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  1. #1
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    riding in thick fog

    i happened to get off work one night and the fog was super thick - could not see a thing in front of me. i have a planet bike light for the front and a headlamp and the back light is a dinotte.

    does anyone have any tips for riding in thick fog? even the cars were driving 20-30 when it was in a 50mph zone.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Bright, bright coloured clothing ... hi-vis yellow or orange jersey or jacket preferably with reflective stripes.

    Rear reflector, reflective tape on your mudguards, reflective ankle bands, bright coloured reflective vest.

    You do not want to blend in with the fog, so do not wear dull or dark colours.

    I would probably add one or two more red blinkie lights in the rear, and I would probably attach a bright white or amber blinkie in front.

    And if the fog was really thick, I might be tempted to ride (very cautiously) on the sidewalk. I would NOT normally recommend riding on the sidewalk ... it's illegal in many places, and generally quite dangerous. But in a situation like really thick fog, I might feel the sidewalk was safer. If I rode on the sidewalk, I'd keep my pace down, and would stop, check for any traffic, and walk across every intersection. In other words, I would behave like a pedestrian.

  3. #3
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Fog can be nasty further south here in the valley, and some mornings my ride to work is surreal, almost like I am pedaling in some other dimension. My approach is as follows:
    • MagicShine 900 lumen light on the bars
    • Magic Shine 1000 lumen light on the helmet
    • Planet Bike swiveling Blinkey on the back of my helmet, flashing
    • Planet Bike Turboflash on blink on the back
    • Cheapy Fred Meyer checkout lane Chinese blinker, blinking, on the backpack
    • A steady read on the back
    • Lots of reflective tape
    • Nerd reflectors on the spokes

    I will run the two headlights on "Medium", or sometimes will run the helmet light on flash, the jury is still out on that.

    My "foggy" ride is usually in the morning - trying to get to work by 0630 at the latest. That way I have minimized local traffic. I would not willingly ride at night in the fog - too many folks hurrying home from work or wherever - I really notice a difference in driver behavior between the ride early to work than later from work to home. But if it's foggy at go-home time, that's how I have to ride.

    I really don't think you can have too much blink going on in the rear - the more visible you are from the danger direction the better.
    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....

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    At least one of your lights must be on solid. An all blinky setup makes distance estimation hard. 2 blinkies flashing out of phase is really confusing. 2 solid lights make distance estimation easier for drivers.
    I have ridden in the slipstream of slow vehicles for protection.
    I have also taken to the sidewalk with great care rather than risk a busy, dangerous stretch of road in poor visibility.

  5. #5
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    +1
    Wear a reflective parka, that's my gear choice, or,
    at least a vest over everything with lots of strips of reflective material.

    I stay well to the right of the 'fog line' painted on the right edge of the traffic lane.

    my bike got a B&M 4D toplight, on the rear rack. German made so steady mode
    Last edited by fietsbob; 11-15-11 at 12:12 PM.

  6. #6
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ____asdfghjkl View Post
    i happened to get off work one night and the fog was super thick - could not see a thing in front of me. i have a planet bike light for the front and a headlamp and the back light is a dinotte.

    does anyone have any tips for riding in thick fog? even the cars were driving 20-30 when it was in a 50mph zone.
    If you have a helmet mounted light, turn it off. I do the same in snowstorms. All you get from the helmet light is the 'Star Trek' effect. This is the only situation, by the way, where a helmet mounted light isn't that useful.
    Stuart Black
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  7. #7
    Senior Member david58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    If you have a helmet mounted light, turn it off. I do the same in snowstorms. All you get from the helmet light is the 'Star Trek' effect. This is the only situation, by the way, where a helmet mounted light isn't that useful.
    I still use the helmet light for visibility, so I can toss the light toward cars coming in from side streets. It doesn't help me see that well, but I believe it makes me more visible. I try to be obnoxiously visible as much as possible.
    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....

  8. #8
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david58 View Post
    I still use the helmet light for visibility, so I can toss the light toward cars coming in from side streets. It doesn't help me see that well, but I believe it makes me more visible. I try to be obnoxiously visible as much as possible.
    I agree on the use of a helmet light for everything but in fog or precipitation. It effectively blinds you. The heavier the fog or precipitation, the worse the back reflection becomes. You just have to be a bit more vigilant without it.
    Stuart Black
    Solo Without Pie. The search for pie in the Midwest.
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    Days of Wineless Roads. Bed and Breakfasting along the KATY
    Twisting Down the Alley. Misadventures in tornado alley.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Mobile 155's Avatar
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    If we are talking about the kind of fog where you can’t see 5 feet in front of you then it is a wet fog and I have been in that. One it chills you to the bone and two you need the brightest lights you can afford front and rear. Reflective clothing and still remember the cars more than likely will not see you. I have watched them drive with one wheel on the fog line and their heads out of the window. But in those cases at least they are going slow. I once had someone follow me into my driveway because they had been following me down the street and thought I could see. If you absolutely have to be out in it do what you must. Just be careful and ride like you know you are invisible.
    Life is like riding a bicycle - in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving. ~Albert Einstein.

  10. #10
    "He must be crazy!" ColinJ's Avatar
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    I don't think that there is any way that riding in thick fog can be made safe. You can use any lights that you want, and any amount of reflective gear on you and your bike but if people are driving too fast for the conditions, then sooner or later one of them is going to get you!

    I got caught out by thick fog at the top of a local hill a few winters back. I was with a friend and I knew that there had been a couple of fatal accidents at the junction we were about to come to so I started to warn him - "Watch out for this junction, it could be ..."

    BANG!-BANG!-BANG! - a multiple pile-up stopped me mid-sentence as a car ran into the side of one turning, and then two more ran into that!

    "... er, really dangerous in this fog!"

    We checked that the drivers were okay, and then got down out of the fog as soon as we could.

    I went for a ride on Sunday and 1,200 ft up I hit heavy mist. Visibility was about 50 ft, but cars were still whizzing past me as if conditions were clear. I decided that the safest thing to do was to get off the road and cycle along the adjacent footpath.
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