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"Turn your ********** light off!"

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"Turn your ********** light off!"

Old 09-18-14, 07:59 AM
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scroca
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"Turn your ********** light off!"

I was yelled at today on the morning commute. I'd switched my light from steady to flashing since I could see well enough but it was still twilight. My main objective is to not be run over.

So as a car passes me (we're going the same way) the woman driving yells something at me that, as usual, I only heard part of. Then she lays on her horn, for emphasis, I suppose.

I asked my friend who was riding with me what the lady said, but she heard less than me. So I chalked it up to one of those usual times when I wouldn't know what was yelled and there would be no chance for any dialogue.

Except, when we turned left to cut through a parking lot, there from the right, stopped at a red light, was the same woman. She yelled again. So I stopped and yelled back across the lanes of traffic, "I didn't hear what you said". She proceeded to tell me that my "strobe" light was distracting and that it could trigger an epileptic seizure. My light flashes, it's not a strobe, but that's neither hear nor there and wasn't worth bringing up. I think the seizure thing is an old wives tale, and discounted that. Obviously I got her attention with my flashing light. Mission accomplished.

So I told her that I have it flashing so nobody will run me over. That made her mad, I suppose because I wasn't going to do as she instructed. She told me, "Turn the #@!*& strobe off or you'll get run over on purpose." This as she drove off.

I think she crossed the line there into or very close to criminal with her threat and intimidation. And I have no intention of altering my procedures because one if 10,000 drivers has an issue.

Now that I am at work, I looked up the flashing light/seizure thing on Wikipedia and find that there is something called Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE), which is a form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli that form patterns in time or space, such as flashing lights, bold, regular patterns, or regular moving patterns.

Sorry if you have PSE but I'm still using my flashing light.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:09 AM
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I was going to say that PSE is a real thing, we have to keep it in mind with regard to web accessibility (some old-style animated GIF images could trigger PSE but they are rarely used anymore).

I must admit, that the other day, I saw an oncoming cyclist (proper lane, not salmoning) with an extremely bright flashing front light. I felt that it was too bright but I certainly wouldn't take the same route your driver suggested.

I wonder if my new light also is too bright and so I point the light downwards a bit, pointing about 6m/yd in front of me. It will still be bright but not directly shining in anyone's eyes or directly into a side- or rear-view mirror (I can't do anything about the beam when cresting a hill but that should be only momentary).
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Old 09-18-14, 08:10 AM
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I wouldn't spend too much time analyzing this. It sounds like you simply had an encounter with an insane person (whose motor vehicle is a much greater safety threat than your blinking light).
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Old 09-18-14, 08:11 AM
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StVZO makes sense.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:15 AM
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Maybe get a dimmer light for flashing and keep your regular headlight on bright, then everyone is happy.

For a different perspective, we use flashing headlights on the sufferance of motorists and law enforcement since it's technically illegal in most places. If it's a problem for some people we're probably better served to address the problem and compromise than to insist on the bright flashers.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:22 AM
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Mark Stone
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Originally Posted by Spider View Post
I wouldn't spend too much time analyzing this. It sounds like you simply had an encounter with an insane person (whose motor vehicle is a much greater safety threat than your blinking light).
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Old 09-18-14, 08:25 AM
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They are always complaining about equality anyway.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
Maybe get a dimmer light for flashing and keep your regular headlight on bright, then everyone is happy.

For a different perspective, we use flashing headlights on the sufferance of motorists and law enforcement since it's technically illegal in most places. If it's a problem for some people we're probably better served to address the problem and compromise than to insist on the bright flashers.
The PSE article doesn't really say that it has anything to do with the brightness of the light specifically. Just the contrast. In my case the contrast will not be great because in that case I will have the light on constant beam for my visibility.

But if you can come up with an alternative solution that keeps me alive I'm all for it. However, I can tell you that just days ago I had to slam on my brakes and almost slid into the side of a pickup truck that started to roll through a stop sign and then suddenly stopped right in my way once they saw me. My flashing light was on so maybe it's not bright enough!

I have been passed by countless thousands of motorists over the years. Only one has had this issue. It's a her problem, not a me problem and I can't fix that for her.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:31 AM
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Say, "Thank you for seeing me" Don't all emergency vehicles have flashing lights? In MA, a verbal threat is considered assault.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:31 AM
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I would think it has to be a pretty fast strobe before seizures are a risk, but I don't really know.

For me, I don't like the strobe either. I never use the blink mode on my own headlight as I find it annoying in my own eyes. I'm not bothered by others using it, but that's because it isn't persistent in my eyes. I do use blink on my tail light though.

Maybe aim it down a bit if it isn't already.

Oh, and you should have gotten her license plate number. That was a threat and could be reported if you wanted to go to the trouble.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:31 AM
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German made LED Dyno powered headlight lights the road fine ..

You dont need the strobe .. Your battery just need recharging a bit earlier.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:31 AM
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I would have pointed out that it got her attention, just as it was designed to do.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:32 AM
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What type of light is it? There's a guy I sometimes pass who has a way ridiculous strobe that annoys the hell out of me. I'd never say anything about it though; I just look to the side and grimace.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Hairy Legs View Post
What type of light is it?
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Old 09-18-14, 08:36 AM
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It isn't like you can rationalize with a crazy driver but if you weigh the odds of you crossing paths with someone with PSE and invoking a seizure vs you getting hit by a car - I think you are more likely to get hit by a car.

I mean you are supposed to not cause any sort of objection to anyone ever at the risk of your own safety? Odd. I use and will continue to use a flashing light in low light conditions as a steady bean is not very noticeable at dusk / twilight.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
StVZO makes sense.
StVZO is a little over-the-top, but I do think blinking lights are super annoying, even when I'm on a bike. Incidentally, the lights that are permitted under StVZO don't have a setting for blinking. All lights stay on when switched on so that other traffic participants can judge distances well, something that is harder with a blinking light.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bhchdh View Post
I would have pointed out that it got her attention, just as it was designed to do.
If she gave me more time I would have. I started to, but that's when she went bananas.

I also would have pointed out that she should get her tail light fixed and stop yelling out the car window at strangers.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:38 AM
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you could go into politics ..
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Old 09-18-14, 08:40 AM
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Just wave and smile back at them. People who are confrontational hate when you're nice back at them. Plus why should you get your blood pressure up when your lights were doing their job making drivers aware of your presence. Don't worry about this encounter. You'll have another one soon and will forget it.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:41 AM
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I only use my 350 Lumen, handlebar mounted light as a flasher during daylight hours. For twilight / dawn I use the Cateye Opticube light which is attached to my helmet in flash mode, just to get drivers' attention. I doubt the Opticube puts out more than 75 Lumens so it's not blinding when I shine it through the windows of cars that are turning onto the street that I'm riding on. It seems to work. Just this morning, someone who was turning out of a driveway actually backed up when they saw the flasher.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
Now that I am at work, I looked up the flashing light/seizure thing on Wikipedia and find that there is something called Photosensitive epilepsy (PSE), which is a form of epilepsy in which seizures are triggered by visual stimuli that form patterns in time or space, such as flashing lights, bold, regular patterns, or regular moving patterns.

Sorry if you have PSE but I'm still using my flashing light.
People who have a history of seizures are not allowed to drive. Here in TX, for example, one must be seizure-free for 6 months to be able drive. (I have an epileptic friend and he's had is license suspended several times for medical reasons.)
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-18-14, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by jsjcat View Post
Just wave and smile back at them.
It also helps to say, "I love you!"
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-18-14, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by jrickards View Post
I point the light downwards a bit, pointing about 6m/yd in front of me. It will still be bright but not directly shining in anyone's eyes or directly into a side- or rear-view mirror (I can't do anything about the beam when cresting a hill but that should be only momentary).
That's the best course of action.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-18-14, 08:46 AM
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Tell her when all drivers stop texting, calling, eating, putting on makeup, reading the newspaper, etc., you'll consider turning it off.
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Old 09-18-14, 08:47 AM
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Originally Posted by scroca View Post
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That's a very bright light. Try leaving it on one of the the steady modes. Cars will still see you, and it will be much less annoying.
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