Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Results 1 to 19 of 19
  1. #1
    Senior Member claire's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Paris, France
    My Bikes
    Mikado De Champlain, Decathlon Cobra 600, Orbea Enol
    Posts
    401
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Steady or flashing?

    Hi everyone,
    Well, now that we're back to winter time, I find myself using my lights much more often. My question is, is it better to set your lights in flashing or steady mode? I read somewhere that the law asks you to have steady lights (at least in Ontario, I think) because flashing lights make it more difficult for a motorist to accurately localize you (or something like that), but flashing is definitely more efficient to get driver's attention. What do you guys think?

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Beaufort, South Carolina, USA and surrounding islands.
    My Bikes
    Cannondale R500, Motobecane Messenger
    Posts
    8,524
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Flashing is allowed in South Carolina on the back of a bicycle, and on a bicycle only. These cars and motorcycles with flashing brake lights have got to go.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Spokane WA
    My Bikes
    2008 Lapierre X-Lite, 2006 Serotta Coeur d’Acier, 2005 Independent Fabrication Steel Delux, 2003 Surly 1x1, 2003 Surly Cross Check, 1986 Schwin Worldsport SS commuter, 1980's Mongoose Supergoose
    Posts
    1,183
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not sure, but I think the Washington law requires flashing rear bike lights. A flashing light gets more attention from drivers, in my opinion. I've never believed that in a realistic situation, a light flashing at moderate speed, say 2 flashes/second would be harder to localize than a solid light. If it's the law there, I'd like to see the research to prove it.

  4. #4
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Wynnum, Australia
    My Bikes
    1998 Cannondale F700
    Posts
    3,819
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by claire
    I read somewhere that the law asks you to have steady lights (at least in Ontario, I think) because flashing lights make it more difficult for a motorist to accurately localize you
    That's the latest excuse for not looking is it?

    Regarding flashing lights: When it comes to questions of law, which vary from area to area, it's better to ask the question on a local forum/mailng list, or, god forbid, type 'ontario road rules' into Google and look it up for yourself.

    see http://192.75.156.68/DBLaws/Statutes...m#P2483_280705 (clause 62, part 17) for the relevant clause, but note part 14 as well. I'd clarify that with the police though - flashing tail-lights were illegal here in QLD until recently as well, but they were readily available for sale and widely used prior to that. I never heard of anyone getting a ticket for it.

    I do wonder though - if they are illegal, why are they even available for sale?

    Personally, I think flashing is better than a steady rear light. It distinguishes you better from the roadside clutter typical to urban and sub-urban streets. It is also by now pretty uniformly known that flashing tail-light=cyclist, which I think helps.
    Last edited by Allister; 11-03-03 at 08:39 PM.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  5. #5
    Passing!
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Red Lock Trail Head, Northfield Ohio
    My Bikes
    Trek 1988-520 & 2003-7500, 2004 Specialized Allez Sport & Stumpjumper Comp
    Posts
    291
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    If I'm on the road, I use one of each in the rear, a steady and a flasher, steady only on the front for me. On our trails I use a steady only unless I ride there from home in which case I had both on anyway!

  6. #6
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Everett, WA
    My Bikes
    Bianchi San Remo, Norvara Intrepid MTB , Softride Solo 700, Specialized Allez
    Posts
    4,363
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Claire, I have just recently read the same thing about a steady light being easier for a driver to discern distance. I wish I could remember where. I have been using flashing lights since I first some them in the 80's and have survived so far.

    ANd Mtn Mike you got me curious as to the law so I checked it out Washington State requires only a front light (white) that can be seen 500' they do not even require a rear light just a reflector, you can use a light in conjunction with the reflector. Which means I am not in compliance with the law since I took off the reflector so I could mount my light.

    From the DOT website

    "Riding at Night - For night bicycle riding, a white front light (not a reflector) visible for 500 feet and a red rear reflector are required. A red rear light may be used in addition to the required reflector (RCW 46.61.780)."

    It makes more sense to have a rear light than a front light thats were you need to be seen.
    Matthew 6

  7. #7
    Guest
    Guest
    I put a flashing light on my backpack and a steady one on my bike for the rear lights. Let 'em choose which one they like to look at the most.

    I just try to keep my eyes open for cars that might be blind to the fact that I'm right there in front of them. Use the lights and keep a wary eye on your rearview mirror just in case.

    Koffee

  8. #8
    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
    My Bikes
    Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike
    Posts
    13,145
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    Someone a while back posted some survey/study. Said some authority figure resercher type said steady is more easily recognized by motorists. I have always used flashing. Someone posted a reply that they had one flashing and one rear light steady. There is a solution.

  9. #9
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Spokane WA
    My Bikes
    2008 Lapierre X-Lite, 2006 Serotta Coeur d’Acier, 2005 Independent Fabrication Steel Delux, 2003 Surly 1x1, 2003 Surly Cross Check, 1986 Schwin Worldsport SS commuter, 1980's Mongoose Supergoose
    Posts
    1,183
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Thanks for the correction ngateguy. I guess I'm not in compliance with the law.

  10. #10
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Posts
    1,852
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    In the UK they must be steady on the bike (but I think the Police are so amazed by people having lights they're unlikely to prosecute if it was flashing). Personally I use steady on the rack with a flashing on my bag.
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  11. #11
    Senior Member Waxbytes's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Posts
    510
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I run 2 white Halide lights plus two blinking white triple LED lights in front and one steady red triple LED light and two blinking red triple LED lights in back.
    I have a clear reflector in front and two red reflectors in back. My panniers have four inch long amber reflectors on them, one on each pannier facing rearward.
    I want to be seen. I'm not sure if my setup is 'legal', however I'd rather argue with a Police Officer than with Saint Peter.
    Uhmm...

  12. #12
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    mass
    Posts
    942
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Being a daily commuter, I always check out cyclist I see while driving my car, I look to see how they're lit and how well they stand out and how well I can see them. I find the best is the flashing rear red light, I can pick it out easily and have no problem with judging distance between my car and them. I have however come up on cylist with a red steady light and did not notice them until I was very close, the light just didn't catch my eye, in fact, it was hard to see. Myself, I use a niterider rear tail light set on flashing and a cateye 5 light blinky as a backup, I run them both in case one should fail. I have had motorist tell me how easy I was to see even on foggy mornings.
    Achieve your goals: Attitude is everything:

  13. #13
    Telemark! TeleJohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    726
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    With the steady light, on a dark road, keeping to the right; drivers coming up fast from behind could initially think you are a car with the left tailight out.

  14. #14
    Donating member Richard D's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Posts
    1,852
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by TeleJohn
    With the steady light, on a dark road, keeping to the right; drivers coming up fast from behind could initially think you are a car with the left tailight out.
    This wouldn't be to the cyclists disadvantage though would it?
    Currently riding an MTB with a split personality - commuting, touring, riding for the sake of riding, on or off road :)

  15. #15
    Telemark! TeleJohn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    726
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Not at all.

  16. #16
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Wynnum, Australia
    My Bikes
    1998 Cannondale F700
    Posts
    3,819
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Just one thing on flashing tail lights. If you're in the market for one, don't get one of those ones with a plethora of fancy flashing patterns. They surely must be the brainchild of some ******** marketer that's never seen a bike, or even been outside, and are a waste of time.

    I've seen some where they've got seven or so LEDs, but it cycles through them one at a time, which makes it about as useful as a single LED on constant ie. not very. All the LEDs need to go on and off together, or it's not operating at it's full potential, and you want your tail light working at it's full potential.

    The most you want is two modes. Flashing and constant. The only true variable is the frequency of the flashing, and that varies from model to model. 2 or 3 Hz is much too slow from my observations. I've seen some that do this, and they're not very eye catching. Same thing if they go too fast - they start to look like a steady light, only not quite as bright. The best I think is around 5-8 Hz. Most lights I've seen seem to work in this range, but I have seen a few that I consider to flash too slowly. There aren't many that are too fast - I think there was some concern about epileptics having a fit or some such garbage - another one from the panic-mongers I think.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  17. #17
    Senior Member arcellus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    pdx
    Posts
    379
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I'd like to think there aren't too many epileptics driving anyway.

  18. #18
    Devilmaycare Cycling Fool Allister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Wynnum, Australia
    My Bikes
    1998 Cannondale F700
    Posts
    3,819
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by arcellus
    I'd like to think there aren't too many epileptics driving anyway.
    You'd be surprised.

    One of my neighbours is on a pension due to brain damage sustained, ironically enough, in a car crash. He can function normally to all appearances, lives on his own, and is capable of holding a job, but still gets a pension - go figure.

    This guy drives down our dead-end, children-playing-in-the-street, 50km/h street like he's going for the checkered flag. He's a freakin' speeding maniac with brain damage and a drinking problem, but still drives. Epileptics, from what I understand, function perfectly normally most of the time, and fits can be controlled with medication. If my bonehead neighbour can still drive, I see no reason why they'd stop an epileptic from doing it.
    If we learn from our mistakes, I must be a goddamn genius.

  19. #19
    opinionated SOB cycletourist's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Branson, Missouri USA
    Posts
    968
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Rondoneurs USA requires a steady-light for all night-time events becuase it is believed that drunk drivers are drawn to flashing lights.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •