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Why use taillight in day time?

Old 10-19-15, 09:42 PM
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vol
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Why use taillight in day time?

I still don't understand why some of you think it's so important to use tailight (and some also using headlight) in bright day time, like it's better than hi-viz clothing. Is a small flashing taillight really more noticeable by drivers than large sized hi-viz clothing/bag? Any drivers can share opinions?
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Old 10-19-15, 11:01 PM
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Lights are especially valuable early in the morning and late in the afternoon when the sun is low. Drivers looking thru a dirty windshield into the sun really can't see cyclists very well. And if a rider is in a shadow or under a bridge, as a driver moves from bright light into a darker area their eyes do not adapt quickly enough to the lower levels of light and it is easy to not see a rider.

Last year I was stopped at a light on a road heading west about 30 min before sunset. A driver pulled up beside me and told me he was able to see my flashing taillight despite the sun straight ahead. I have a Cygolite Hotshot, btw.

I'm probably going to add a white flasher on the front. I've had several instances of drivers turning left in front of me or pulling out of a driveway on my right. No crazy close calls yet, and I don't know for sure that it was because they didn't see me, but it can't hurt. The flashing itself helps attract a driver's attention in my experience, because it is out of the ordinary. If my flashing light catches the attention of a driver glancing up from his smartphone, hopefully that makes me safer.
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Old 10-19-15, 11:24 PM
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I use a Cygolite Pacer 800 front on flash during the day and even in bright sunshine the reflection off road signs is noticeable. In the rear I use the hotshot along with a bright vest with a flashing cheap red led to attract attention.

I hope to attract as much attention as possible riding in bike lanes on high speed 4 to 8 lane feeder rods designed to get traffic to the Interstate quickly.

I have noticed drivers giving me more room and actually yielding to me where appropriate verses not using the equipment and not being treated the same. Of course this is by no means scientific, but in my experience it seems to help.

Still keep an eye out for drivers making lefts at intersections or to smaller streets. They can't be trusted to yield.
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Old 10-19-15, 11:37 PM
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I think tail lights help at times in bright sunshine if there are any shady areas. When a driver first goes into a shady area (tunnel, under some trees, etc.), their eyes might not pick out the form of a cyclist readily, but a flashing light will help alert them that there's something ahead.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 10-19-15, 11:44 PM
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This, among other scenarios:
"...I was stopped at a light on a road heading west about 30 min before sunset. A driver pulled up beside me and told me he was able to see my flashing taillight despite the sun straight ahead."
Often the only opportunity I get to ride, either for errands or pleasure, is early morning or late afternoon. My rides usually head straight eastward in the morning or westward in late afternoon. The flashing white front and red tail lights on the bike gives drivers a little more help in noticing me amid the usual traffic and glare from the sun.

I also wear flashers on my hat band or helmet. Turning my head alters the intensity, which drivers seem to notice. Several times I've seen drivers preparing to enter the road from parking lots, looking both ways for a clearing, then noticing my flashing lights and pausing.

Thirty-something years ago when I cycle commuted daily there were few options for effective lights. The lightweight lights that were available weren't noticeable in daylight. I lost track of the number of times vehicles pulled out in front of me from parking lots, crossed my path at intersections even when I had right of way, or right hooked me. Wearing bright colored cycling clothing didn't seem to help at all, and I don't bother any more with dedicated cycling clothing or dayglo vests. My bike is already dayglo red/orange. Maybe that helps a little.

Since resuming cycling a few weeks ago and using bright LED flashers, I've had only one minor encounter, an impatient driver who honked at me from behind. But I can see drivers suddenly notice me and get an eyelock at complex starfish intersections, parking lots and intersections.

I'm using a combination of flashers on the bike and on my headgear:
  • A Vivo-Bike Illuminati on the handlebar, on flasher in early morning/late afternoon; and on steady at night.
  • Whatever red light came with the Illuminati, on the rear rack or trunk bag - usually in fast flash mode.
  • An older Energizer red flashing LED on the back of my hat band or helmet.
  • A Blackburn 2'Fer in white flashing mode on the front of my hat band or helmet.

These can all be attached/detached easily via clips or elastic bands. But I'm convinced enough of the effectiveness of flashers to consider adding some bolt-on lights to the bike, although this might make it tougher to recharge USB rechargeables unless I use a detachable battery pack.
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Old 10-20-15, 09:15 AM
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Because low sun, and because cell phones. With the distraction level I see in drivers these days, if you want to live you have to practically punch them in the face to get their attention. I figure I've got 1 second every 5 when they're actually looking at the road, and during that 5 seconds they'll travel 200 to 300 feet. I need to not just be visible, but DEMAND the attention of someone who's glancing at the road for one second.

It works. I get treated differently when running high powered taillights in the daytime than with just hi vis clothing (which I also always wear)
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Old 10-20-15, 09:18 AM
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Here's the sort of thing that happened to me at least once a year before I started running front daylight flashers, and has not in the 2 years since.

(warning, airzound)

https://youtu.be/UOwv_IXZdIk

https://youtu.be/-hiZgxpWNlQ
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Old 10-20-15, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by vol
I still don't understand why some of you think it's so important to use tailight (and some also using headlight) in bright day time, like it's better than hi-viz clothing. Is a small flashing taillight really more noticeable by drivers than large sized hi-viz clothing/bag? Any drivers can share opinions?
There are plenty of lights that are VERY visible in daylight hours.

I also wonder why people bother to run cheap, dim lights in daylight hours. That's just pointless. But I have been told by a number of people that they can see my flashing headlight (Cygolite Expilion 700), and taillights (dual Cygolite Hotshots), from as much as a mile away even during daylight hours. That's going to alert motorists of my presence far earlier than high-vis stuff will.
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Old 10-20-15, 09:25 AM
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Most drivers passing by only have 3-6 Seconds to see you on your bike.

The Bright Strobe Lights work Good to attract the drivers attention.
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Old 10-20-15, 10:13 AM
  #10  
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I recently had a woman in a car pull alongside me while I was waiting at a red light and told me my flashing headlight made it much easier for her to see me when she was stopped at a corner I had just passed.

That's all I needed to hear; I will never ride without blinkies again...
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Old 10-20-15, 10:18 AM
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I ride with both hi-viz and blinking front and rear lights. Not sure which is more effective during the day, but not much of an investment to do both.
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Old 10-20-15, 10:23 AM
  #12  
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I see, I agree in shady areas lights are very useful, more than hi-viz. I think it makes sense if much part of your ride is in such areas, or it's overcast. The dilemma for me is, since I rarely pass dark/shady areas during day time, if I have a taillight on all the time, by the time I pass such an area, much battery charge has been wasted before the moment it's really needed, by which time the light may not be as bright as it needs to be.

Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
My God, you almost got your second life! Definitely need a intense headlight with long beam in that case.
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Old 10-20-15, 10:49 AM
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The other day while driving, I saw a guy several blocks ahead of me with a really bright flashing taillight. I'm sure I would have seen him anyway, but the more awareness the better. I use my headlight on low on the MUPs during the day for oncoming bike traffic. It helps to keep them off my side, especially where there are shaded areas and in the evening.
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Old 10-20-15, 10:52 AM
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If you ever take the lane in front of high speed traffic like I sometimes do, you'd quickly see the benefit of a bright, flashing taillight. The sooner the drivers see me, the sooner they prepare to change lanes.* This gives the tailgater behind them more time to see me and prepare.

*or slow to my speed.

Daytime front lights are for mitigating risk form crossing traffic, and in my experience, also work well. Especially when combined with a more assertive lane position.

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Old 10-20-15, 11:26 AM
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I run a flashing tail light in the day. I think that it helps traffic to see me sooner. It doesn't cost anything so why not do it?
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Old 10-20-15, 11:26 AM
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So my guess is, one of the reasons lights are some times more effective than hi-viz clothing in day time is that, drivers on the road are more used to watching for lights from other cars than watching for possible cyclists in hi-viz?
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Old 10-20-15, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by vol
I see, I agree in shady areas lights are very useful, more than hi-viz. I think it makes sense if much part of your ride is in such areas, or it's overcast. The dilemma for me is, since I rarely pass dark/shady areas during day time, if I have a taillight on all the time, by the time I pass such an area, much battery charge has been wasted before the moment it's really needed, by which time the light may not be as bright as it needs to be.



My God, you almost got your second life! Definitely need a intense headlight with long beam in that case.
In my experience, flashing taillights, even bright ones, do not use much battery power. During summer months when all my rides/commutes are in daylight, my Hotshot lights can last for 2 weeks or more, easily. In winter when most of both commutes is in dark or low light conditions, running one light steady and one on slow pulse mode, I can still get a week on a charge.

Battery charge has never been an issue for me to run my lights at all times, 24/7.
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Old 10-20-15, 11:34 AM
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I use it to increase my chances of being seen in a direction that I don't give constant attention to. It's on when I am on the bike path as well as the small times I am on the road. When I AM on the road a flashing front light is also on. I want to increase my chances of being noticed with a reasonable effort.
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Old 10-20-15, 11:44 AM
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Originally Posted by vol
So my guess is, one of the reasons lights are some times more effective than hi-viz clothing in day time is that, drivers on the road are more used to watching for lights from other cars than watching for possible cyclists in hi-viz?
This.
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Old 10-20-15, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by vol
The dilemma for me is, since I rarely pass dark/shady areas during day time, if I have a taillight on all the time, by the time I pass such an area, much battery charge has been wasted before the moment it's really needed, by which time the light may not be as bright as it needs to be.
If battery life is a problem, you don't have a good light, or its battery is worn out. I ride about 150 miles per week, I run my Cygolite Hotshot taillight on flash all the time, I don't bother to shut it off during our club ride coffee breaks, yet I have to recharge it only once every couple of months.
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Old 10-20-15, 12:10 PM
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What drivers are, and are not, used to seeing is often tossed out as a reason cyclists are missed. I dont buy it. Drivers are used to seeing other cars yet they smash into them all the time.

Drivers are not used to seeing UFOs, yet if one landed in front of them you can bet your cycle shorts theyd likely see it and do their best to avoid it. (shock and awe factor)

Being well out of the ordinary garners attention. Be the UFO and don't be shy.
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Old 10-20-15, 12:15 PM
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My own personal anecdotal reasoning is when driving I notice a bike with a rear flasher or front light much sooner than I see one without.

Simple as that.
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Old 10-20-15, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by megalowmatt
My own personal anecdotal reasoning is when driving I notice a bike with a rear flasher or front light much sooner than I see one without.

Simple as that.
Me too. And to be frank, it's all about trying to catch drivers attention. How you do it is up to you. I ride a lot and drive a lot too and the ninja cyclists I never really see and the folks who use lights I pretty much always see. I'm very vidulant with cyclists in general.
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Old 10-20-15, 01:00 PM
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Take a look at this simple example:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs6YZk1QZdM
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Old 10-20-15, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by yooperbiker
Take a look at this simple example:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vs6YZk1QZdM
Grea video
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