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  1. #51
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Just because you and some others can deal with an annoyance does not mean creating the annoyance is a good idea. And multiply the magnitude of the annoyance with the number of people you annoy, and you have a pretty big result. Saying it's a small annoyance is like saying stealing a tenth of a penny from 100,000 people isn't significant theft.

    I still think my question ("what would it take ...") is a good one. If you think this is a good idea, whom would you listen to to change your mind, if not people on this forum?
    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

  2. #52
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Just because you and some others can deal with an annoyance does not mean creating the annoyance is a good idea. And multiply the magnitude of the annoyance with the number of people you annoy, and you have a pretty big result. Saying it's a small annoyance is like saying stealing a tenth of a penny from 100,000 people isn't significant theft.

    I still think my question ("what would it take ...") is a good one. If you think this is a good idea, whom would you listen to to change your mind, if not people on this forum?
    Tom, that first line of yours is an absolute classic. I wish I could copy that and mail it to every politician on the face of the planet but I digress... ( no disrespect intended ).

    Truthfully though you may try to suggest to us that you "aren't " someone willing to deal with the "minor" annoyance of a helmet strobe but my bet is that you're a better man than that. Unless you're one of those people who have a penchant to take matters into their own hands by either threatening or harassing a fellow cyclist, I'm going to assume that you're just blowing smoke.

    Come on man, fess up. If you see someone using a bright strobe you're going to wince and grumble for a second or two and then forget all about it. Then if you're lucky enough ( or unlucky depending on POV ) if you see another person using a high powered strobe in the next 6 months I would be very much surprised. In the mean time I wouldn't be holding my breath waiting around for another helmet strobe sighting. That being the case I figure there are many more important issues in life to worry about than to waste time spitting bullets over something like this.
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 12-04-13 at 05:36 AM.

  3. #53
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    I wasn't trying to imply that I'd rip someone a new one for running a stupid strobe. Certainly I grumble and continue on, but that is not proof that it's a good idea, either. If it causes people to grumble, it may not be the winning strategy it appears to be. It really does seem dangerous. If it makes most people grumble or wince, it's going to freak someone out. It's not the sign of a reasonable approach to lighting. Take a look at my second sentence above. A small annoyance to many people amounts to a large annoyance overall. This is what I call a major pest. This is not a safety strategy!
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  4. #54
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    .... A small annoyance to many people amounts to a large annoyance overall. This is what I call a major pest. This is not a safety strategy!
    As for the use of the strobe on the helmet "not" being a safety strategy I believe that is very arguable. Just because something is annoying doesn't mean that it didn't work to get someone seen. In this case with 1800 lumen going it certainly will get the user seen unless the persons driving by have their heads somewhere below the dashboard of their car.

    In the mean time the police, fire departments, school buses, tow trucks, road construction vehicles..etc, etc....will all continue to use bright strobes in an attempt to enhance their visibility ( ie...their safety ) while on the road. If it works for them it will work for us. Good for the goose, good for the gander.....or do you propose to tell me that the life of the everyday cyclist in not worth taking added safety measures? Be careful how you answer that because there are multitudes of people who drive motor vehicles everyday that simple believe that a cyclist has no right or purpose to be riding their bike on the road in the first place. To those people "We are the annoyance", period.

  5. #55
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Let me get this straight. I think you are asking me if cyclists should take measures to enhance their (our) safety. Do I have that right? Is that your question to me?
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
    Residences: West Village, New York City and High Falls, NY
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  6. #56
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    Let me get this straight. I think you are asking me if cyclists should take measures to enhance their (our) safety. Do I have that right? Is that your question to me?
    Well..no, that would be too generic a question. What I am wondering is, "Is it more important to you that someone not annoy you with a strobe helmet light or is it more important to you that the person using the strobe helmet lamp have to option to use it in an effort to prevent himself from being hit or possibly killed"?

    Keep in mind I already know that there are other options for being seen but since none of us can control what other people use for safety purposes I'd just like to know how you feel about the guy using the strobe to protect his own skin. So to put it another way... "Does his right to protect his life in the manner he chooses trump your preference to not be annoyed by his choice of protection"? I'm just curious if you are that self centered or if I am completely wrong about that. Hopefully I will be completely wrong but since I don't know you that well I have no way to really know unless I ask the question.

  7. #57
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    01 CAT Man Do, no, I'm not particularly self-centered, if that's what you're asking. At least that's my view, but if I ever do anything that you think is self-centered, you can mention it to me, and I'll take a look and perhaps correct it. And that's what I'm trying to do here. I think it is self-centered to hurt people with a safety device. The question is not which trumps which. That question is too simplified. A better way to approach it is to measure the good and bad each choice creates and see which creates the most good (and the least bad) for the greatest number of people. That's known as the utilitarian approach to philosophy, and it's applicable here.

    I contend that there are ways of protecting oneself that are as effective and less harmful. They cost the same or less to the user, and they cost a lot less to everyone else. In that regard, it is unkind and inconsiderate to use an 1,800 lumen flashing light on a helmet. It's intensely bright, the flashing is distracting, and it will be inadvertently aimed in unintended places. Since we're talking about what works and what the limits of usefulness are, I think this is a good place to say I recommend against actions that are hurtful and inconsiderate. I will consider advice offered to me also, if someone thinks I'm doing something anti-social.

    Pretend for a minute that the weight and energy cost of carrying a train whistle or a truck horn on your bike are within reason. Would it make sense to use one of these on a bike? Would it make sense to blare it constantly or at five second intervals? This is clearly beyond the limit of reasonable. Maybe it isn't clear to everyone that 1,800 flashing lumens on a helmet is also unreasonable, but it's clear enough to me, and that is why I'm saying so. How about a light just like lights at the top of a lighthouse? They put out a lot of light. I bet it would work to save a cyclist's life or two. (Again, pretend the cost of carrying it is zero.) But that's not the only measure of usefulness. What are the side effects of swinging around the beam of a lighthouse light on a bike? It's not hard to imagine some consequences in that case. (Right?)

    So we have to agree that there is a line somewhere. Where do you think it is? I say it's somewhere below 1,800 lumens, at least when the beam is round and when it starts above some people's eyes and the aim varies a lot.
    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. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    So we have to agree that there is a line somewhere. Where do you think it is?
    This is becoming a relevant question. Lights can be too bright to be used as headlights.

    It is becoming practical to have very bright lights on bicycles. And they've been getting lighter, brighter and less expensive.

    Whether we reached the limit this year, two years ago, or can expect to reach it three years in the future, there is a point at which the market offers for sale headlights which are brighter than we ought to use.

    I suggest that we not debate whether cyclists ought to always use the brightest possible light, or the most visible, brightest, strobiest light. That answer is no.

    The relevant debate is how bright is productive, with what beam shape, what mounting, some flash or no flash, in what context (solo trail riding versus city streets versus narrow, congested MUPs, etc.)

  9. #59
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Mr. noglider, thanks. I think you gave me my answer.

    While we agree perhaps on many things we disagree on how a 1800 lumen lamp can be used. While I personally feel it is unnecessary to use a light that bright on strobe on a helmet to ride down the road I also very strongly feel that people who ride bikes on the road need to be very proactive in protecting themselves when on dangerous roads. With that in mind my personal feelings on what I feel is appropriate is going to take second fiddle to the person riding a bike down the road using a lamp to protect themselves.

    As long as the person using the lamp knows how to use and when not to use the lamp I have no axe to grind nor would I consider that use a safety hazard to others ( unless the person using it was purposely misusing it and aiming it directly at standing traffic for long periods of time ) Just like with cars, trucks, guns, and other potentially dangerous devices a high powered bike lamp can be used or misused. If I see one being used by a responsible adult on a dangerous road on strobe..personally I'm not going to let it bother me. Still, just like with cars there are always going to be people who do the wrong things. We can't control the behavior of all people and as such I figure it best to disregard the people who time and again do the things that we don't particularly like.

    When I consider such matters as strobe use I consider other like issues for comparison. Since I see emergency vehicles ( with bright flashing lights ) almost everyday I figure I could easily deal with the occasion bright strobe being used by a cyclist IF I WERE TO EVER SEE ONE. So far I've only encountered moderate bright strobes...maybe 200-300 lumen (?)

    To date the brightest flashing lamp I every ever encountered when on the road was on a Baltimore City police car. I was riding right behind the officer in very slow moving traffic. It was so bright I had to look away and flip the sun visor down. Now if I ever see a cyclist with a lamp that bright pointed at me for anything longer than a couple seconds than yes, that would be completely inappropriate and potentially dangerous.

  10. #60
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    OK, I realize there may be conditions where it's called for. I trust that there are, and I wouldn't want to interfere with someone who saw fit to use such a light there. However, where I ride lately, on city streets and on bike trails, I think it's a terrible idea, and it would tick me off if I saw it.

    There are some lights that already tick me off, and I'll bet they are less than 1,800 lumens. So clearly there are people who are using things inappropriately. For you to believe that, you'll have to accept that I'm a decent judge of what's inappropriate, which may require a leap of faith. I can tell you I've ridden a lot over many years in many various unfavorable conditions, if that helps.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  11. #61
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    ....you'll have to accept that I'm a decent judge of what's inappropriate, which may require a leap of faith. I can tell you I've ridden a lot over many years in many various unfavorable conditions, if that helps.
    No problems Tom, no leap of faith needed. You're a regular poster here and seem like any other normal rational person with an opinion....of which we all differ here or there depending on subject matter. As long as we can discuss things like adults we all win and learn from each other.

  12. #62
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    The problem with flashing lights in front is that they make really hard to judge speed and distance. When I see a cyclist coming at me with just flasher's on, I can't tell if they are moving or standing still. Sure, cars will see you, but they will have no idea where you are going or how fast you are going there. I'm not sure you want that.

    Oh, and I have a feeling that OP's real question might be "What's the best light for running stop signs and red lights."

  13. #63
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Good point, MrCjolsen. Flashing headlights seem fine in the day, and you can judge speed and distance by looking at the bike and human, because the sun lights them up. I don't see any advantage at night.

    When I'm on the bike trail at night and someone is coming in my direction with a strong steady headlight, they look like they're coasting on an ebike because I can't see the pedals and legs going up and down. All I can see is the light. It's a pleasant oncoming sight. A flashing headlight, not so much.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  14. #64
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
    The problem with flashing lights in front is that they make really hard to judge speed and distance. When I see a cyclist coming at me with just flasher's on, I can't tell if they are moving or standing still. Sure, cars will see you, but they will have no idea where you are going or how fast you are going there. I'm not sure you want that.

    Oh, and I have a feeling that OP's real question might be "What's the best light for running stop signs and red lights."
    While this might be true under certain conditions it does not mean that the person seeing the flashing light is going to ignore it as though it didn't exist. I've also heard the same argument made when viewing a single red rear flashing light from the rear. If you see the flashing light you know enough to take caution and to do everything possible to avoid a collision, even if you can't judge the speed or know exactly what it is or how it is moving. This is why I personally use a two lamp approach ( one flashing one steady ) to both my front and rear lamps. The more visual information you can give a motorist to set you apart from the vehicular traffic the safer you are going to be. This is why I love wheel lights so much. When you see two back to back lights spinning in a circle the mental ID of "cyclist" is almost immediate. Wheel lights also are almost always visible from any angle as long as nothing is in the way to block the line of sight.

  15. #65
    Senior Member MrCjolsen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    This is why I love wheel lights so much. When you see two back to back lights spinning in a circle the mental ID of "cyclist" is almost immediate. Wheel lights also are almost always visible from any angle as long as nothing is in the way to block the line of sight.
    Of the four or five taillights I use each night, only one is flashing, and one is always strapped to my left ankle.

  16. #66
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
    Of the four or five taillights I use each night, only one is flashing, and one is always strapped to my left ankle.
    Yep, that will work. Not too long ago I got passed on the interstate by a motorcyclist who had an array of rear lamps on back of his bike. Since he was moving faster than me and I had good line of sight I was able to identify his rear signature at least a quarter mile down the highway even when among the other traffic on the highway. This taught me that having a nice arrangement of rear lights ( on your bike ) can help others identify a cyclist from either a car or truck. Two or more separate points of light can only make you more visible and help set you apart from your surroundings.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    I'm 33 and have been driving since high school.

    The Lupine does look a little narrower than the other options I've seen, but still wide enough to hit a driver in the face across a lane of traffic from about 20 feet away. This is a Lupine, followed by other bright lights -



    You can pretty clearly see how on a car headlight with it's regular low beams it's putting much less light above the horizon than a wide beam bike light does.

    Just like your previous post, all of this completely misses the actual topic point though. You want to argue that your light is fine when it's on your handlebars and on steady, that's more debatable but I'm not arguing either way, as long as you're using it on the road and not on a bike trail. You can probably point it (relatively) down and get rid of a lot of flood light.

    But the topic is - what if you take that light, put it in blinking mode, and put it on your helmet? That's just being an obnoxious pain in the ass.

    Well, I have an advantage on you. I've actually had a Lupine Wilma aimed at me (and survived). It's just not a big deal. It's no worse than any other flashing light. If you can't handle that you ought to not be driving around and I mean that with all seriousness. Never mind that beam shots are not representative due to the differences between the human eye and digital camera (something like 14 doublings of light sensitivity).

    Even using your argument (with which I don't agree) about wide lights would make it better. The wider it is the less of a problem it is not the other way around. If you take a 2400 lumen light and then widen the beam, you have less lux on the target - it's less bright at that particular point and, I believe, it's a square law thing because it's an area issue. In other words, the wider it is the lux drops exponentially. By your reasoning, then those car headlights are super dangerous - they are 1300 lumens each on low beam and something like (gasp!) 3000+ lumens each on bright. There would be so many blinded drivers around because of opposing traffic, that there must be crashes all over! But, guess what - there's not.

    But these bike lights or any car headlight are bring point source lights. If the driver is going to be stupid enough to look at the bright light in a prolonged manner, even if it's on a helmet, then - yes - it will look bright. Just like a headlight would from a cross street or a light flashing on top of an emergency vehicle. But who's that stupid? It's reflexive to turn away and look at it with peripheral version.

    So, yes, a brightly flashing helmet light is obnoxious. It's also attention getting, which, actually is the entire point. I, personally, would not ride around that way because I don't like seeing all the traffic signs flashing at me. But I have put it on max flashing mode when I thought it was necessary and when I needed to be seen. Worked fine and I didn't see a single crash nor had a single person yell at me. From that I conclude that it's not really a big deal.

    This is just a solution looking for a problem. Let's just let law enforcement worry about it. Then when everyone is getting pulled over and it becomes the internet crisis du jour (in other words, no crisis at all), we can then talk about the problem. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that one and I would suggest you don't either.

  18. #68
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    JohnJ80, my point isn't around the law. The law is a blunt instrument which should be a last resort. I think courtesy is a useful thing, not archaic. Discourtesy is a bad idea, in my book. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by noglider View Post
    JohnJ80, my point isn't around the law. The law is a blunt instrument which should be a last resort. I think courtesy is a useful thing, not archaic. Discourtesy is a bad idea, in my book. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
    I don't disagree with a single point you made in this post. If you read my second to last paragraph, I think it says about the same thing but with one exception - if you do have to ride in an area where you do need to be visible, then it's no issue and I don't think that fact that it might be annoying is something that should be considered (I'd rather be annoying than dead). My main point is that this is not blinding and it is not going to cause accidents. But, yes, it may be annoying. This is not a big deal.

    So, yes, a brightly flashing helmet light is obnoxious. It's also attention getting, which, actually is the entire point. I, personally, would not ride around that way because I don't like seeing all the traffic signs flashing at me. But I have put it on max flashing mode when I thought it was necessary and when I needed to be seen. Worked fine and I didn't see a single crash nor had a single person yell at me. From that I conclude that it's not really a big deal.


    So even if we forget about the LEOs making the call. Let's not worry about this one until someone starts writing in the papers about it. Truth be told, I don't think I've ever seen a single newspaper article about this being a problem. It's an invented problem, and not worth all this digital ink.

    J.

  20. #70
    Senior Member Dave Cutter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post

    [/SIZE]Is this even a problem?
    J.

    Yes. It's true the bright flashes can and do cause seizures in a very small percentage of the public. Strobe-like flashing is BOTH a safety device and a health-risk. There can almost always be too much of a good thing.

  21. #71
    Senior Member SmallFront's Avatar
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    Picking up my kid in my cargo bike yesterday, I noticed a set of very bright lights coming towards. One of them swerving. I couldn't tell if it was two bikes or what, and when they got closer one of the lights turned to me, blinding me completely for a moment.
    It was only when the lights was very close that I noticed that it was a single bloke on a bike. He was wearing a headlight and the bike had a light too. He was "slaloming" down the road, and that is why it looked weird. Had I been in a car, I would have had to stop. As it was, I just had to slow down while I was creeping up the hill with my daughter in the box.

    How this behaviour can be construed "safe" for anyone is beyond me. Well, at least his lights weren't strobing.

  22. #72
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Intense bike lights are very new. Not many people have seen them yet. Remember, this world of cyclists of ours is very small compared with the rest of the planet. There hasn't been much time for the general public to notice and comment on overly bright lights or lights used inappropriately. Lack of articles about the problem are not evidence of a lack of a problem.

    There are more choices than annoying and dead. It's a pretty wide spectrum. It's possible to be safe and noticed and non-annoying. Given that it's possible, why would you choose to be annoying? Willful annoyance is obnoxious at best.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

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  23. #73
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
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    The spectrum between annoying and dead isn't fully filled out. I don't want to be annoying but I am somewhat into that spectrum. I just bought a Philips Saferide, and that thing is a great light for being bright but not annoying - great beam cutoff, good brightness. However, I'm sending it back due to design problems. The main one is that it uses NiMH batteries which perform very poorly in low temps - I got about 10 minutes of high performance this morning on a full charge, at 40 minutes (30 on low) it started flashing critical low battery and refused to kick up to high again. Also the waterproofing flap just falls out so I don't think it's going to live long in the rain.

    There's the Ixon which is probably better for waterproofing, but also uses NiMH so I don't know if it's any better in the cold. I might try it since apparently they're both the same brightness (80 lux for the Ixon IQ Premium).

    I really hope that B&M or Philips come out with a good, waterproof, LiIon powered bike light. I really want one.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  24. #74
    aka Tom Reingold noglider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    The spectrum between annoying and dead isn't fully filled out.
    Huh? There are plenty of good lights out there. And half of the issue is how you use what you have.
    You don't read my signature anyway, do you?

    Tom Reingold, noglider@pobox.com
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  25. #75
    vol
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    I think brightness is no issue--the brighter, the better: it helps illuminate for other people on the road, too. The issue is where you direct it, and more importantly, don't flash it if it's very bright (unless you are directing it down to the ground).

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