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Bike lights

Old 11-25-16, 11:36 PM
  #1  
Cutawooda
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Bike lights

I've over-stayed my welcome on this subject with my immediate friends, family and fellow rider, but I'm still not satisfied with the answer because frankly, ...I haven't been given and answer. The question is: why would you ride a bike on the road in the daylight without at least having a rear flashing tail light? For the record, I have front and back lights. I want to live.
Recently went to DALLAS to ride a group ride and I was shocked and disappointed how few had rear lights. Out of 50 cyclists only about 5 of us were lit.
Even in my group of friends riding, who know how adamant I am about cyclists being lit up, refuse to use them.
My speech is that most drivers DONT want to hit you and want to avoid that kind of tragedy as much as the cyclist, so why not help the driver out as much as you can with a $5.00 light.
So I wanna ask you guys. What is the stigma of using lights on your bike?. Is it that uncool to put a light on? Frankly, I think it's just plain pride that governs their decision, but maybe you can tell me a legit reason that I'm an aware of.
Thanks in advance
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Old 11-25-16, 11:56 PM
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Because I do not feel it's necessary nor does it really increase the likelihood that a motorist will see me.
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Old 11-26-16, 02:50 AM
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Don't need a reason, I just don't use one.

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Old 11-26-16, 08:10 AM
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Answer to your question is I wouldn't, ever. The min reason is I also drive a vehicle, and I get pissed off at the black-clad roadies cycling without warning lights. There is no reason not to use lights, but I lump it in with weight weenie - everything I don't understand about some cyclists' choices. In my best airhead voice: They don't use lights in TdF.

There are so many reasons a driver can't see you - low sunlight angle, shadows, dirty windshield, glare - weather. I know from driving, under perfect visibility conditions, I can see you 5-10 times farther away with your warning lights than without. I have five times as long to think about you there, to turn on my headlights as a vehicle warning, to evaluate traffic, to kick my truck out of overdrive, and to plan how I'm going to pass you - or not.
I get to think - I don't have to react without notice.

When you're on a bicycle, you have all the time in the world to evaluate what you're going to do - you can out brake any vehicle on the road. You can't miss seeing the vehicle. If you have a warning light, the vehicle driver has as much time as you do to think. Driving without warning lights is not fair to motorists.

I cycle big miles, and I think cyclists without warning lights are bad people - they make a bad choice with bad intent.
They intentionally deny motorists the information they need to make safe choices around the cyclist.
It's the cycling equivalent of drivers fumbling on their i-phones, and it should be equally illegal.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 11-26-16 at 10:27 AM.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:17 AM
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I agree that being visible is smart. I commute year round, and my cycling wardrobe now includes almost all hi-vis and reflective attire, as well as on my bikes. My bikes have front and rear 180 blinkies attatched as well on my helmet. In bright sunlight I feel confident I can be seen without my lights on. On overcast days, at dawn and at dusk, and of course at night I turn on my lights.

While I ride and drive I look at other bicyclists and compare how they dress, reflect and light compared to me and my setup. I am confident about my visibility in daylight without lights on.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:22 AM
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and you can increase that recognition distance 5 to 10 times by running warning lights - at twice the distance that you can't tell a cyclist from a road sign - with warning lights, it's all clear that it's a cyclist before you can see anything is there.

Last edited by bulldog1935; 11-26-16 at 10:25 AM.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Cutawooda View Post
I've over-stayed my welcome on this subject with my immediate friends, family and fellow rider, but I'm still not satisfied with the answer because frankly, ...I haven't been given and answer. The question is: why would you ride a bike on the road in the daylight without at least having a rear flashing tail light? For the record, I have front and back lights. I want to live.
Recently went to DALLAS to ride a group ride and I was shocked and disappointed how few had rear lights. Out of 50 cyclists only about 5 of us were lit.
Even in my group of friends riding, who know how adamant I am about cyclists being lit up, refuse to use them.
My speech is that most drivers DONT want to hit you and want to avoid that kind of tragedy as much as the cyclist, so why not help the driver out as much as you can with a $5.00 light.
So I wanna ask you guys. What is the stigma of using lights on your bike?. Is it that uncool to put a light on? Frankly, I think it's just plain pride that governs their decision, but maybe you can tell me a legit reason that I'm an aware of.
Thanks in advance
No Lights means you are in The So Cool Group.

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Old 11-26-16, 10:37 AM
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Because while there may be some merit to a really nice flashing taillight, if a motorist can't see the 6 square feet of my back wearing a bright orange or green jersey/coat, I seriously doubt a couple flashing LEDs on a $5 taillight tucked up under my seat is going to make any difference in daylight.
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Old 11-26-16, 10:43 AM
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Have you ever ridden behind someone with a blinking red tail light? It's annoying. Have you ever ridden past someone on a bike path with a blinking headlight? That's annoying too. I never use blinking lights because I think they are annoying. I won't ride with people who insist on using lights during the daytime and frequently pass other riders for the sole reason of getting in front of their annoying tail light. I don't use lights at all during the daytime because they are totally unnecessary.
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Old 11-26-16, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Cutawooda View Post
I've over-stayed my welcome on this subject with my immediate friends, family and fellow rider, but I'm still not satisfied with the answer because frankly, ...I haven't been given and answer. The question is: why would you ride a bike on the road in the daylight without at least having a rear flashing tail light? For the record, I have front and back lights. I want to live.
Recently went to DALLAS to ride a group ride and I was shocked and disappointed how few had rear lights. Out of 50 cyclists only about 5 of us were lit.
Even in my group of friends riding, who know how adamant I am about cyclists being lit up, refuse to use them.
My speech is that most drivers DONT want to hit you and want to avoid that kind of tragedy as much as the cyclist, so why not help the driver out as much as you can with a $5.00 light.
So I wanna ask you guys. What is the stigma of using lights on your bike?. Is it that uncool to put a light on? Frankly, I think it's just plain pride that governs their decision, but maybe you can tell me a legit reason that I'm an aware of.
Thanks in advance
The stigma is, those who do use bike lights are not 'cool', not 'chique'. Those that don't use lights, as has been said in this thread. Say that lights don't guarantee 100% visibility. That is true to an extent.
A couple days ago I was finishing up a ride. I had my tail light on strobe so no problem there. I also had my headlight on strobe. I nearly had a head-on collision with a driver who claimed they couldn't see me. Maybe I should have had my headlight on a steady setting at the time, and/or maybe the driver was drunk and/or, maybe the driver really needed to clean their windshield, and/or maybe they needed their vision checked.
It is the endless battle between (seemingly)having enough bright lighting, and having too much. We want to be seen, without having to look like a rolling Christmas tree to do it.

Last edited by Chris0516; 11-26-16 at 03:22 PM.
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Old 11-26-16, 01:29 PM
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There are only a few types of accidents between a car an a bike, and the only one that is not almost completely avoidable by an experienced cyclist is getting hit from behind by a vehicle travelling in the same direction.
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Old 11-26-16, 02:28 PM
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I always use lights at night, and in daylight on public streets. I add to-be-seen lights to my helmet because bike mounted lights are often hidden from the view of any vehicles that aren't immediately adjacent. I want to be seen above the rooflines, particularly when turning against traffic, or when the bike lane design invites right hooks.

The only times I don't use lights in daylight are on deserted rural roads or the MUP. But I'm planning to add a much brighter daylight-visible red taillight for some rural rides where I pass somewhat busy or tricky intersections. Just to give drivers a little more notice.

But in daylight a hi-vis yellow or orange helmet, jersey or vest probably stands out as much as lights. Particularly on overcast days. Took while for me to appreciate this but I noticed it over the past year when I could see other cyclists and joggers from a long way off when they wore hi-vis clothing. So while I don't like the color, I recently added a hi-vis yellow windbreaker and long sleeve jersey, and plan to add a couple more. I already had a cycling rain jacket that's mostly bright blue but has hi-vis yellow sleeves, and I noticed it's very visible when I loaned it to another rider recently when the weather suddenly turned chilly. She was much more visible during that night ride. I'd already been carrying several snap-on springy reflective bands on my bike frame for my ankles and wrists, and every little thing helps.

Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Have you ever ridden behind someone with a blinking red tail light? It's annoying. Have you ever ridden past someone on a bike path with a blinking headlight? That's annoying too. I never use blinking lights because I think they are annoying. I won't ride with people who insist on using lights during the daytime and frequently pass other riders for the sole reason of getting in front of their annoying tail light. I don't use lights at all during the daytime because they are totally unnecessary.
Depends on the light design and placement. In dozens of nighttime group rides over the past year I've encountered only two red taillights I've found unnecessarily bright and annoying. I probably should speak with the owners because we see each other often. They probably don't realize their lights are much brighter than necessary for nighttime use, but would be appropriate for daytime. In fact one I saw last week was so annoying I found myself sprinting ahead of the guy to avoid being behind him, but we swapped positions several times and, yup, that intermittent superbright white/red strobe pop was way too much for nighttime use. He's a good guy and probably doesn't realize how bright it is, because he's not the kind of guy to deliberately annoy anyone.

But that's only two out of hundreds of other red taillights I've seen. Most simply enhance visibility but aren't distracting or annoying.

In headlights the main problem I see is aiming the lights directly ahead on the MUP. While that may not be a problem on ordinary streets in traffic, it's blinding at night when passing shoulder to shoulder on a sidewalk-width paved path, or slightly wider gravel/chat trail.

I always tip my headlight downward, using my front tire's shadow as a gauge for an angle that lights up the path well enough for me to see without blinding oncoming cyclists. I've gotten off my bike and walked around the front to be sure it's a reasonable compromise.

I've noticed my recently acquired Light & Motion headlight has a much broader coverage than my Serfas. The Serfas is partially shaded by the squared off shape of the barrel around the lens, so there isn't much spill. The L&M shotguns light into the trees and sky. It could use a lens hood over the top, like the optional hood for some Busch & Muller lights, to confine the beam to the road. I'm planning to cut an old black plastic 35mm film canister to fit as a hood.
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Old 11-26-16, 02:46 PM
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Bought all my lights for day safety. Found that they also work for night riding.
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Old 11-26-16, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Bought all my lights for day safety. Found that they also work for night riding.
this

I tend to run my bike lights solid and my helmet lights as blinkies where I believe they are needed - e.g. riding a highway shoulder or in town crossing lanes to make a left turn
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Old 11-26-16, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
...Depends on the light design and placement...
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think all blinking bike lights are annoying. I'm guessing I'm not the only one since they are illegal in Germany.

Here's the way I look at it. Randonneurs are some of the highest mileage riders around, and neither RUSA nor ACP require or even encourage lights during the daytime or blinking lights ever. They do have rules for nighttime riding (Article 10) that allow for a blinking tail light in addition to a steady one, but not a blinking headlight. A steady headlight and steady tail light are all that's required. In my experience, people don't run blinking tail lights because they are annoying to the riders behind them. I've also noticed that the RBAs in my club have recently become much more particular about reflective material rules and make riders buy one of the ANSI/ISEA 107 safety vests and/or ankle reflectors if the RBA decides that the rider doesn't have enough reflective material at the pre-ride safety check.

So the collective wisdom of tens of thousands of very high mileage randonneurs says that daytime lights and blinking lights are not necessary, and my own personal experience says that at least some people find all blinking lights to be annoying. Use whatever makes you feel safe. It's the other guy's problem if he thinks your lights are annoying.
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Old 11-26-16, 04:54 PM
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Here's the way I look at it. Randonneurs are some of the highest mileage riders around, and neither RUSA nor ACP require or even encourage lights during the daytime or blinking lights ever. They do have rules for nighttime riding (Article 10) that allow for a blinking tail light in addition to a steady one, but not a blinking headlight
The RUSA rule regarding flashing lights is in contradiction to ACP rules.

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Look at Article 8, in particular,
Les cycles doivent être munis d'un éclairage à l’avant et à l’arrière, suffisamment puissant pour être visible à 100 mètres devant et à 150 mètres derrière. Cet éclairage doit être solidement fixé et en permanence sur le cycle, même le jour, en constant état de fonctionnement. A l’arrière, la diode rouge en fonction clignotante est interdite.
The cycles must be furnished with front and rear lighting, sufficiently powerful to be visible 100 meter ahead and 150 meters behind. This lighting must be permanently and solidly attached to the cycle, even during the day, in a constant working state. At the rear, a red LED in blinking mode is forbidden
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Old 11-26-16, 05:17 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think all blinking bike lights are annoying. I'm guessing I'm not the only one since they are illegal in Germany.

Here's the way I look at it. Randonneurs are some of the highest mileage riders around, and neither RUSA nor ACP require or even encourage lights during the daytime or blinking lights ever. They do have rules for nighttime riding (Article 10) that allow for a blinking tail light in addition to a steady one, but not a blinking headlight. A steady headlight and steady tail light are all that's required. In my experience, people don't run blinking tail lights because they are annoying to the riders behind them. I've also noticed that the RBAs in my club have recently become much more particular about reflective material rules and make riders buy one of the ANSI/ISEA 107 safety vests and/or ankle reflectors if the RBA decides that the rider doesn't have enough reflective material at the pre-ride safety check.

So the collective wisdom of tens of thousands of very high mileage randonneurs says that daytime lights and blinking lights are not necessary, and my own personal experience says that at least some people find all blinking lights to be annoying. Use whatever makes you feel safe. It's the other guy's problem if he thinks your lights are annoying.
Are your high mileage Randonneurs doing their cycling in rush hour US of A... where there is lots of light pollution, and a tiny white headlight may not stand out at all from scores of other bright lights.

Or do Randonneurs tend to stick to long distance country routes that occasionally intersect large, busy cities?

I am only questioning you regarding this to simply suggest that lighting needs for cyclists in different areas, hours, and modes may vary dramatically. One size does not fit all.
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Old 11-26-16, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SBinNYC View Post
At the rear, a red LED in blinking mode is forbidden
That must be a PBP rule. Imagine how annoying it would be to have 5,200 flashing tail lights for 1,200 km.

The ACP Rules of Brevets Randonneurs Mondiaux from 200 km to 1000 km Article 6 allows for a blinking tail light in addition to a steady light, although I think they are quite rare in actual practice.

Originally Posted by genec View Post
Are your high mileage Randonneurs doing their cycling in rush hour US of A... where there is lots of light pollution, and a tiny white headlight may not stand out at all from scores of other bright lights.

Or do Randonneurs tend to stick to long distance country routes that occasionally intersect large, busy cities?
There are over 50 randonneurring clubs in the US. I'm not sure what all of their routes are, but I'm sure it's a mix. My guess would be that there is very little riding in urban big-city environments, but all of the controls are necessarily in cities or towns so there is quite a bit of smallish city traffic in my experience.

I have personally been riding in downtown Chicago rush-hour traffic for over 25 years. Only NYC, where I have also ridden, is more urban than that, and I still don't see a need for daytime or blinking lights.

Originally Posted by genec View Post
I am only questioning you regarding this to simply suggest that lighting needs for cyclists in different areas, hours, and modes may vary dramatically. One size does not fit all.
I never said that one size fits all. I realize that there are plenty of people who either don't know how to assess risk or don't mind annoying other people.
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Old 11-26-16, 05:48 PM
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I believe there are plenty of people who both don't know how to assess risk and don't mind (or even enjoy) annoying other people.
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Old 11-26-16, 06:52 PM
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I learned a long time ago when riding motorcycles that keeping your lights on in the daytime changes the way car drivers behave around you--because they see you better. I believe the same holds true for bicycles. If people don't use lights, that's their business, but what is the downside? None, as far as I can tell.
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Old 11-26-16, 07:02 PM
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Most states require motorcycles to run lights day and night. Many cars now come with 'always on' daytime running lights. Because they make it easier to see the vehicle. As a motorist, I know it's easier to see bikes with lights and I tend to be aware of them sooner.

They won't ensure everyone will see you. And in some situations they are of very limited value. But they help, so I use them.

If you choose not to, I don't much care.
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Old 11-26-16, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Cutawooda View Post
I've over-stayed my welcome on this subject with my immediate friends, family and fellow rider, but I'm still not satisfied with the answer because frankly, ...I haven't been given and answer.
OK, so having worn out your welcome elsewhere, you've come here for a fresh audience to wear out.

First of all, nobody owes you an answer for their personal decisions. However if pressed, they might simply say they don't see the case for using a light in daytime.

But, I'm sure that that won't satisfy you, just as helmet zealots can't understand why someone would go bare. Then there's mirrors, fenders, video recorders, and so on.

All sorts of things offer incremental improvement in safety, and each has fans and zealots, but that doesn't mean everyone has to be a fan.
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Old 11-26-16, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
We'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I think all blinking bike lights are annoying. I'm guessing I'm not the only one since they are illegal in Germany.
Not that I have any source to validate it, but I was told the same about Belgium and Netherlands when I was there, too. Did see blinky front lights during the day, though.
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Old 11-26-16, 07:16 PM
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I run a rear blinking white/red LED light mounted on the seat post. Recharges via USB port and last well over a month of riding. Most of my fellow road riders do not run any lighting and I don't say anything to them other than "good ride".
Even on my mtb, I use a low power red rear light so others can see which way I went if they are a bit too far behind. Works very well.
Lights, pedals, saddles and more are all subject to various opinions as to who is right/wrong, etc.
Let's talk about something we can agree on like politics or religion!
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Old 11-26-16, 07:50 PM
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SBinNYC
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The ACP Rules of Brevets Randonneurs Mondiaux from 200 km to 1000 km Article 6 allows for a blinking tail light in addition to a steady light, although I think they are quite rare in actual practice.
There's a slight difference in translation. The rule in French Site officiel de l'Audax Club Parisien - Reglement des BRM Monde is

L’éclairage arrière totalement clignotant est interdit., whereas their translation is: At least one of the rear lights must be in a steady (rather than flashing) mode.

The two are logically equivalent however, there's a difference in emphasis. The French can be as sloppy as we are in their adverb placement. They might have meant: L’éclairage arrière clignotant est totalement interdit. This would make the brevet rule equivalent to that of PBP.

It's been a very long time since I was involved with the ACP brevet rules. I'm not familiar with the history of this rule nor its translation. Also, my concern was with PBP.
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