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Utility Cycling Want to haul groceries, beer, maybe even your kids? You don't have to live car free to put your bike to use as a workhorse. Here's the place to share and learn about the bicycle as a utility vehicle.

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Old 03-29-14, 11:44 PM   #1
wipekitty
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Trailer Visibility

I just got my first cargo trailer! Crazy fun.

Before I start hauling anything I really care about (like my pets) or doing trips after dark, I want to make sure that I'm super visible to traffic. I'm thinking maybe an LED/reflective slow vehicle triangle and a flag might be a good place to start (though I haven't been able to find any flags locally, and I have no idea how they attach.)

Anyway. How do you light up your trailer and/or make it more visible during the day?
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Old 03-30-14, 12:44 PM   #2
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Anyway. How do you light up your trailer and/or make it more visible during the day?
The use of yellow, blaze orange or lime green paint (or cloth) is the best way to make any person, bike or trailer more visible on the road/street.

These colors are proven highway safety colors that really do save lives...........
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Old 03-30-14, 06:30 PM   #3
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Old 03-31-14, 06:32 AM   #4
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A quick Google search should reveal the typical safety flag mounting bracket, which you can also see pictured here on the Bikesatwork site: Bicycle Trailer Accessories | Bikes At Work, but there are also clamp types.

I think the flags that have reflective material are the best type, and are, for some reason, most commonly found from recumbent specialists, e.g. Hostelshoppe, Bentrideronline, and Recumbentbicycles.

I think the reflective triangle, and really, reflective stuff in general, communicates 'slow moving vehicle' really well, but active lighting is great, too. I guess it's hard to really go wrong with visibility stuff, though obviously at some point enough is enough.

I have outfitted a couple of my trailers with active LED light bars which I 'repurposed' from an automotive wheel well lighting kit. They're weather proof, multi-color, and offer tons of illumination options, and they're even remote controlled! I do have to move the battery pack (a RadioShack 8xAA holder) and the control unit, both of which I keep in a single, tidy project box, between the trailers, each of which are equipped with two 3' (iirc) light bars, depending on which one I use since the kit only had one CPU, but for single trailer use, that wouldn't be an issue.
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Old 03-31-14, 06:53 AM   #5
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Old 04-01-14, 07:27 AM   #6
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Nice, 10Wheels!

The beauty of hi-vis reflective is that it's always hi-vis, day and night, whereas lights have to be not just on, but extremely bright for daytime effectiveness.

I'm compelled to put some hi-vis reflective tape on the back of my trailers...

Here's one of the setups I was talking about earlier, and while you can see there's the belt line silver reflective tape, there's plenty of space for some hi-vis yellow or orange striping on the back as well. I've just got the lights in this video in a random slow flash mode, but they're fun because you can fix the colors solid or mixed, have them chase across the back, or flash in various phases.

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Old 04-02-14, 11:56 AM   #7
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Old 04-02-14, 11:48 PM   #8
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Thanks for the ideas, guys! The light up trailer is awesome. Maybe a future project...

I decided to start with this LED safety triangle, which should get the message across. I picked up a second one to attach to myself for non-cargo rides.
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Old 04-03-14, 12:36 PM   #9
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That SMV should really be mounted the other way up to be in compliance, but I dare anyone to say they didn't see it.

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Old 04-03-14, 12:52 PM   #10
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Got this one free...Very bright for day light use as it stands.

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