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  1. #1
    Senior Member donheff's Avatar
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    DIY sonar distance warning sensor for dooring

    This is for the engineers on the board who love quirky DIY projects. In a 15 minute video Ben Heck builds a sonar sensor to warn you when cars are withing three feet of your bike. Totally useless but fun to watch. Warning - this is detailed and long, only for nerds.
    Every man is, or hopes to be, an Idler. -- Samuel Johnson

  2. #2
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Nice idea, pretty good depiction of problem/design/development.

    Why do you say it's useless? If it keeps the user from getting doored, or teaches the user how to avoid it, that's good, right?

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    What I need is something like that with longer range to put on my bike when it's on the rack on top of my car as I approach the garage.

    J.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I like that idea, too.

  5. #5
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    I had an idea to put an ultrasonic sensor that would look out maybe 20' with it's own battery and some sort of wireless communication to a device you have in your car. You would put the sensor on the handlebars facing forward. If you are driving into the garage, and there is something in the way, it causes the thing in your car to chirp.

    J.

  6. #6
    VNA
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    There are very bright flashing white blinking headlights on the market today that can be mounted on handlebar or head tube which are roughly at the height of an automobile rear view mirror!

    It is not a guarantee but certainly will increase visibility to drivers.
    Last edited by VNA; 10-23-11 at 07:12 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    As a cyclist who drives I would find that blinding and a danger to me.

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    Oh for heaven's sake. They are no brighter than the LEDs in the emergency lights of police cars. They are no brighter than the headlights of cars. If you find those to be "blinding and a danger" then you shouldn't be driving.

    J.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    They're very distracting when in my side mirror at night. Because of the high headlight placement of pickups, vans, and SUVs, the outside mirror can be exactly in the hot spot. You're advocating something similar, a tightly directed beam of similar source intensity directly at the outside mirror, which means directly in the eyes of the driver.

    How many lumens output are you talking about? When you say "very bright," I think of the LEDs that can be used to make headlights, typically about 1 cm square with a concentrating lens, and consuming several watts of electricity. With a background in powering automotive headlamps, I think those are bright enough and do not belong shone in my eyes.

    Keep in mind car drivers may have good reasons to get angry, too. It's not a threat, just human nature.

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    Sounds to me like you shouldn't drive at night.

    J.

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    Senior Member jdon's Avatar
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    Is being doored safer with or without a helmet?

  12. #12
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdon View Post
    Is being doored safer with or without a helmet?
    dingdingding - A Winner!!!!!!
    2011 BMC SR02; 2010 Fuji Cross Comp; n+1 on hold today, due to college tuition and a wedding. Some day, some where, over the rainbow, I will get that 29er....

  13. #13
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnJ80 View Post
    Sounds to me like you shouldn't drive at night.

    J.
    You really don't understand headlights.

    I said it was irritating, not blinding.

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    No, you don't understand bike lights.

    There are very, very, very few bike lights that even approach much less equal the brightness and directed beam of a headlight. I happen to have a bike light that is as bright as a headlight (1500 lumens so it's actually a bit brighter than a 1300 lumen car headlight) and it is actually a wider beam than the headlights on my car - which is pretty normal for a LED light. There are few, if any, bike lights that are not relatively wide lights for the simple reason that they are not all that useful if they are an uber bright pencil beam. So, you won't find any like that in practice. If that's what you are worried about then it's a hypothetical.

    Most bike headlights are well less than a 1000 lumens and really much closer to 500 lumens if they are more than a year or two old. More that a year or two old and the most likely light is about 200 lumens or so.

    Here is what you said:

    As a cyclist who drives I would find that blinding and a danger to me.
    in response to a comment on bright bike headlights that blink.

    So, yes, you did say that a headlight as bright as a car headlight in your mirror would blind you (a flashing one is no brighter than a not flashing one). But only if you look directly at it - which most people who drive have been trained not to do or have learned that through experience. And, and as a matter of fact, a bike headlight is pretty much the height and location of a car headlight. So, if you can't handle that many lumens in your rear view mirror, then you ought to consider not driving at night if you find that "blinding and a danger" to you because you are going to find that a problem with every car that is behind you.

    As far as irritating you, if you pay attention to where I am, I don't really care if you are irritated. But, for that matter, having ridden with very bright bike headlights for almost 5 years, I've not ever had anyone (i.e. car driver) tell me anything except how much they liked them and how visible they made me. The *only* person that has taken me to task for my blinking lights (very bright red tail lights - 400 lumens) and my very bright headlight was a drunk who pulled over and chewed me out while trying to stand up. I can only presume that since he obviously knew he was drunk, he mistook my flashing light for a police car and pulled over. I'm sure that scared the crap out of him and I'm not sure that was a bad thing either. But, it had the desired impact - he was careful enough to stop while I passed. So, based on experience, drivers seem to appreciate my lights and they certainly have worked to make sure I'm visible. That's directly apparent by the behavior of the drivers that I encounter.

    J.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    Ok, "blind me" was an exaggeration.

    Compare an automotive low beam to a Light and Motion Vega, even the 1st gen. It is nowhere near a wide beam like the low beam is, though I can't speak to its total light output. And bike lights are often higher than passenger car lights, more like the height of pickup/SUV lights.

    As far as paying attention to where you are, fine, but a driver (and a cyclist) also needs to pay attention to a lot more than just one other road user. Unnecessarily large sources of distraction put larger demands on the driver's cognitive workload, which is without question a factor in automotive safety.

    My main trigger point here was the first poster saying the light would be shone into the side mirror. Flashing is fine, bright is fine, but really, just having it face forward is adequate, for a light with at least the capability of the Vega. If your headlight is appreciated by drivers you have spoken to, more power to you. The other poster seemed to be going over the top with his approach.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Ok, "blind me" was an exaggeration.

    Compare an automotive low beam to a Light and Motion Vega, even the 1st gen. It is nowhere near a wide beam like the low beam is, though I can't speak to its total light output. And bike lights are often higher than passenger car lights, more like the height of pickup/SUV lights.

    As far as paying attention to where you are, fine, but a driver (and a cyclist) also needs to pay attention to a lot more than just one other road user. Unnecessarily large sources of distraction put larger demands on the driver's cognitive workload, which is without question a factor in automotive safety.

    My main trigger point here was the first poster saying the light would be shone into the side mirror. Flashing is fine, bright is fine, but really, just having it face forward is adequate, for a light with at least the capability of the Vega. If your headlight is appreciated by drivers you have spoken to, more power to you. The other poster seemed to be going over the top with his approach.
    If you're overloaded by everyday driving activities (Such as looking out for road construction, people walking in the road, etc), I think you should re-consider your driving ability, and whether or not you should continue to drive.

    Or, you should look at what activities you are doing, while driving, that have nothing to do with driving; such as fiddling with radios, cell phones, et al.

    I've never been "overloaded" while driving, and I've driven in combat zones. Then again, I (By and large) ignore my cell phone, don't mess with the radio (Except to maybe lower volume), and other things which might distract me from the task at hand: Driving a 5000-50,000 pound hunk of metal, at 30-60 mph, down a narrow corridor of 8-11 feet wide.

    If you get "overloaded" while doing that, you shouldn't be driving.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
    Ok, "blind me" was an exaggeration.

    Compare an automotive low beam to a Light and Motion Vega, even the 1st gen. It is nowhere near a wide beam like the low beam is, though I can't speak to its total light output. And bike lights are often higher than passenger car lights, more like the height of pickup/SUV lights.

    As far as paying attention to where you are, fine, but a driver (and a cyclist) also needs to pay attention to a lot more than just one other road user. Unnecessarily large sources of distraction put larger demands on the driver's cognitive workload, which is without question a factor in automotive safety.

    My main trigger point here was the first poster saying the light would be shone into the side mirror. Flashing is fine, bright is fine, but really, just having it face forward is adequate, for a light with at least the capability of the Vega. If your headlight is appreciated by drivers you have spoken to, more power to you. The other poster seemed to be going over the top with his approach.
    A Vega is an 85 lumen light. That's not even 10% of a car headlight and not what passes for bright these days. Go shine that straight into a rear view mirror from what would be a reasonable distance (a few meters even) and it's still not an issue.

    Any of the big lumen lights out now are not narrow beams. They run on the order of 20 degrees to 40 degrees for the main part of the beam. Much of the light flux is even wider than that (i.e. spill) so the whole 1500 lumens are not even going straight out the front in the way that they do with a headlight. They are a much wider beam. In fact, one beam from a bike headlight is approximately as wide as two beams from a car headlight (separated by a fair distance) to give you an idea of how diffuse it is. So back to the original point - shining this in your rear view mirror is probably not going to be even as annoying as a car headlight. It's a non issue. Go over the http://www.mtbr.com and look at their light shoot outs and you will see what I mean. This is a non issue, flashing or not.

    Now, if I took a couple of the brightest lights out there now - say the Lupine Betty's with a 26 degree beam with 2600 lumens - and two of them (ie. 5200 lumens), then it might start to be irritating but it still wouldn't be blinding because of the wide beam.

    J.
    Last edited by JohnJ80; 10-25-11 at 02:54 PM.

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