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Safety devices for new riders

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Safety devices for new riders

Old 02-04-22, 10:22 PM
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SAScott
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Safety devices for new riders

I am getting back on a road bike for the first time in a long time. I would be interested in what safety devices are best on the road bikes.

Iím looking at wanting a tail light and head light combo that strobes so that cars CANíT miss seeing you.

Which is the best helmet is good to know.

Iíve also seen the bike radar that Cannondale/Garmin are making but am interested in what other options there might be.

Anything that improves safety and not being hit by cars! Thanks.
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Old 02-05-22, 04:57 AM
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There are a lot of very good products available. Trying to find "the best" by asking others is like getting into a poker game. Sure, you will get a lot of opinions, some of which might actually lead you to a product you really like. Looking for products that will make it so "cars CAN'T miss you" is an impossible goal. Unfortunately, distracted, unsafe drivers are a reality, and a bike rider must keep his visibility and awareness of what is going on around them at all times. Do not add a distracted cyclist to the mix. Never assume what others are going to do, be open minded and aware that anything can and does happen, be in a mental state where you can react with no conscious thought. Your safety starts, and is mainly with you.
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Old 02-05-22, 08:30 AM
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It's great that you plan to start riding again and also that you are concerned about safety. Although lighting (as well as clothing) is important for visibility, most important is learning to ride so that you are predictable to motorists and also to develop a level of road savviness that will allow you to anticipate the actions of other road users.

When I restarted riding after a long time off, it took me a while to develop the skill to ride in a straight line while looking over my shoulder, braking smoothly, etc.

Oh, one more thing: I've found that a helmet mounted mirror is great for monitoring traffic to the rear.
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Old 02-05-22, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by SAScott View Post
I am getting back on a road bike for the first time in a long time. I would be interested in what safety devices are best on the road bikes.

Iím looking at wanting a tail light and head light combo that strobes so that cars CANíT miss seeing you.

Which is the best helmet is good to know.

Iíve also seen the bike radar that Cannondale/Garmin are making but am interested in what other options there might be.

Anything that improves safety and not being hit by cars! Thanks.
Strobes on the back are fine. I used to ride to work before daylight every morning. I decided to add a strobe to my headlight to make sure oncoming traffic could see me. I rode with it for a few weeks and threw it in the trash. I think the strobe confused oncoming drivers and they actually swerved closer to me on dark 2 lane roads. A good bright rechargeable headlight is great, but I would really think about the strobe.
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Old 02-05-22, 08:49 AM
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Just my personal opinion. I have flashing head and tail lights. I only ride in daylight. I omit the head light when riding very low traffic back roads mainly because I have only one headlight that isn't randomly shut off by my Garmin computer. Always a high visibility vest or windbreaker. I like my Thousand brand helmet. I have a mirror on all my bikes. Can't use a helmet mirror because of near vision issues. I'm not interested in the radar units. That might change if silent Ecars become a regular thing.

I agree with Delbiker1. No guarantees when riding in proximity to cars. I ride defensively and obey all the traffic laws, prefer my back country gravel riding but accept that there is a risk every time I'm riding.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:14 AM
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Reflective yellow 3M tape does wonders. Having it on your shoes, helmet, crank arms, and handlebars will make you stand out like a sore thumb.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:25 AM
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Strobe Headlight for Day Safety.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Strobe Headlight for Day Safety.
How you doing 10 wheels? I just don't like strobes at night. I didn't think much about them during the day. Perhaps I should not have thrown mine away, but I am convinced it "drew" oncoming drivers toward me.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:47 AM
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I have a 150 lumen tail light. The flash is very visible in noon sunlight. I want to give drivers a "heads up" when they are still hundreds of yards behind me. And I ride with small groups -- two or more riders are more visible.

By far, the most useful safety device is my eyeglass mounted mirror. It's a Take a look. With just a small head movement, I can sweep the rear view from side to side. It's nice be able to manage left turn merges by waiting for gaps in traffic -- or just see that it's clear to go. And keep track of where the other riders are. I think flashing lights are most critical at dawn and dusk (and night of course) , but are very helpful all day.

The Garmin radar works amazingly well. I know a few riders that have it. It's often the first warning that a car is coming up behind, even when there's 3-5 cyclists with mirrors. And it has very few false alarms. I don't think it's tail light is bright enough, though.

~~~
But. Occasionally, drivers still do risky things like passing us with a short, steep hill just ahead, or a blind corner. If they just waited for 15 seconds they would be able to see far enough ahead. Why!

We have some great routes out in the country that have very few cars and interesting scenery. Early Covid riding got us way out there, with almost no traffic. Now, it's hard to go back to riding busier roads -- it's just annoying.
So -- finding excellent routes is a good safety thing, and a much better riding experience.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:56 AM
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A rear facing camera in plain sight seem to be pretty effective at having drivers patiently keep their distance.
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Old 02-06-22, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Inusuit View Post
Just my personal opinion. I have flashing head and tail lights. I only ride in daylight. I omit the head light when riding very low traffic back roads mainly because I have only one headlight that isn't randomly shut off by my Garmin computer. Always a high visibility vest or windbreaker. I like my Thousand brand helmet. I have a mirror on all my bikes. Can't use a helmet mirror because of near vision issues. I'm not interested in the radar units. That might change if silent Ecars become a regular thing.

I agree with Delbiker1. No guarantees when riding in proximity to cars. I ride defensively and obey all the traffic laws, prefer my back country gravel riding but accept that there is a risk every time I'm riding.
Mirror
Eyes don't focus on the mirror itself, it just redirects the light from the distant object. The same focus as looking at the scene directly. So if you can get the mirror positioned where you can see the reflection, it should work. The ability of a helmet or glasses mounted mirror to sweep through a wide angle is very useful.

It's interesting that I "tune out" the mirror sitting at the edge of my field of view until I want to look back.

Silent cars
I'm often surprised by cars passing when I'm riding solo. I have to lift my head a bit to use the mirror, so I have to decide to check the rear view instead of having it working 100% of the time. And my attention is up the road, anyway. But maybe 20-40% of the cars are too quiet to hear in advance. Wind noise is loud enough to mask the tire and engine noise. Rough roads help me hear the tires!

I got in the habit of checking the rear view whenever a car is approaching from the front on the quiet country roads. I'm looking for any car behind that might reach me while the oncoming car is passing. I'll move out into the middle of the lane while the rear car is way back, to make sure they slow down enough.

I do that same "move out toward the center line" on curvy climbs with short sight lines. I'm sitting out near the middle so cars get an early view of me -- with the blinker -- and I can move toward the edge of the road if a car appears behind me.

Last edited by rm -rf; 02-06-22 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 02-06-22, 09:04 AM
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I also notice that a lot of people dress in black or very dark clothes. That goes for pedestrians as well.

If you want to be visible, dress in bright clothes with reflectors.

Last edited by Daniel4; 02-06-22 at 09:48 AM.
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Old 02-06-22, 09:28 AM
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Responses so far break into two main camps. The first is: such and such strobe or such and such Hi-Viz vest will make you more visible; and the second is: ride predictably, be situation aware and your safety largely rests with you. I see no reason not to enjoy the best of both camps. But if I had to pick one, it would definitely be the latter: even with ZERO safety equipment, a savvy cyclist can ride in the worst of car congested, urban blight without much beyond the occasional, "wtf?", that you can get anywhere and anytime two anythings meet each other on the road. If cycling amongst the heathen fills you with dread and you think that that will change by buying a 150lm rear flasher ... think again.

Rear flashers are cheap enough that I usually have one, but one by Planet Bike had a nasty habit of shutting off mid-ride such that I arrived home to find out I had no flasher going for who knows how many miles.
I couldn't argue about the fact that I had, in fact, arrived home without incident. I can see, very well, how flashers and strobes and Hi-Viz make other cyclists more visible. But drivers hit first responder vehicles in full First Encounters of the Third Kind mode! Half of all cyclist deaths do not even involve being hit!! Do not overlook the fact that you, the cyclist, can be the one that hits a fixed, or moving object, for any number of reasons. America has an entrenched car superiority culture. A cyclist that goes too far out of their way to ensure their safety might just end up triggering an uber entitled cager rager into a confrontation that the cyclist can't help but lose. I just ride with awareness and respect. It has served me well for decades.
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Old 02-06-22, 09:49 AM
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love the garmin radar its is a mirror for my ears. it is great not having to look in the mirror as much and its fantastic hone I need to turn left when the radar says clear I look in the mirror and then move over. saved my life once I was all the way to the left in a lane getting close to turn turn left with a line of cars behind me when a idiot doing 60 passed everyone in the opposite lane I think the gamins sound made me hesitate.
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Old 02-06-22, 10:54 AM
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Try a pool noodle.

https://media.blogto.com/articles/20...300&quality=70
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Old 02-06-22, 08:25 PM
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Has anyone tried these?

Good for signaling turns at night, and hopefully increasing our "width"
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Old 02-07-22, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by SAScott View Post
I am getting back on a road bike for the first time in a long time. I would be interested in what safety devices are best on the road bikes.

Iím looking at wanting a tail light and head light combo that strobes so that cars CANíT miss seeing you.
trying to ask for "best" is going to get many varied responses simply because people have different preferences and ride in different environments. What works well for me may not be the same for someone else.

That said, here are my thoughts.

Your goal is to be noticed. People see what they look for, and car drivers notoriously tend to only see other cars. Thus you want to stand out from the background. Bright colored clothing & helmet is one way. Lighting is another. There've been studies showing that flashing lights get more notice; while I can't find the one which had to do with motorcycle headlight modulators, I did find this article as to a company's findings in putting flashing lights on the back of tanker trailers - something you'd think people would already notice.

Personally I use front/rear flashing lights during daytime riding, plus a bar-end mirror and also a Garmin Varia radar. I chose the Trek/Bontrager ION 200 / Flare RT combo largely because my Trek Domane has an integrated seat post light mount for the rear light and a low profile handlebar/stem mount for the front. You might find you prefer other lights. If I were to ride roads at night (I don't) I'd use my NiteRider Lumina Micro 900.

The radar is nice in that it actively alerts me to cars - often before I can see or hear them - and it's good at showing when there's more than one car behind me.

Which is the best helmet is good to know.
The best helmet is the one you wear. Different brands/models fit different head shapes. Best to go try on a variety of helmets in person. I'd suggest getting a MIPS rated helmet at the minimum. Beyond that, higher prices tend to give lighter weight / better ventilation.
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Old 02-07-22, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by making View Post
How you doing 10 wheels? I just don't like strobes at night. I didn't think much about them during the day. Perhaps I should not have thrown mine away, but I am convinced it "drew" oncoming drivers toward me.
Yeah, I wouldn't use strobe at night in dark environs - i.e. in a rural or suburban area without streetlights. They do seem to work well in daylight, particularly in mixed sun/shade.
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Old 02-08-22, 04:50 AM
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I would use strobe lights day and night. At night I am not staring at them so they don't bother me and will get me noticed as a bicycle quicker by vehicles.
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Old 02-10-22, 10:04 AM
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get yourself a "Take a LooK" mirror ... cheap and the best way to watch your ___ (rhymes with pass)
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Old 02-10-22, 10:45 AM
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My combo for see, and be seen, safety: A helmet with Hi-Vis on it all around. The rear of most of the jersey/jackets I buy have a Hi-Vis panel next to a black panel to create an area of high contrast that's visible from far away. I prefer to use steady lights and not strobes (front and back), since I've heard that motorists can become fixated on a blinking light and actually drive towards it, rather than away. And a Take A Look helmet mounted mirror. If commuting in the dark, I also put a helmet mounted headlight on for directional lighting on the road in front, and for the ability to point it directly at a motorist coming from the side, where they may not see a front facing headlight.

Last edited by Riveting; 02-10-22 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 02-11-22, 01:46 PM
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Be predictable and confident. Whether its a cyclist or a motorist, the most annoying and therefore dangerous to me are the ones that are timid and do unpredictable things.

Nothing you do is going to protect you from the one stupid person or irate with road rage out of all the good motorists or cyclists that comes up behind you suddenly. By the time you recognize them as that person intent to do you harm, it'll be too late to avoid them.
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Old 02-11-22, 02:15 PM
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Most bicycle lighting systems have either strobe or solid on options. Strobe during the day, solid on at night.
I use a Garmin Varia radar system. They make 2 models, one with the light, one without. I already have two rear facing red strobes (one on the seatpost, one helmet mounted) so I opted for the non-light unit. Be aware that battery life on the non-lighted radar is less. That being said, I would not ride without it. On several occasions, I have been warned of oncoming vehicles before I could hear them, or pick them up in my helmet mounted rear view mirror. The only 'false alarm' you may get is if you are riding a secondary road that runs next to a highway. It will sometimes detect the cars in the right highway lane.
Don't cheap out on your helmet choice. Read the reviews and ratings of various models and get the best you can afford. Even the most expensive helmet is cheaper than the consequences of not wearing one should you crash.
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Old 02-11-22, 02:53 PM
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I'm going to gratuitously throw in my two cents on a common newbie safety mistake. If you ride both on paths and roads, always keep in mind that the lighting that works for one may not work for the other. That bright strobe that makes you visible on the road actually makes you very hard to see in the close quarters of a bike path. We'll know you're there, but we might not be able to tell where because of the excess brightness.

Have fun and stay safe!
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