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Thread: Side visibility

  1. #26
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    ...Yeah, I'm pretty sure that shining a bright light in someone's face isn't going to help them to see the trailer, or anything else for that matter, any better...
    When using a strobe on a helmet ( mine is a ~ 250 lumen torch strobe ) you just point in the general location ( not at the face ) of the target for a second or two. Done right ( momentary ), this is no more blinding than the strobes on an emergency vehicle. If you are close enough you will make eye contact and see the driver's reaction ( except at night of course ).

    If I was sitting up a trailer for a child I'd have some good red blinkie's ( 50+ lumen ea. ) on the rear and a couple 70 lumen white strobes aimed out to the sides. Used with good daytime yellow or orange on the trailer I'd also slather on the reflective tape. Just make sure no strobes or bright lights are aimed at your kid.

    All this said, would I take my toddler out for a ride on the traffic packed roads of my local area?...Not in a million years.

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    As both a biker and driver, at stop signs I think it's a huge increase in visibility to have a front blinking light that's bright enough to be seen, but not so bright it's overwhelmingly obnoxious.

    A steady front light is needed for seeing the road, but when on the road it can get lost in the visual noise. A blinking front light always stands out as saying "I'm a moving vehicle".

    I've seen a lot of people with the Planet Bike lights -
    http://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-Bl...net+bike+light

    Just saying that in my opinion, for stopsigns and intersections where there's a lot going on, side visibility is nice, but I think a blinking front light is even more useful.

  3. #28
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    Wow, these ideas keep getting better and better. Thanks for all the awesome tips. I should say my basic goal has always been to light up the trailer from every angle like a Christmas tree (last year we got a lot of comments from pedestrians about how we were a "disco on wheels"), as well as having front, rear, and side lights on my bike. I'm starting from scratch this year because some miscreant rode off two weeks ago with my bike with the kids' trailer still attached and with all the trailer lights, and I need to put together a new system. It seems like there's a lot more options now than three years ago when I first started riding with a trailer.

    Those fender lights in particular are sweet. Not wide enough for my tires, but sweet nonetheless. The BikeGlow is a pretty nifty idea for the trailer. Chaadster's setup is pretty groovy but I lack that sort of initiative...

  4. #29
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Side vis is very important, and that's why I chose the lights I did.

    The headlight is a Philips Saferide, this light has a glowing ring that is easily visible from the side, plus it throws out a beam to about 80 degrees to your side and far enough to go across two lanes so any car coming behind you will (or hopefully will) see the beam projected onto the pavement like a motorcycle light does.

    I use several tail lights but the best one I have for side vis is the Light & Motion VIS180 (not the Vis180 Micro), this light has two amber side lights that constantly flash, but even the red part can be seen pretty good from the side. Also, like the Philips, it casts a red halo onto the rear of the ground behind you. I also use Soma Road Flares in the barends and these too can be seen quite easily from the side. And the last light with some side vis is the Cateye LD600, this light if mounted vertically is very impressive for side vis but the due to better LED technology the rearward is not up to the new stuff, if you mount it horizontally then it reduces the effectiveness of the side vis by quite a bit. I also use a Planet Bike Turbo Superflash on the helmet but the side vis is poor on this one compared to the others.

    Also don't discount but don't rely on reflective material. I use reflective leg bands which are vis from the sides, front and rear; I also wear a lime green safety vest that cost me $8 at Home Depot, it has wide reflective strips and it's mesh so air flows through it. I put reflective tape on the helmet but it doesn't really work good due to the angle of car headlights vs how high the helmet is.

  5. #30
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    Reflective ankle straps are also great for increasing side visibility. The movement of your legs adds to their visibility.

    Regarding helmet lights, I also have a Light & Motion Vis 360 and love it. Mine is the lower-powered version but it is bright enough for me even running on low because I am using it mainly to get drivers' attention rather than see the road. However, on high it is powerful enough to use as a backup light. I get more than 4 hours of run time off a charge. The taillight is very bright, and the entire unit is very light weight so you hardly even notice it.

  6. #31
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarwheel View Post
    Reflective ankle straps are also great for increasing side visibility. The movement of your legs adds to their visibility.

    Regarding helmet lights, I also have a Light & Motion Vis 360 and love it. Mine is the lower-powered version but it is bright enough for me even running on low because I am using it mainly to get drivers' attention rather than see the road. However, on high it is powerful enough to use as a backup light. I get more than 4 hours of run time off a charge. The taillight is very bright, and the entire unit is very light weight so you hardly even notice it.
    Correct, I use a Cygolite Mitycross 480 for my helmet light, in the city it's on flash mode and I can aim it at motorists setting at cross streets etc to get their attention and it works. I had a motorist trying to run a stop sign I was slowing but aimed the light as well into his window, he looked and panic slammed the brakes. The look on his face was something else!

  7. #32
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
    Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Haha...as stated in OP, OP had Spokelits, and I quote, "100% mortality rate." She's looking for something better now.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  9. #34
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    In terms of side visibility, head lights with side illumination aren't very good on road bikes. I'm got a Light and Motion Taz 800, and I realized that the yellow side lights are completely blocked by my arms when I'm riding on the hoods. The same will true for most handlebar mounted lights. A fork mounted light would not have the same issues.

  10. #35
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I don't like stuff on my spokes, but that's just me.

    The huge majority of headlights on the market today are very poor at side illumination, not sure why that is when the fix is so easy. This is one of the reasons I like the Philips Saferide, because from the side that glowing ring effect is something that other lights don't have...BUT, that glow isn't real bright, but still it's the only light I've seen on the road that has any sort of side illumination.

    I've even written Cygolite about the desires of most cyclists to have a headlight with bright side illumination about 3 or 4 years ago and nothing from them in any sort of change, just a BS E-mail letter saying they appreciate my idea and would look into it..huh huh. I can't imagine the lighting industry being so ignorant to the demands of cyclists, but they are, this problem with side illumination has been around for a long time, it isn't some recent sudden interest. The same is true with tail lights too, most have very little if any side illumination which is why I like the L & M Vis180; but the Cateye LD600 excels in that area over any light on the market if the light is mounted vertically, but rearward that light is lacking by today's standards.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I can't imagine the lighting industry being so ignorant to the demands of cyclists, but they are, this problem with side illumination has been around for a long time, it isn't some recent sudden interest.
    ++1

    The technology is available. We have a great selection of headlights, and a great selection of taillights. There's no undisputed best product, because many are making very good products for the front and back.

    We just need the same sort of engineering and manufacturing applied to side lighting. Amber lights, easy to mount securely to the tubes, forks, or rear stays. We have a few okay products, but nothing to recommend without reservation.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieren View Post
    I'm starting from scratch this year because some miscreant rode off two weeks ago with my bike with the kids' trailer still attached and with all the trailer lights, and I need to put together a new system.
    Maybe rather than a trailer you should be looking at a cargo bikes like the Xtracycle Edgerunner, Yuba Mundo, Kona Ute, or even Larry vs. Harry Bullitt.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  13. #38
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athens80 View Post
    ++1

    The technology is available. We have a great selection of headlights, and a great selection of taillights. There's no undisputed best product, because many are making very good products for the front and back.

    We just need the same sort of engineering and manufacturing applied to side lighting. Amber lights, easy to mount securely to the tubes, forks, or rear stays. We have a few okay products, but nothing to recommend without reservation.
    The crazy thing is the fix is so simple it's ridiculas why it isn't being done. All they have to do is to put on each side a slit toward the front of the light about 1/4th inch wide by 1/2 to 3/4th inch long, and the light from the main beam would "spill" out of those side slits and sparkle with intensity, maybe a set of small diversion mirrors inside the reflector may be needed? But I doubt that would be needed. Or just make the sides with a clear housing. There is no need for separate LED's on each side to consume more battery juice, besides the small amber lights like the one found on the L & M VIS180 is not all that useful, better than nothing though, that light gets most of it's side lighting effect by the red beam that spills out a red flood onto the pavement behind you. But again even a tail light can simply be done by putting the light into a clear housing and the red would radiate from the housing in all directions.

    It's so easy it makes me bang my head on the wall why they don't do this.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Maybe rather than a trailer you should be looking at a cargo bikes like the Xtracycle Edgerunner, Yuba Mundo, Kona Ute, or even Larry vs. Harry Bullitt.
    I did go check out the Xtracycle and the Yuba, but those are not very city-house-with-no-garage friendly (and their extended length means that they won't fit on the bus bike racks or the designated place on the subway for bikes, both of which are options I like to keep open). I got a Weehoo Igo off craigslist for Kid B and Kid A is going to start riding her bike by herself, but the same lighting issues pertain to both the kid bike and the Igo--maybe even more for the Igo, since they are not common around here. Meanwhile we're using our ancient Burley trailer, which no one really likes. I knew the end of the trailer era was approaching but I would have preferred more time to figure out what's next.

    (And bonus of the Igo--you can attach the Burley to it, thus creating an awesome "bike limousine," as Kid B calls it.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieren View Post
    I did go check out the Xtracycle and the Yuba, but those are not very city-house-with-no-garage friendly (and their extended length means that they won't fit on the bus bike racks or the designated place on the subway for bikes, both of which are options I like to keep open). I got a Weehoo Igo off craigslist for Kid B and Kid A is going to start riding her bike by herself, but the same lighting issues pertain to both the kid bike and the Igo--maybe even more for the Igo, since they are not common around here. Meanwhile we're using our ancient Burley trailer, which no one really likes. I knew the end of the trailer era was approaching but I would have preferred more time to figure out what's next.

    (And bonus of the Igo--you can attach the Burley to it, thus creating an awesome "bike limousine," as Kid B calls it.)
    Hmm, yes, they are big-assed, honkin' bikes which present unique challenges. Oh well. Just a thought.

    Serfas make USB rechargeable, strap-on (oh, that sounds nasty!) head and tail lights called Thunderbolts which provide a lot of mounting flexibility and easy removal, although they're not securable. They're not really directional, so they suit a lot of different placements, and I think USB recharging is nicer than keeping spare batteries on hand.

    Anyway, good luck on the decision process. Maybe a little electric assist kit for Kid A could extend her ride range? Not cheap, though.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    I sent a letter to Cygolite about the side illumination issue, it appears that Cygolite HAS come out with two models that now have that feature, the entire new Metro and Streak (cheap version of the Metro) series. Again I find it odd that only their low end lights have that feature, what, the guys who want a better and brighter lights are expendable?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I sent a letter to Cygolite about the side illumination issue, it appears that Cygolite HAS come out with two models that now have that feature, the entire new Metro and Streak (cheap version of the Metro) series. Again I find it odd that only their low end lights have that feature, what, the guys who want a better and brighter lights are expendable?
    Too bad Cygolite's switches, styling, and plug covers are crappy to lousy.

    Sorry to go OT, but I just had to get that off my chest having used my brother's NiteRider Luminas last night; such a pleasure to use, those, if only for the vastly better switch action.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  18. #43
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    a Bakfiets cargo bike with sidelights on the box would be good.

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    a Bakfiets cargo bike with sidelights on the box would be good.
    I hear ya. I covet a bakfiets, or really any cargo bike, but have no place to store one...

  20. #45
    Senior Member rekmeyata's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Too bad Cygolite's switches, styling, and plug covers are crappy to lousy.

    Sorry to go OT, but I just had to get that off my chest having used my brother's NiteRider Luminas last night; such a pleasure to use, those, if only for the vastly better switch action.
    I disagree, I haven't had any issues with Cygolite's switches or plug covers. Styling? well it's a light, and some folks have different taste than others. But I compared Cygolite and other brands, including the NiteRider at local LBS and the other companies switches and plug covers aren't any better or worse. I have seen cheap switches used in the mid to lower end Cateye's and all of the Planet Bike stuff, but again the plug covers were about the same. But that's just my opinion from playing with them in the display counter. I well tell you this, my cheap 20 some odd year old Cygolite Metro, the cheapest light they sold back then, switches still work fine after many rainstorms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rekmeyata View Post
    I disagree, I haven't had any issues with Cygolite's switches or plug covers. Styling? well it's a light, and some folks have different taste than others. But I compared Cygolite and other brands, including the NiteRider at local LBS and the other companies switches and plug covers aren't any better or worse. I have seen cheap switches used in the mid to lower end Cateye's and all of the Planet Bike stuff, but again the plug covers were about the same. But that's just my opinion from playing with them in the display counter. I well tell you this, my cheap 20 some odd year old Cygolite Metro, the cheapest light they sold back then, switches still work fine after many rainstorms.
    Well, you know others have had problems with the plug covers-- not just me-- as you've been involved in threads here on BF about it. Not only are the difficult to close, they don't stay closed, and they're easy to pull from their mount. Maybe it's a design flaw native only to the Expilion line; that's possible. Every other USB light I've seen is better in this regard, e.g. Knog, Niterider, Light &Motion.

    Regarding switchgear, my beef is not that they fail, but that they have vague, heavy, slow action. NiteRider Lumina is far and away better in this regard.

    As for style, yes, you're right that some my like the chunky looks, but the primary appeal for me was the easy-to-swap battery and sane flash mode. Oh, and the price; Cygolite is low for the class.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  22. #47
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    Well, you know others have had problems with the plug covers-- not just me-- as you've been involved in threads here on BF about it. Not only are the difficult to close, they don't stay closed, and they're easy to pull from their mount.
    I've been using an Expillion 700 for a couple of weeks, and the mediocre plug cover is the only complaint I have about the light. For me, the difficulty is in closing it properly. Once it's closed, it will stay there - at least for me.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I've been using an Expillion 700 for a couple of weeks, and the mediocre plug cover is the only complaint I have about the light. For me, the difficulty is in closing it properly. Once it's closed, it will stay there - at least for me.
    It'll stay only if the wind doesn't blow too hard! If you have to take the light off the bike and throw it in a bag or something, well, forget it. I can pretty much guarantee you'll be missing the cover within 4 months if that's the case!
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  24. #49
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaadster View Post
    It'll stay only if the wind doesn't blow too hard! If you have to take the light off the bike and throw it in a bag or something, well, forget it. I can pretty much guarantee you'll be missing the cover within 4 months if that's the case!
    You must have ridden through a typhoon. I've been out on some pretty windy days and never had the cover pop out. As for losing the cover, I will see how long it's going to take. It may be a while since I usually leave mine on the bike. The only time I take it off is when I recharge it at home.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    You must have ridden through a typhoon. I've been out on some pretty windy days and never had the cover pop out. As for losing the cover, I will see how long it's going to take. It may be a while since I usually leave mine on the bike. The only time I take it off is when I recharge it at home.
    Yeah...I was kidding about the wind thing; it was hyperbole to underscore my point. No matter, as it's all quite off topic.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

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