viewing angle, type of lights being, whether high-visibility clothing is being used and the environment in which the cyclist is riding.

When a cyclist is using a rear or front lamp with a good flash mode, those I tend to see first ( as long as I have clear line of sight ).
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Old 05-19-17, 05:01 AM   #3
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I'll notice a blinking front white light before I actually see the cyclists.

I see a lot of cyclists in my area using front white and rear red blinking during the day, including myself.
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Old 05-19-17, 09:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
I see cyclists way before I notice any sort of light during the day. Do any of you have the same results?


Same here, particularly when they're wearing bright clothes.


You and I will shortly be "illuminated" by those who festoon their bikes and persons with blinking lights at all hours and in all conditions.
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Old 05-19-17, 12:53 PM   #5
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Same here, particularly when they're wearing bright clothes.


You and I will shortly be "illuminated" by those who festoon their bikes and persons with blinking lights at all hours and in all conditions.
...and then there's the person who is illuminated by the flashing lights of the EMV right after some clown runs into them and then claims , 'He never saw the cyclist". Lights or no lights, it doesn't hurt to try to add to your visible presence when on the road. Up to the individual to decide when enough is enough. I say better a little over-kill then a little road kill. Regardless, riding the road nowadays is inherently dangerous no matter what precautions you take. Now if I could buy a rabbit's foot that actually worked I'd throw away all my misc. bike accessories and just go with that.
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Old 05-19-17, 02:49 PM   #6
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I see cyclists way before I notice any sort of light during the day. Do any of you have the same results?
That would change if I rode near you with my Exposure Strada 1200.


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Old 05-19-17, 04:35 PM   #7
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...and then there's the person who is illuminated by the flashing lights of the EMV right after some clown runs into them and then claims , 'He never saw the cyclist". Lights or no lights, it doesn't hurt to try to add to your visible presence when on the road. Up to the individual to decide when enough is enough. I say better a little over-kill then a little road kill. Regardless, riding the road nowadays is inherently dangerous no matter what precautions you take. Now if I could buy a rabbit's foot that actually worked I'd throw away all my misc. bike accessories and just go with that.
Agree.

This is becoming a hot topic. A number of manufacturers are starting to look into research about what makes for cyclist visibility. I'm glad to see it - there is ever more traffic on the roads, ever more cyclists so it's a situation that will benefit from innovation and someone finding a need to fill.

All I can say is that when I ride with bright lights day or night, driver behavior changes for the positive. Qualitatively, it's clear I'm safer and that's a good thing in my book.

J.
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Old 05-20-17, 12:54 PM   #8
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...and then there's the person who is illuminated by the flashing lights of the EMV right after some clown runs into them and then claims , 'He never saw the cyclist". Lights or no lights, it doesn't hurt to try to add to your visible presence when on the road.
A lady from my city was killed outside town a couple years back because the guy in the pickup truck "didn't see her." But it was daytime and she looked like a blinking Christmas tree from the back! I doubt any driver in the know will ever admit to having seen the cyclist s/he just ran over until (unless?) a D.A. starts prosecuting. Lights or no lights.
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Old 05-20-17, 03:05 PM   #9
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A lady from my city was killed outside town a couple years back because the guy in the pickup truck "didn't see her." But it was daytime and she looked like a blinking Christmas tree from the back! I doubt any driver in the know will ever admit to having seen the cyclist s/he just ran over until (unless?) a D.A. starts prosecuting. Lights or no lights.
Yeah, stuff like that happens. If she was using a number of low output blinkies, it really wouldn't do much if she was in an area where there was full ambient daylight. In full daylight you would need at least 200 lumen ( per lamp ) to even make it worth bothering with. This is why I rarely use rear lights during full daylight hours. Curious though that you would know details like, ..."and she looked like a blinking Christmas tree from the back". Details like that are usually not released to the news agencies that report on local accidents. There are motor vehicles with the entire rear of the vehicle illuminated and people still find a way to hit them. Police cars stopped on the side of the road with roof LED light-bars going full tilt and STILL...people find a way to hit them. In such instances I can see only five logical / probably reasons for someone hitting a person on a bike or for someone losing control of their motor vehicle; one, the person at fault was heavily distracted, two; the person was either chemically / medically / mentally impaired at the time or three, the person was forced by the actions of another driver, swerved to avoid being hit and ended up hitting the cyclist. ( number two is actually three in one ) ...four, the person on the bike did something they shouldn't have done and caused accident and Lastly, the persons' at fault vehicle had a sudden mechanical ( tire blow out, blown ball joint, wheel fall off, brakes fail...etc )
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Old 05-20-17, 06:02 PM   #10
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In daylight I notice two types of cyclists first:
  • Those wearing hi-vis yellow.
  • Those using lights.
Those folks are a notch above everyone else in visibility. Nothing else comes close, not even the hi-vis orange I sometimes wear. Even in murky overcast daylight or at dusk that hi-vis yellow pops against more backgrounds than any other color.

And lights are almost as good in daylight. The main limitation is most lights that are practical for bicycling have a limited range of view. They all tend to be somewhat directional. I use a Cygolite Hotshot SL-50 on my main bike and while it's bright enough to be visible in daylight, it's only visible directly behind me. It falls off very quickly to the sides. That's the characteristic of lights that concentrate the beam with reflectors and lenses. My Blackburn rear helmet light is less bright, around 30 lumens, but more visible from the sides because Blackburn doesn't use reflectors and lenses to concentrate the light -- just a white background and plain protective transparent shields. Different design philosophy, not necessarily better or worse. The Cygolite design packs a lot of punch directly behind the rider, which theoretically should nudge a tailgating driver to the side.

About a month ago I noticed some folks on a tandem a few hundred yards ahead of me on a murky late afternoon. First thing I noticed was their flashing red taillight. Then I could discern it was a tandem because there was never any variation in the positions of the two heads I could make out at a distance.

They took a breather at the crest of a long hill and I caught up with them there to say hi. They said they saw me behind them because I was running a flashing white front light (a modest 255 lumen Serfas SL-255). I was impressed that they could see it at that distance, behind them, in daylight. My other to-be-seen light is a 300 lumen peak flasher on my helmet, but I wasn't running it that day. I save it for heavy traffic and nighttime.

More recently, about a week ago, I met a fellow who rides some of the same rural routes I do. Nice fellow, slowed down to chat a moment before he headed on -- he's much faster than I am, averaging 16 mph or more even on century rides on windy days. I struggle to average 14 mph on 20-40 mile rides.

After he passed I noticed how quickly he blended into the surroundings. He usually wears black and white kit. You'd think that sort of contrast would pop, but it doesn't. In the elongated shadows of the late afternoon sun his kit was more like camouflage against the blacktop. I saw him again a few days ago, passing perpendicularly at an intersection about 100 yards away. He was readily visible from the side view, in a bright swath of sunlight. But by the time I'd turned and was going his direction he was a couple hundred yards ahead. I had to squint to make him out, and mostly saw only his head. His black and white kit was again blending into the surroundings -- sunny day, late afternoon, deep shadows and pools of sunlight against blacktop intermingled with whitish gray concrete.

I don't know the fellow well enough to mention that I'm concerned about his visibility. But I've thought about suggesting he add some bright flashers for daylight rides. I'm pretty sure I saw lights on his bike but they weren't running in daylight.
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Old 05-20-17, 06:57 PM   #11
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In daylight I notice two types of cyclists first:
  • Those wearing hi-vis yellow.
  • Those using lights.
Those folks are a notch above everyone else in visibility. Nothing else comes close, not even the hi-vis orange I sometimes wear. Even in murky overcast daylight or at dusk that hi-vis yellow pops against more backgrounds than any other color....
Agree. Hi-vis yellow is the only color jersey I will wear, day or night.

I've said this before but I'll mention it again because I've seen people doing this; running a flashing white light pointed to the rear. I know some people don't like the idea but I'll tell ya, it works. It gets the person seen big time. I guess someone figured if a good front ( white ) flasher works on front of the bike it will work on the rear as well. Almost every time I see someone using a good front flasher ( on front ) I'm always impressed at how well it gets the person seen, day or night.
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Old 05-20-17, 08:04 PM   #12
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Plain white light during the day does nothing, too small to notice. A flashing white light in the day makes a big difference when I come across one while driving.

So I agree with the above poster, flashing white back and front.
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Old 05-20-17, 09:05 PM   #13
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I'd avoid using a rear-facing white light. It could confuse a driver who might reflexively try to pass us on the right, thinking it's an oncoming vehicle.

I'd stick with red rear, and use two or more lights.
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Old 05-21-17, 02:32 AM   #14
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I'd avoid using a rear-facing white light. It could confuse a driver who might reflexively try to pass us on the right, thinking it's an oncoming vehicle.

I'd stick with red rear, and use two or more lights.
I'm inclined to agree but after seeing people do this now at least a handful of times it's really not that confusing. That's because once you get close enough to see it's a cyclist then you know what's going on. Usually if it's a bike riding on the right side of the road there is no option to pass on the right. Not that I'd use a white light on back of my bike at night but I do own a couple rear COB type led lamps that have a mode that flashes red then white. I've never thought about using it for day use but now that I'm talking about it I'm curious as to what it might look like in the day. I've tested it at night before and it draws a lot of attention but I don't need to use something like that at night. I have other red led lamps that provide more than enough light. Keep in mind that when a person rides a bike on road "in the wrong direction" ( against traffic ), that is indeed very confusing. As long as the rider is riding "with traffic", you can generally figure out what lights are on what once you begin to get close.

Oh, and BTW I've seen people using red led flashers on the front too. It gets the rider seen but red going forward is indeed a bit more confusing, at least IMO.

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Old 05-21-17, 06:09 AM   #15
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Might want to check local/state laws. Though specifically referencing night riding (beginning 1/2 hour before sunset) Michigan requires a white, front facing light and a rear facing, red light, or reflector. No mention specifically of daytime lights but logic might suggest the same pattern.
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Old 05-21-17, 03:30 PM   #16
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Might want to check local/state laws. Though specifically referencing night riding (beginning 1/2 hour before sunset) Michigan requires a white, front facing light and a rear facing, red light, or reflector. No mention specifically of daytime lights but logic might suggest the same pattern.
I think it safe to say that the people doing this aren't concerned about the local laws. Likely they're taking the view, "Any light is better than no light". Personally I'm just happy to be able to see the people on bikes when I'm driving. If they happen to use the wrong color I'm not going to wail on them too much. I guess I'd rather they use a wrong color that not use a light at all ( assuming no reflectors or Hi-visibility clothing ).
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Old 05-21-17, 04:58 PM   #17
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I think it safe to say that the people doing this aren't concerned about the local laws. Likely they're taking the view, "Any light is better than no light". Personally I'm just happy to be able to see the people on bikes when I'm driving. If they happen to use the wrong color I'm not going to wail on them too much. I guess I'd rather they use a wrong color that not use a light at all ( assuming no reflectors or Hi-visibility clothing ).
I hear you and agree. I use lights in daylight and am convinced they've helped a couple of times. I've even had a couple of motorists thank me for my efforts at enhanced visibility at traffic lights. My point was details might matter, you might get stopped by the local police for non-conformance.
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Old 05-26-17, 07:53 AM   #18
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I just got some new lights for daytime use since I'm planning to start commuting to work. see.sense icon+. 120 lumens, these things are bright! Lights are definitely underrated where I live, many people don't use them although they're required by law at least in the dark

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