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  1. #1
    DLifer EricL's Avatar
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    street lights going off at night

    OK I know this will sound weird. Whenever I commute at night, more often than not I have a street light just go dark as I pass under it. There was a stretch sometime in the 90's when I'd have 2 or 3 go out over a ~10 mile ride. Then I stopped riding at night for several years, now it's happening again. Every night ride for the last month I've had at least one light go out as I go under it, sometimes two.
    Does this happen to anyone else? I'm riding through the city and I pass under a lot of lights but seems to me the odds aren't that great for it to happen every time, right as I pass under.

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Perhaps the Denver Colo, DOT would have a response, if notified.?
    on this list, all I can say , is ..
    'May the Schwartz be with you', and with your special powers
    you should enjoy Halloween..
    Last edited by fietsbob; 10-13-11 at 11:35 AM.

  3. #3
    of Clan Nrubso ChrisO's Avatar
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    Taint of Corruption... It's was a five point flaw on some role playing game back in the day.
    Actually, I have the same thing happen to me; don't know why, but it's been happening for a long time. I just figured I was cursed, or chosen, or something...
    A Sufficiently Motivated Fool


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    Sodium vapor and other sorts of similar lights used in street lights shut down if they overheat. It's a sign of the bulb and/or ballast wearing out. They will often come back on when they cool off, only to shut off again. At least that's how my yard light works - it tells me it needs replaced. That's what you're seeing, a bulb shutting off because it's going bad.

    You're seeing a pattern in randomness, which is normal.

  5. #5
    Goodbye Leeroy Jenkins tagaproject6's Avatar
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    How is your midichlorian count? I bet it's off the scale
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    TOML

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  6. #6
    Senior Member jack002's Avatar
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    Here in MO that has been something I've seen all my life. Not unusual at all.
    Biking isn't a sport because anybody can do it. I can bike, you can bike. For goodness sakes, my mother can bike! You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?

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    Senior Member Keith99's Avatar
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    Pay attention. Are some of the lights more prone to this than others? Some streetlights use a sensor to determine when it is dark. It is possible your lighting is detected as dawn. (Though I find the overheating at least as likely).
    Perish any man who suspects that these men either did or suffered anything unseemly.

  8. #8
    Fredly
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    His power level IS OVER 9000!

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    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    It happens to me quite frequently ... when I ride my bicycle or when I walk. Not sure why.

  10. #10
    Roll Model krustyone's Avatar
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    AAAggghhh!!
    Light suckers!!
    I was warned you were coming!!
    "Science has proven that if you have one flat on your bike, you will have another one, sooner or later. This is the reason that you should always buy a new bike when you get a flat." Mr Grumpy
    "If you can look at a Pug/Moonlander and not want to immediately go play on it, you must have no joy in your heart." misskaz

  11. #11
    Travelling hopefully chasm54's Avatar
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    Happens all the time.
    There have been many days when I haven't felt like riding, but there has never been a day when I was sorry I rode.

  12. #12
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricL View Post
    OK I know this will sound weird. Whenever I commute at night, more often than not I have a street light just go dark as I pass under it. There was a stretch sometime in the 90's when I'd have 2 or 3 go out over a ~10 mile ride. Then I stopped riding at night for several years, now it's happening again. Every night ride for the last month I've had at least one light go out as I go under it, sometimes two.
    Does this happen to anyone else? I'm riding through the city and I pass under a lot of lights but seems to me the odds aren't that great for it to happen every time, right as I pass under.
    It doesn't happen to me.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricL View Post
    OK I know this will sound weird. Whenever I commute at night, more often than not I have a street light just go dark as I pass under it...
    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    ...You're seeing a pattern in randomness, which is normal.
    It's called street light interference phenomenon:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_...nce_phenomenon

    I had heard of it discussed on the nationally syndicated 1:00 to 5:00 AM Talk Show called Coast to Coast AM, devoted to "far out" topics like the paranormal, conspiracy theories, etc.

    It seemed to happen to me a lot a few years ago but not since about five or so years, but back then I used to leave on my commute well before 5:00 AM; I now usually leave later than 5:30 AM. My commuter route is not flat ,but with up and down hills, and gradual inclines/declines. It seemed to me that SLI occured almost exclusively on gradual inclines. FWIW

  14. #14
    DLifer EricL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith99 View Post
    Pay attention. Are some of the lights more prone to this than others? Some streetlights use a sensor to determine when it is dark. It is possible your lighting is detected as dawn. (Though I find the overheating at least as likely).
    Funny you should say that. Seems like it always happens when I'm not paying attention. Last night since I posted this I was thinking about it
    quite a bit on the way home and of course it did not happen! Since I was paying attention though I noticed that I pass under a lot fewer than
    I thought I did because many of them are on the other side of the street.
    I don't think it's my lighting. I do have a good headlight now but in the past all I had was one that would let me be seen and didn't really light
    up the road at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    It's called street light interference phenomenon:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_...nce_phenomenon

    I had heard of it discussed on the nationally syndicated 1:00 to 5:00 AM Talk Show called Coast to Coast AM, devoted to "far out" topics like the paranormal, conspiracy theories, etc.

    It seemed to happen to me a lot a few years ago but not since about five or so years, but back then I used to leave on my commute well before 5:00 AM; I now usually leave later than 5:30 AM. My commuter route is not flat ,but with up and down hills, and gradual inclines/declines. It seemed to me that SLI occured almost exclusively on gradual inclines. FWIW
    Thanks for that reply Jim, and the link. Interesting stuff. I have commuted at or before dawn before too, and have had lights go off, but even if I thought it was still pretty dark I'd
    still dismiss it because of the time of day.

    I'll pay attention a bit more and if it does happen try to notice if it's the same one. I'm pretty open minded. I like the "magical thinking" line. No doubt people are guilty of that sort of thing, but so many things taken for granted today would be magic long ago. Maybe the act of paying attention to it prevents it from happening. Go ahead and laugh, then look at
    quantum mechanics.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Great answers. So, why doesn't it happen when you drive by in a car? Maybe it does, but I have yet to see it.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  16. #16
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    Pay attention to how many lights don't go off and how many lights do go off. You will most likely quickly realize its just a coincidence.

  17. #17
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jack002 View Post
    Here in MO that has been something I've seen all my life. Not unusual at all.
    Me too, but it only happens sporadically to me.

  18. #18
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Animal Magnetism, that's what it is.

    "He who serves all, best serves himself" Jack London

    Quote Originally Posted by Bjforrestal View Post
    I don't care if you are on a unicycle, as long as you're not using a motor to get places you get props from me. We're here to support each other. Share ideas, and motivate one another to actually keep doing it.

  19. #19
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    OP is Satan. No other explanation.

  20. #20
    DLifer EricL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob N. View Post
    OP is Satan. No other explanation.
    you got me.
    imstn.jpg

  21. #21
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    There IS an explanation:
    Many Street Lights are turned on and off by a photocell (light detector). This turns them on when it gets dark, and off when the day dawns, and it's light again.
    Sometimes, one of these sensors is extremely sensitive, and a Bike comes by with a powerful headlight, the headlight of the bike tricks the sensor into thinking the Sun has risen. That's what shuts off the street light.

    Maybe a Bike with enough reflective tape can do the trick to.

    But I agree, most of the time it's just a random phenomenon.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

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