Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

High Vis at Night - Next Step?

Notices
Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

High Vis at Night - Next Step?

Old 10-20-16, 08:17 AM
  #1  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 14,783

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 235 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6837 Post(s)
Liked 700 Times in 445 Posts
High Vis at Night - Next Step?

I'm very pleased with the lights on my bike as well as my cycling clothing in terms of visibility.

I wear Nathan reflective ankle bands when I ride at night and believe that they make a difference.

Bikes are standard road bikes. Riding is mostly suburban to rural, sunset to about 10 PM.

What is the next step with regard to visibility at night? Would love to hear your reasonable suggestions.


-Tim-
TimothyH is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 09:10 AM
  #2  
ItsJustMe
Se˝ior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
You only mention ankle bands. I wear an ANSI yellow and reflective vest. They're very bright and effective.

If you have the choice, reflective sidewalls on tires are pretty effective.

I slap DOT reflective tape, at least 20 or so square inches of it, around my frame.

I have been doing a lot of messing around with taillights for years now. My current opinions:

- 2 rear lights is a MINIMUM. I think 2 lights is much more visible than one, and also you can have a taillight fail and you will never know.

- physically larger lights are more visible than point sources. I will take a larger light over a brighter one (once you're up to a minimum 50 lumens or so). The new lights using COB LEDs (such as the Blitzu 168T) are very visible and very affordable.

- Having lights spread over a distance, like one low on the bike and one on the helmet, is much more attention getting. A single light, or two lights very close together, a distracted motorist might think is just a roadside reflector or a car or motorcycle, and not expect to be closing on it fast and look back at his distraction. If you have two separated lights, especially if one is on your helmet, they'll be moving about in a weird way and the driver will say "what the hell is that?" Attention is what you want.

- your high position light should be up high enough that the guy two cars behind you can see it through the windows of the intervening car. This helps with the situation where in high speed traffic, someone approaching at speed will come up close behind you, then suddenly move left to pass and the guy moving at speed behind him, who did not previously know you were there, is now approaching your rear wheel at speed and only 50 feet away before he sees you.

- At least one steady, at least one blinking. You need to draw attention (thus the blink) but blinking lights are very difficult to judge distance and speed of. The steady light makes it easier for the motorist to tell where you are and how fast they're closing on you.

Up front, I run steady at night, blinking in the daytime, 800 lumens most of the time.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

Last edited by ItsJustMe; 10-20-16 at 12:00 PM.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 09:56 AM
  #3  
Leebo
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: North of Boston
Posts: 5,721

Bikes: Kona Dawg, Surly 1x1, Karate Monkey, Rockhopper, Crosscheck , Burley Runabout,

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 854 Post(s)
Liked 109 Times in 64 Posts
Helmet light, front and rear, plus a steady and blinking on the bar. Wheel lights are every effective to depict, ( wait for it) a wheel. I use cat eye orbit but would like something else. The spinning motion is very helpful for side visibility, something lacking for most cyclists.
Leebo is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 10:18 AM
  #4  
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 26,722

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10364 Post(s)
Liked 2,379 Times in 1,645 Posts
ItsJustMe did a nice write up... I really tend to agree with the two lights facing rearward... high blinky with low bright steady light.

Beyond that, the strangest (thus most eye catching) setup I ever saw was a cyclist with a bright white light at the end of a rear rack with the light pointing at their back. There was no mistaking that it was a cyclist.
genec is online now  
Old 10-20-16, 10:36 AM
  #5  
MMACH 5
Cycle Dallas
 
MMACH 5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Gar, TX
Posts: 3,777

Bikes: Dulcinea--2017 Kona Rove & a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
All good points above. Anything to be more visible.

Every vest I looked at hindered access to my back jersey pockets, so I sewed myself a reflective harness.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
ReflectiveHarness.jpg (94.7 KB, 446 views)
MMACH 5 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 10:41 AM
  #6  
fietsbob
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,599

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 197 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7607 Post(s)
Liked 1,320 Times in 830 Posts
Active lights Powered By a Hub dynamo, Or at least Batteries .
fietsbob is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 10:55 AM
  #7  
Hypno Toad
meh
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,293

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 522 Times in 292 Posts
I like Lightweights

IMG_20141215_164400_224.jpg

IMG_20131124_162716_485.jpg
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 11:04 AM
  #8  
Rollfast
What happened?
 
Rollfast's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Around here somewhere
Posts: 8,030

Bikes: 3 Rollfasts, 3 Schwinns, a Shelby and a Higgins Flightliner in a pear tree!

Mentioned: 57 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1835 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 249 Posts
Look behind you and listen.
__________________
I don't know nothing, and I memorized it in school and got this here paper I'm proud of to show it.
Rollfast is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 11:18 AM
  #9  
mcours2006
Senior Member
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 6,061

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 47 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1938 Post(s)
Liked 286 Times in 168 Posts
I'm not knocking all these measures, but is there a point where it just becomes overkill? Is more always better?
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 11:58 AM
  #10  
ItsJustMe
Se˝ior Member
 
ItsJustMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 13,749

Bikes: Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 446 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I'm not knocking all these measures, but is there a point where it just becomes overkill? Is more always better?
Sure there's overkill. At some point, if a driver still doesn't see you, doubling the amount of visibility still won't make them see you.

However, that point is far above what most people ride with. A hi viz, reflective vest and two good, bright, well positioned lights front and back is IMO minimal safety gear and certainly is not overkill.
__________________
Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.
ItsJustMe is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 11:59 AM
  #11  
genec
genec
 
genec's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: West Coast
Posts: 26,722

Bikes: custom built, sannino, beachbike, giant trance x2

Mentioned: 53 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10364 Post(s)
Liked 2,379 Times in 1,645 Posts
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
I'm not knocking all these measures, but is there a point where it just becomes overkill? Is more always better?
to quote another poster...

Anything to be more visible.
Try to imagine how you look on a 45MPH multi lane arterial road, riding past some well lit strip mall that has lots of point sources of light... do you stand out against all that light pollution? Enough to be seen by a driver planning to make a hasty left turn across your path?

That was the sort of question I asked, as my commute took me past a major intersection loaded with shops filled with light... all those store lights were a distraction... and didn't add to my visibility. I had to stand out against that background of lights, somehow. Geography dictated this path as there were no other roads except freeways going the direction I needed to go... through that light jungle.

Now your mileage may vary, depending on where you commute. At one time in my life, I commuted down quiet, dark residential streets... I didn't need much to stand out there. In fact the light of an oncoming car, and the noise of said car in that environment were enough to alert me to any potential hazards... so much so that I could be dressed in black and riding ninja style and easily avoid any other traffic.

So the real question is where are you riding and what do you have to stand out from, to be visible?
genec is online now  
Old 10-20-16, 12:12 PM
  #12  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,564

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 297 Times in 239 Posts
There is no such thing as overkill.

The human eye will literally not see things it doesn’t expect to see, unless it stands out.

I had all kinds of stuff on my bike, and then had a colleague tell me that my bike was almost invisible from the side (when crossing a street).

I have lots of reflective tape on my bike (matching the bikes color, it is invisible in the daylight). But even at dusk or at night, it doesn’t do much unless a light is shining directly on it from the same line of sight as the viewer. Go figure.
Lights or Strobes front and back are a minimum, but the bike still isn’t visible from the side.

My most creative solution: Put a flashing LED inside a water bottle. Works pretty good!!!
chas58 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 12:13 PM
  #13  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 14,783

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 235 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6837 Post(s)
Liked 700 Times in 445 Posts
OP here.

I'm not trying to be contentious and appreciate all the responses re lights. My original post however, clearly said that I'm happy with my lights. I already have L&M Vis360+ on my helmet, L&M Urban 800 on the bar and two rear lights including a Blitzu. Lights are not an issue.

Very adverse to putting stickers on my bike although @hypnotoad has me rethinking this. That Z85 is nicely done. I'd love to see a close up picture of one of the spokes.

@MMACH_5, what material did you use to create the harness? That gives me some interesting ideas.

@chas58, visibility from the side is one of the things I'm concerned about. Thanks for the suggestions. What reflective tape do you use?


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 10-20-16 at 12:21 PM.
TimothyH is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 12:49 PM
  #14  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 9,452

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Krampus

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 1,299 Times in 970 Posts
Originally Posted by MMACH 5 View Post
All good points above. Anything to be more visible.

Every vest I looked at hindered access to my back jersey pockets, so I sewed myself a reflective harness.
That's cool, I would never wear a vest, but I might wear that. You should set up an etsy page and sell them for like twenty bucks or something. (I'll take your first one free for giving you a free business model!)
RubeRad is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 01:28 PM
  #15  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,564

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 297 Times in 239 Posts
I went to "Five Below" and got a $4 reflective vest. It is short and works well on a bike (REI has some Nathan bike vests too).
Right now, the vest hangs over my messenger bag when I ride. IN cool weather, I wear a fluorescent yellow bike vest (by some top bike manufacturer), and in warm weather a fluorescent yellow jersey. It makes a big difference.

@TimothyH

I use 3M reflective tape.
It is easy to find at any auto parts store in Red or red-white. The red matches my red bike perfectly, and the "white" matches my brushed aluminum bike well. This is USDOT approved tape, the same stuff you can see on most commercial truck trailers.

Alternatively if you like colors, you can order "samples" here in a whole range of colors:
This is my favorite: https://www.identi-tape.com/hi-intensity2.htm Lots of colors
The SOLAS tapes are great, but a little over kill. https://www.identi-tape.com/solas.html

Last edited by chas58; 10-20-16 at 01:34 PM.
chas58 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 01:30 PM
  #16  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,564

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1042 Post(s)
Liked 297 Times in 239 Posts
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I do like those, but made my own by taking the tape mentioned above and wrapping it around straws.

But then again, it is easier to take that 3M tape and just stick a stripe on my wheel. Works great on deep V wheels.

I just got a little pissed off at the thought of spending $15 for some little stickers, when I can buy a 15 foot long roll of tape (in any color I want, including black!) for $15.
chas58 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 01:41 PM
  #17  
Hypno Toad
meh
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,293

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 522 Times in 292 Posts
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Very adverse to putting stickers on my bike although @hypnotoad has me rethinking this. That Z85 is nicely done. I'd love to see a close up picture of one of the spokes.
I'll get some close up pictures later today and post them.

I wasn't sure if I'd like them, buying them for the Kona (commuter). But found I really like them and have added them to most of my bikes - they are very subtle yet effective.
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 01:48 PM
  #18  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 25,157

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 104 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3825 Post(s)
Liked 980 Times in 681 Posts
+1 for reflective tape. I remember that being a tough item to search for. I remember special ordering "coast guard approved" tape somewhere

aside from adding it to the bike & my jacket incl sleeves I also added it to my gloves so ppl could see my hand signals
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 02:03 PM
  #19  
MMACH 5
Cycle Dallas
 
MMACH 5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Gar, TX
Posts: 3,777

Bikes: Dulcinea--2017 Kona Rove & a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
That's cool, I would never wear a vest, but I might wear that. You should set up an etsy page and sell them for like twenty bucks or something. (I'll take your first one free for giving you a free business model!)
LOL - I've sold about a dozen of them. I charge $25 each or $40 for folks who want a pair. I even developed a logo. I've been planning to market them someday. Everyday life keeps getting in the way.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
NowUSeeMe.jpg (60.4 KB, 416 views)
MMACH 5 is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 03:49 PM
  #20  
RubeRad
Keepin it Wheel
 
RubeRad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: San Diego
Posts: 9,452

Bikes: Surly CrossCheck, Krampus

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 1,299 Times in 970 Posts
That's a really sweet logo. Are you a graphic designer? Looks like an overhead shot of somebody riding a bike in Superman position

(Look how fit Rachael Ray got riding a "Bird of Prey" https://birdofpreybicycles.ning.com/)

RubeRad is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 03:49 PM
  #21  
TimothyH
- Soli Deo Gloria -
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Northwest Georgia
Posts: 14,783

Bikes: 2018 Rodriguez Custom Fixed Gear, 2017 Niner RLT 9 RDO, 2015 Bianchi Pista, 2002 Fuji Robaix

Mentioned: 235 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6837 Post(s)
Liked 700 Times in 445 Posts
Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
I'll get some close up pictures later today and post them.

I wasn't sure if I'd like them, buying them for the Kona (commuter). But found I really like them and have added them to most of my bikes - they are very subtle yet effective.
Looking forward to the pics but do not rush or have any anxiety over this.

When convenient, that's all.

Really appreciate it.


-Tim-
TimothyH is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 03:55 PM
  #22  
rmfnla
Senior Member
 
rmfnla's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: La La Land (We love it!)
Posts: 6,301

Bikes: Gilmour road, Curtlo road; both steel (of course)

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 271 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
That's a really sweet logo. Are you a graphic designer? Looks like an overhead shot of somebody riding a bike in Superman position

(Look how fit Rachael Ray got riding a "Bird of Prey" https://birdofpreybicycles.ning.com/)


In both of your dreams...
__________________
Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...
rmfnla is offline  
Old 10-20-16, 07:25 PM
  #23  
esther-L
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: North Carolina, USA
Posts: 236

Bikes: tandem, road bike, hybrid

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I put scotchlite reflective tape on my rear fender, and in various places on my bike - crank arms, wheel rims, etc. My rear blinkies do have some side visibility. I turn my head a lot, so the helmet-mounted headlight provides some side visibility.

I don't know how visible it is, but I have a light-up bracelet (sold in halloween trick or treating stuff) that I wear on left wrist. My goal is to make my arm signals more visible. A co-worker suggested I try the lights they make for attaching to dog collars after the non-replaceable bracelet battery expires.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
esther-L is offline  
Old 10-21-16, 06:15 AM
  #24  
Hypno Toad
meh
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,293

Bikes: 21 Bianchi Infinito; 17 Breezer Radar Pro; 15 Surly Pugsley; 13 Felt Z85; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 911 Post(s)
Liked 522 Times in 292 Posts
Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Looking forward to the pics but do not rush or have any anxiety over this.

When convenient, that's all.

Really appreciate it.


-Tim-
Here we are, picture close up and with daylight to see that these are very discrete.

IMG_20161020_173329066.jpg

IMG_20161020_173341991_HDR.jpg

Additionally, the Kona (pic I posted early) rides in all conditions (including rains, snow, temps down to 0F); the only reason I've had to replace the reflective tape is broken spokes or replaced the wheel. The stuff is very durable.
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 10-21-16, 07:01 AM
  #25  
MMACH 5
Cycle Dallas
 
MMACH 5's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Land of Gar, TX
Posts: 3,777

Bikes: Dulcinea--2017 Kona Rove & a few others

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 197 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by RubeRad View Post
That's a really sweet logo. Are you a graphic designer?
...
Thanks and yes, I am a graphic artist for a marketing agency. Which sounds like I get to draw stuff all day for a living. Unfortunately, the biggest part of my days are spent making sure our ads have enough room for legal disclaimers. (That's a bit of an exageration. But only a little bit.)
MMACH 5 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright ę 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.