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  1. #1
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    Do you dip your headlight?

    New to this forum so sorry if that has been posted before. Recently bought one of those bright headlights that go on the front, and had a pedestrian complain it was 'glaring too bright', so how do you lot have yours? do you point it downwards like a car's dipped beam, or have it straight forward like a car's high beam?

  2. #2
    Living 'n Dying in -Time JBHoren's Avatar
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    I aim my handlebar-mounted headlight so that it illuminates the road immediately in-front and to-the-right of me, secure in the knowledge that pedestrians and oncoming vehicles will notice me, but not be bothered by me.

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    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    My bar mounted light is lowered slightly. I usually have a helmet mounted light as well that I'll use if I feel I need to get someones attention, such as a car approaching from a side street.

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    Daily Rider Robert C's Avatar
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    You need to get a wide angle lens for it. Only about $5 here on amazon. They work with the single emitter models, not the 3 emitter units.
    As a nation we still continue to enjoy a literally unprecedented prosperity; and it is probable that only reckless speculation and disregard of legitimate business methods on the part of the business world can materially mar this prosperity. Theodore Roosevelt, Sixth Annual Message, December 3, 1906

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert C View Post
    You need to get a wide angle lens for it. Only about $5 here on amazon. They work with the single emitter models, not the 3 emitter units.
    That's great, I live in the UK but managed to find one Wide Angle Lens for Magicshine, Lupine and Gemini Bike Lights | eBay so will try it

  6. #6
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattant View Post
    New to this forum so sorry if that has been posted before. Recently bought one of those bright headlights that go on the front, and had a pedestrian complain it was 'glaring too bright', so how do you lot have yours? do you point it downwards like a car's dipped beam, or have it straight forward like a car's high beam?
    It's completely situational. If you're riding on a sidewalk or a paved trail system the proper etiquette is to try to keep your lamps from shining directly into the face of the on-coming traffic. In this situation your lamp shines directly into the field of vision of anyone walking or riding toward you. Doing so with too bright a lamp or a lamp aimed too high would not be polite. It should be noted though that pedestrians ( generally speaking ) have the option to "*NOT LOOK" directly at too bright a light ( without being endangered if they do so ). Another ( approaching ) cyclist however might not have that option. ( *Bright lights exist. The wise person does not stare at bright lights for any length of time if they can help it ).

    On the road however all this changes as bright lights are everywhere. Anyone walking along a road ( in the wrong direction ) is having all the approaching traffic shining their lights directly into their eyes. Since when you are riding on a road you are legally looked at as a "road vehicle" you have no obligation to redirect your lamps although it would be a good idea to lower the intensity of the output as long as doing so doesn't endanger you from hitting something. ( * basically this is just my opinion but it makes sense to me ) I personally rarely encounter anyone walking toward me at night on the wrong side of the road but it happens. If I see them soon enough I switch to a lower output level although most times I am usually past the point before it would of made a difference. Keep in mind that the pedestrian walking toward you on a road would be more endangered if you as a cyclist "didn't see them" in time to avoid a collision. That said the bright light you use on the road... ( while annoying to look at ) is going to save both your butt and theirs.
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 06-29-14 at 01:43 PM. Reason: edited word "people" for "point"

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    I bought a Busch and Mueller Ixon Iq Premium, and it has a beam cutoff built into it -


    I aim it at waist level so it stays out of peoples eyes, but lights up the road completely in front of me.

    Phillips makes a similar Saferide model as well.

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    Of course. It's common courtesy to not have your headlight set at any angle that would blind an oncoming driver of any type of vehicle, including other cyclists. I've seen the police in another city stop a pair of cyclists who apparently had their bright lights aimed too high or towards oncoming traffic so that the lights interfered with drivers being able to see. I could see drivers flashing their headlights at these cyclists as I was walking down the sidewalk. This was in a city where there is plenty of ambient light. It wasn't long before two officers on their bikes coming the opposite direction turned around behind these two cyclists and pulled them over on the sidewalk out of traffic. I could see the one officer checking their headlights while the other was either writing a warning or issuing citations as we walked by. Both had headlights powered by front wheel dynamos, so they could have been very bright lights. Why would you want to take a chance of being seriously injured or killed by blinding a driver in a motor vehicle that's coming right towards you? You need to see the path in front of you about 60 feet or so, not 100 yards. If we cyclists expect drivers of motor vehicles to respect us on the roadways, we must return the favor.

  9. #9
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Miyata Biker View Post
    ..... I've seen the police in another city stop a pair of cyclists who apparently had their bright lights aimed too high or towards oncoming traffic so that the lights interfered with drivers being able to see. I could see drivers flashing their headlights at these cyclists as I was walking down the sidewalk. This was in a city where there is plenty of ambient light. It wasn't long before two officers on their bikes coming the opposite direction turned around behind these two cyclists and pulled them over on the sidewalk out of traffic. I could see the one officer checking their headlights while the other was either writing a warning or issuing citations as we walked by. Both had headlights powered by front wheel dynamos, so they could have been very bright lights..
    That's quite a story. Interesting that it involved dynamo lighting. That said where I live I would think I'd be more likely to win the "Publishers Clearinghouse jackpot" than to be pulled over and given a citation for using lights that are too bright. Then again if this happened somewhere in Germany....I take back everything I just said.

    Quote Originally Posted by 1 Miyata Biker View Post
    ....Why would you want to take a chance of being seriously injured or killed by blinding a driver in a motor vehicle that's coming right towards you? You need to see the path in front of you about 60 feet or so, not 100 yards. If we cyclists expect drivers of motor vehicles to respect us on the roadways, we must return the favor.
    It needs to be pointed out that the average motorized vehicle has headlamps capable ( on high ) of throwing more than 100 yards. Not to mention that many newer vehicles have headlights that when on low shine more than 200 ft. Since I drive for a living at night I get blinded by bright lights all the time. Most times I pay it no mind unless it's someone following behind me for more than a couple minutes. It's been a good number of years since the really powerful LED lamps have become available to cyclists. I've still never seen an incident where a person riding a bike on the road at night was using a lamp at an intensity that I would consider to be either blinding or super bright.

    Anyway, I really doubt that using a bright lamp on a bicycle is going to increase the risk of being hit head-on by a motor vehicle. People who drive motor vehicles at night are used to dealing with bright lights. Not to mention if you've ever had to drive into a rising or setting sun for any amount of time you understand the concept that while it is quite a PITA to do so, you also realize that it is something that must be done from time to time. When it comes to things like the use of bike lights it really is necessary to see the bigger picture so you can put "the use of bicycle lights" into their proper perspective. In my opinion a cyclist would be more endangered using too less an amount of light than with too much an amount of light ( up to a point ). Still, I don't always need a lot of light so I only use what I need for the moment. Like you as long as I can see about 60 ft. or so I'm usually fine but when road conditions change ( or my speed picks up or both ) I might need to use more ( depending on the situation ).
    Last edited by 01 CAt Man Do; 06-29-14 at 04:13 PM.

  10. #10
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattant View Post
    New to this forum so sorry if that has been posted before. Recently bought one of those bright headlights that go on the front, and had a pedestrian complain it was 'glaring too bright', so how do you lot have yours? do you point it downwards like a car's dipped beam, or have it straight forward like a car's high beam?
    This is somewhat subjective to:

    1. Riding on the sidewalk(Not legal in some jurisdictions)
    2. Salmoning(Not legal in any jurisdiction)

    Unless you are talking about the bike/ped trails.

    I don't ride on the trails, or the sidewalk. So, I keep my NiteRider 600, pointing straight forward. Also, Depending on the time of day, I will have it on one of three 'bright' settings or, one of two 'strobe' settings.

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    visualize the beam that your light puts out. It's a cone with the apex on your handlebars. It doesn't make any sense to aim it straight out otherwise you lose half the beam. A slight downwards tilt causes a plane (the ground) to bisect the cone and leave a nice big light spot on the pavement.

    j.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    Was waiting for someone to make a joke: Do you dip your headlight.

  13. #13
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    I have yet to see a bicycle light that is brighter than a car headlight. Bike lights are getting there, and I know there are brighter ones than I have seen, but car headlights are really bright, even on dim. Car drivers are just whiny about this subject. I'm glad I got a luxos U that has a "bright" switch, it works to get the whiny car drivers to dim when they think my light is too bright.
    Randonneuring -- it's touring for people that aren't smart enough to stop for the night.
    It's a wonderful sport when you can make up for a lack of ability with a lack of sleep

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I have yet to see a bicycle light that is brighter than a car headlight. Bike lights are getting there, and I know there are brighter ones than I have seen, but car headlights are really bright, even on dim. Car drivers are just whiny about this subject. I'm glad I got a luxos U that has a "bright" switch, it works to get the whiny car drivers to dim when they think my light is too bright.
    That's just not true, a car headlight is a shaped beam that keeps most of the light from hitting the eyes of oncoming traffic whether it's other cars or bikers -


    Your Luxos U has the same thing, it's one of the few bike lights in the US that does. If they're flashing their lights at you and you have it aimed properly, they're nuts.

  15. #15
    Senior Member 01 CAt Man Do's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulRivers View Post
    That's just not true, a car headlight is a shaped beam that keeps most of the light from hitting the eyes of oncoming traffic whether it's other cars or bikers ...

    ...Your Luxos U has the same thing, it's one of the few bike lights in the US that does. If they're flashing their lights at you and you have it aimed properly, they're nuts.
    Paul, I'm of the opinion that it really doesn't matter what type of light you are using. Doesn't matter if the light is bright, not bright, cut-off beam, non-cut off beam, blinking, strobing, steady, pointed at the ground...etc.
    If you're a cyclist riding at night there's going to be some jerk-wad out there that just doesn't like the idea of someone riding a bike on the road at night, period. The fact that you have a very good light system, AND are riding at night ( which might cause them to have to slow so they can pass you ) infuriates the buggers ever the more. There are just people who think the world revolves around them and when something or someone gets in their way they act like total....well....I think you know what I'm saying.

    Tonight while doing my evening ride back in the boonies I think I had about five vehicles approach me with very bright lights blazing away. If I was using my mid-mode ( about 500 lumen ) I would cycle to the low setting ( about 300 lumen ) and look to see it they would switch to low beam. Out of the five vehicles only one lowered their head lights. I figure it this way, this means one of two things; Either the buggers don't give a rat's behind about whither or not they high beam a cyclist or THEY ACTUALLY ARE ALREADY USING LOW BEAM'S...which of course is a possibility as I mentioned before. This is why I take this stuff in stride. It is also why I wear a helmet with a visor. If I have to I just tilt it down to block their lights. I'd rather not have to do this but you do what you have to do in order to see ( so as not to run off the road ).

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    Quote Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
    Paul, I'm of the opinion that it really doesn't matter what type of light you are using. Doesn't matter if the light is bright, not bright, cut-off beam, non-cut off beam, blinking, strobing, steady, pointed at the ground...etc.
    If you're a cyclist riding at night there's going to be some jerk-wad out there that just doesn't like the idea of someone riding a bike on the road at night, period. The fact that you have a very good light system, AND are riding at night ( which might cause them to have to slow so they can pass you ) infuriates the buggers ever the more. There are just people who think the world revolves around them and when something or someone gets in their way they act like total....well....I think you know what I'm saying.

    Tonight while doing my evening ride back in the boonies I think I had about five vehicles approach me with very bright lights blazing away. If I was using my mid-mode ( about 500 lumen ) I would cycle to the low setting ( about 300 lumen ) and look to see it they would switch to low beam. Out of the five vehicles only one lowered their head lights. I figure it this way, this means one of two things; Either the buggers don't give a rat's behind about whither or not they high beam a cyclist or THEY ACTUALLY ARE ALREADY USING LOW BEAM'S...which of course is a possibility as I mentioned before. This is why I take this stuff in stride. It is also why I wear a helmet with a visor. If I have to I just tilt it down to block their lights. I'd rather not have to do this but you do what you have to do in order to see ( so as not to run off the road ).
    Don't disagree with you that there's always someone. Like I said in my post, if cars are getting cranky about a Luxos U it's probably what you're saying.

    Only other explanation I can think of is that some drivers turn on their brights because they can't see you and don't want to hit you, and don't realize it's so blinding. Of course I suspect your explanation is more common...

  17. #17
    Senior Member dougmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    visualize the beam that your light puts out. It's a cone with the apex on your handlebars.
    But that's just it ... it's not just a single uniform cone.

    It's more a series of cones with larger and larger angles and lower and lower intensities. The middle part is the brightest, but the largest cone often has a beam width of nearly 180 degrees in diameter -- it's really weak at that point, but still non-zero.

    You generally want to aim the brightest part on the road at some point in front of you and not in the face of pedestrians facing you, but even if you aim the brightest spot properly it's still possible that the amount of light aimed at the eyes of people facing you will be too high for their comfort. It all depends on just how tight the cone is.

    Modern car lights have baffles that provide an abrupt cutoff in the light intensity and are carefully aimed so that they don't blind oncoming traffic, and some of the better bike lights do as well in addition to non-symmetrical reflectors that attempt to put the light right where they need it (though I've never seen one as good as those on modern cars) ... but the cheap ones generally do not.
    Last edited by dougmc; 06-30-14 at 02:08 PM.

  18. #18
    Randomhead
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    people are cranky about looking at headlights. That's why, while driving a car, you have to keep switching to brights so you can dim when oncoming cars can see you do it. Human eyes adapt to lack of light, so even a 300 lumen bike light looks really bright after pure dark -- even if it has a cutoff and is properly adjusted. Cyclists need the same amount of light that a motorist does, maybe more given the ramifications of hitting a pothole that would just jar a motorist might pose the risk of significantly more harm to a cyclist

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