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safety concerns with helmet mounted lights?

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safety concerns with helmet mounted lights?

Old 08-06-11, 09:29 PM
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powitte
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safety concerns with helmet mounted lights?

I know many believe that having a smooth contour on a helmet makes it safer (which is why design trends are moving in that direction). But, I ride in a dense urban area, and often my handlebar-mounted flasher cannot be seen if it's blocked by another car I'm riding next to.

I'm considering a helmet-mounted flasher to get better visibility from cars, but I'm wondering if anyone has thought through the potential risk of having a light and battery pack on my helmet.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-06-11, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by powitte View Post
I know many believe that having a smooth contour on a helmet makes it safer (which is why design trends are moving in that direction). But, I ride in a dense urban area, and often my handlebar-mounted flasher cannot be seen if it's blocked by another car I'm riding next to.

I'm considering a helmet-mounted flasher to get better visibility from cars, but I'm wondering if anyone has thought through the potential risk of having a light and battery pack on my helmet.

Any thoughts?
I 'take the lane', but that is beside the point.

I have this tail light: http://hudsontrail.com/viewItem/10/515/13134/; on the back of my bike, on the seat post.

I have this tail light: http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3034.html on my back, affixed to the strap from my hippack: http://hudsontrail.com/viewItem/19/159/1719/

I have this light: http://ecom1.planetbike.com/3010.html attached to my bike helmet.

The only thing I don't like about the helmet light is, that it swivels. It does have a clip on the back of it, but I haven't figured out, how to keep the light's base secure with the velcrove strap while keeping the light stable at the same time. So, While I have the base of the light secure, I just let the light swivel.

Last edited by Chris516; 08-06-11 at 10:44 PM. Reason: More detail on the helmet light that I forgot when I first replied.
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Old 08-06-11, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by powitte View Post

I'm considering a helmet-mounted flasher to get better visibility from cars, but I'm wondering if anyone has thought through the potential risk of having a light and battery pack on my helmet.

Any thoughts?
Even if this made your helmet slightly less effective, being seen by cars in traffic at night is *vastly* more important. A helmet won't help if you get hit by a car at speed; additional lighting can prevent this from happening at all.

If you were driving in your car at night and you discovered that your car lights made your seatbelt 10% less effective, would you drive without lights? Or just with the parking lights on?
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Old 08-06-11, 10:48 PM
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I have a concern if the light mount isn't made to break away. My front helmet light has a breakaway mount that works well.
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Old 08-06-11, 11:02 PM
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The PB superflash on the back of my helmet, held by a single thin plastic clip, would I'm fairly sure, break of during impact. As was said by alheges, being seen could lessen the chance of a bicycle/auto incident, which is my primary objective.
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Old 08-07-11, 01:00 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have a concern if the light mount isn't made to break away. My front helmet light has a breakaway mount that works well.
Front helmet light? Can you show a picture of it?
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Old 08-07-11, 02:17 AM
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It probably makes the helmet somewhat less effective, but as was noted, avoiding an accident in the first place is vastly more important. I think mounting lights is actually one of their best uses. I'd also recommend a setup that would break off with any force, if possible. I wouldn't sweat it too much if not, though. If you feel you gain fairly significant visibility, avoiding the car crash is much more important; the helmet won't help you much in that situation, and it's the most common cause of death.
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Old 08-07-11, 03:05 AM
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On the front of my helmet I've a Princeton Tec EOS which is very light and held in place with a strong velcroed strap that would IMO not break away, but it is really a small profile, I'm not worried about it at all. I don't think I'd like a larger/more powerful light on my helmet requiring a battery pack, but only due to that I believe its weight would be a problem after a short period of time.
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Old 08-07-11, 03:43 AM
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I've got one of these: http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colem...id=1116&brand= slipped onto the helmet strap from a cheap Bell light. It's not technically breakaway, but I'm betting the little tabs that hold the light to the strap would fail with any real impact.

Now that I've gotten used to it, I wouldn't ride at night without some sort of helmet light. It's handy when something outside of the headlight beam catches my attention, and it's right where I need it if I have to get off the bike to make a repair or just to take a break. Also, with it up front and the Sette Glo on the back, I can do a pretty good job of enhancing my visibility to cars by simply moving my head a bit.

Last edited by KD5NRH; 08-07-11 at 03:47 AM.
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Old 08-07-11, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Northwestrider View Post
On the front of my helmet I've a Princeton Tec EOS which is very light and held in place with a strong velcroed strap that would IMO not break away, but it is really a small profile, I'm not worried about it at all.
That is the light I have, and it isn't the velcro that breaks, it's the plastic clip on the light that holds it to the mount on the helmet. I have tested this, and it works well. I am not sure how hard it is to replace that part since the "test" was during a snowstorm and I couldn't find the light. I wouldn't want something as large as an eos to be rigidly attached to a helmet because it would almost surely crush it.

As far as rear lights attached to helmets, I have never seen one that provides anything more than very intermittent flashes of light. I don't see the point, and would never rely on a helmet or bag mounted light as a primary rear light.
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Old 08-07-11, 11:38 AM
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This is what I had in mind. Feedback?

http://www.niterider.com/rechargeabl...-usb-plus-new/
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Old 08-07-11, 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
As far as rear lights attached to helmets, I have never seen one that provides anything more than very intermittent flashes of light. I don't see the point, and would never rely on a helmet or bag mounted light as a primary rear light.
Mine has two settings, solid and flashing. I leave it on the flashing setting.

I also use a flashing light on my back and, the rear light on the seat post is set to flashing.
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Old 08-07-11, 12:29 PM
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I ride with AyUps on my helmet.. http://www.ayup-lights.com/
I also have a little blinky on the back.. plus a superflash on my saddle..
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Old 08-07-11, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by powitte View Post
I ride in a dense urban area, and often my handlebar-mounted flasher cannot be seen if it's blocked by another car I'm riding next to.
Your handlebar-mounted light is being blocked by cars from whose vision? How will raising the light provide other drivers any better visibility of you in traffic?
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Old 08-07-11, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Your handlebar-mounted light is being blocked by cars from whose vision? How will raising the light provide other drivers any better visibility of you in traffic?
Most common example is going straight through an intersection where a car going the opposite direction is trying to turn left. The car blocks your light, and if the cyclist can't keep up with the car to use as a 'shield,' the car could turn immediately after the car passes and plow right into the bike without ever seeing them.

A helmet-mounted light would keep the cyclist visible above almost all vehicles in that situation.
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Old 08-07-11, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Your handlebar-mounted light is being blocked by cars from whose vision? How will raising the light provide other drivers any better visibility of you in traffic?
I like having a helmet headlight so side traffic trying to pull onto my street has a better chance of seeing me over/through a line of parked cars.

Regarding the safety concern, if I understand correctly, the OP is concerned about the light snagging on something and twisting the helmet around, causing neck injury. I don't see that as a big concern because:

1. light mounts (and lights) are plastic and not likely to hold up to the force that would be required to break your neck.

2. light-mount straps are generally not sturdy enough to hold up to those forces either, although I've seen a few that are using strong webbing and stitching.


Regarding the MiNewt, you could also consider an S-Mini, a couple 18650 cells and a charger. I fasten my S-mini to my helmet with a rubber band when I use it as a helmet light, so there's an easy breakaway mount if you want one.
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Old 08-07-11, 04:59 PM
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Originally Posted by powitte View Post
Most common example is going straight through an intersection where a car going the opposite direction is trying to turn left. The car blocks your light, and if the cyclist can't keep up with the car to use as a 'shield,' the car could turn immediately after the car passes and plow right into the bike without ever seeing them.
Given the scenario described, any careful/experienced cyclist would/should be prepared for (and in fact expect) that the waiting motorist will make that left, regardless of the position of the bicyclist's head light. Same caution would appliy to being prepared to react to side traffic trying to pull onto the street during hours of darkness. The extra safety margin from a high mount head light is IMO insignificant when measured up to risk reduction from defensive cycling habits in these scenarios.

A high mounted rear light is an altogether different scenario and the higher the better. The cyclist can do little by defensive cycling to protect himself from a motorist especially at higher speeds who who can't see his lights from the rear due to traffic.
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Old 08-07-11, 08:02 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Given the scenario described, any careful/experienced cyclist would/should be prepared for (and in fact expect) that the waiting motorist will make that left, regardless of the position of the bicyclist's head light. Same caution would appliy to being prepared to react to side traffic trying to pull onto the street during hours of darkness. The extra safety margin from a high mount head light is IMO insignificant when measured up to risk reduction from defensive cycling habits in these scenarios.

A high mounted rear light is an altogether different scenario and the higher the better. The cyclist can do little by defensive cycling to protect himself from a motorist especially at higher speeds who who can't see his lights from the rear due to traffic.
I don't disagree with your point, but I don't make a decision to drop one safety measure because something qualitatively different is comparably more effective.

Of course, there is no substitute for defensive riding habits.
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Old 08-07-11, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
Mine has two settings, solid and flashing. I leave it on the flashing setting.

I also use a flashing light on my back and, the rear light on the seat post is set to flashing.
my point was the direction the lights are pointed. I see this a lot with randonneurs; rear lights on a helmet and rear-facing lights on bags that blind you occasionally, but are otherwise pretty much invisible
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Old 08-07-11, 11:15 PM
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I once got blinded while walking by some guy riding on the sidewalk with bright helmet mounted light. He got upset because I didn't move out of his way. Not that I could see him or anything else after he scorched my retinas.
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