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what to do for visibility to the sides?

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what to do for visibility to the sides?

Old 01-18-09, 04:34 PM
  #26  
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Wife and I use these:

They are called Tire Fly

They go on the valve stem and flicker when the bike moves. They look pretty visible to me.
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Old 01-19-09, 12:51 AM
  #27  
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the PBSF under the downtube sounds like a good idea. I need a helmet light. I really hate it when a car creeps at a stop when I have the right of way coming down a hill. You never know if it's the standard stop sign creep that people almost always do, or preparation to take you out. I also go through a badly designed intersection on a bike path where the right turn has a green and they don't stop for the red anyway. That intersection is where I've had the most close calls.
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Old 01-19-09, 06:45 PM
  #28  
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Here's a side shot of my commuter decked out with Superglo tape and reflective sidewall tires. The tape is barely visible in the daylight on the black frame.
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Reflective Tape Side1.jpg (98.7 KB, 41 views)
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Old 01-19-09, 09:51 PM
  #29  
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I use reflective tape, tires with reflective sidewalls and BLT valve cap lights that flash whenever the bike is moving.

I also use a Dinotte 800L on the bars, a Dinotte 600L on the helmet and a PB Superflash. Not to mention a reflective vest. And oh yeah, another PB light on the back of my helmet.

If you see cars or anything else approaching from the side, a helmet light is a great tool because you can aim it right at the hazard. It really seems to get people's attention. But one must be careful not to blind people, so I often use on low beam. And I never put any of the Dinotte's in flashing mode after dark.
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Old 01-20-09, 05:33 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
visibility isn't the only thing impacting accident rate, I've hit plenty of things I've seen because they failed to act in a predictable manor (Squirrels, I'm looking at you). They run across the street, see you coming and stop, before bolting off in one direction or the other. Until they move, you have no idea what those furry little buggers are going to do, and sometimes it's impossible to avoid them.

Predictability is as important as visibility (is my vehicular cyclist showing?)
I agree 1000%. Riding in a predictable manner is a huge contributor to safety night OR day.
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Old 01-20-09, 06:24 AM
  #31  
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I have been experimenting with a cheapo led flashlight (2 bucks) tied-wrapped to the fork, pointing at the floor. The light bounces off the floor and illuminates the front wheel. It works pretty well my wife said. I'm gonna use a 2nd one for the rear wheel.

There was a guy in the road forums once, he posted a pic of an illuminated seat post... looked pretty cool.
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Old 01-20-09, 12:56 PM
  #32  
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This is pretty cool.
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Old 01-20-09, 01:34 PM
  #33  
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Why visibility from the sides?
1- for people pulling thru stop signs/lights and not looking where they are going until the last second {usual reaction is to slam on the brakes}
2- for people coming out of driveways and only looking ahead and not around.

How?
REI has some safety type lights that can be put on the front forks on the side and they work quite well. Cost about $10 to $15 each and use either AAA or AA batteries. Long life. Only lost one in 4 years.

Again, the value is mostly at intersections
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Old 01-21-09, 04:16 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by HiYoSilver View Post
Why visibility from the sides?
1- for people pulling thru stop signs/lights and not looking where they are going until the last second {usual reaction is to slam on the brakes}
2- for people coming out of driveways and only looking ahead and not around.
1 - They won't see you until you're directly in front of them. By that time, they've made their decision to start moving. If you could "rewind the tape", you'll notice that they made that decision when you were still out of their way -- picture the driver thinking to him/herself, "Clear? Okay, I'll go now," and pressing the gas. Where were you at that point in time? Off to the side, out of the area lit by their headlights.

2 - See #1.

I'm not saying that side visibility is pointless, I'm saying that it doesn't help at all in many situations where people think it helps.

Btw, both of these scenarios are why I ride (and drive) with headlights in the daytime.
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Old 01-21-09, 04:27 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by AllenG View Post

Couple of bucks a pop.
What is that called? I've been looking for those.

I use portable LED Christmas lights for my bike. They're indoor use only so I don't take that bike when it looks like precipitation. I wrapped four sets of 15-20 each around the frame and secured the ends with tape and knots.

On my hybrid I have two sets of lights to wrap around myself like sashes when I'm feeling nervous. Otherwise I'm just extra careful at intersections.

I prefer the lights because people seem to come closest to hitting me at intersections and I want them to be able to see me when I'm not in their headlights.

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Old 01-22-09, 09:20 AM
  #36  
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W/r/t side visibility, yes it is true that it's not so important. But the way I see it, it can't hurt either. The Planet Bike Blinky 7 seems to provide a decent amount of side visibility, and it and the Superflash complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. In terms of side visibility from the front, a headlight usually has some low-level of spill that's broad, and hopefully that spill is sufficient.
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Old 01-22-09, 09:38 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Commuter_Dan View Post
What do you do to ensure maximum visibility to motorists encountering you from the sides?

Reflective tape works pretty well when the car's lights are shining directly at the bike, but not as well when a car is at more oblique angles to the bike. For example, a driver at a stop sign almost turned into me when she stopped with her car turned about halfway through her right turn onto the road was riding on. In this case her lights were pointed well away from me, and if she didn't see my front lights she would have proceeded to turn right into me. I use a pair of bright flashlights as front lights, but they have a pretty tight beam so she probably didn't see them very well (until I turned a bit to point them at her). I'd like to avoid situations like this in the future.

My thoughts so far are;
1) absolutely cover the bike with reflective tape (so much for aesthetics, oh well)
2) use very bright front lights with lots of side-spill

I'm curious if anyone has encountered side-facing lights, and whether these would be a good idea.
You need to be aware of the limitations of LED lights. They are very directional and flashlights are more so. In other words, they are very bright from dead ahead but they can become absolutely black at a fairly shallow angle. Ride, and plan, accordingly.

Adding a helmet light helps get past the limitations of LED because you can direct the light where it needs to go. You could do the same with lights on the bar but you might get arrested for riding drunk You can simply look in someone's direction to flash the light at them or, for truly clueless people, you can try to drill a hole through the back of their heads*

I don't like reflectors personally because they are too passive. Light has to hit them to be noticed. If the light angle isn't right, they are useless.** Active lighting is always better. Don't mount red flashies on the front of your bike, however. This would just lead to confusion. I prefer using a leg mounted flashy because the up and down motion gets attention from motorists behind and to the side of you. Nite Ize makes these. They fit comfortably around your knee and have a flash or steady mode.



*Trying to drill through someone's head is an absolute last ditch tactic. Remember with great power comes great responsibility

**I do carry the required reflectors for my state. No sense making a lawyer's job easier.
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Old 01-22-09, 09:39 AM
  #38  
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I strap one of these around each calf (or ankle if I'm wearing long pants). A bonus is that it keeps my right pant leg from touching the chain and getting greasy.

Planet Bike BRT LED strap

https://www.amazon.com/Planet-Bike-Mu.../dp/B000AO7JP0
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Old 01-22-09, 10:12 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by BA Commuter View Post
The Down Low Glow lighting system seems like it may be a good solution.

https://tinyurl.com/a5shko

+1 on DLG Not just side protection, but all-around. I've noticed drivers going out of their way to give me room when they pass. In fact, there was one jackhole who nearly caused an accident because s/he was in too much of a hurry that s/he didn't notice an oncoming car and forced it onto the curb.
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Old 01-22-09, 12:33 PM
  #40  
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Another vote for a helmet light here. I use a cheap Husky brand, 9 LED flashlight strapped onto the side of my helmet. It is not bright enough to blind them, like a P7, but definitely gets their attention if you point it at them. I flash it right into the driver's faces, and make sure that I see them look AT ME, or I slow down or stop.

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Old 01-22-09, 01:51 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
1 - They won't see you until you're directly in front of them. By that time, they've made their decision to start moving. If you could "rewind the tape", you'll notice that they made that decision when you were still out of their way -- picture the driver thinking to him/herself, "Clear? Okay, I'll go now," and pressing the gas. Where were you at that point in time? Off to the side, out of the area lit by their headlights.

2 - See #1.

I'm not saying that side visibility is pointless, I'm saying that it doesn't help at all in many situations where people think it helps.

Btw, both of these scenarios are why I ride (and drive) with headlights in the daytime.
The thing that is made most easily visible, from the sides, front, or back, it the thing that occupies the largest area and sits the highest on the bike...the rider. Bright/reflective/actively lit clothing/headgear will always be more effective than tiny little things mounted on tiny little parts that are 1-3ft from the ground.
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Old 01-22-09, 03:17 PM
  #42  
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Tirefly's

I also use tirefly's. There is one model they have that the light stays on even when the wheel isn't turning. I like these as it continues to flash when I am stopped at a corner, or waiting for a light to change.

https://www.tireflys.com/
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Old 01-22-09, 03:48 PM
  #43  
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I just started using a helmet light rather than headlight a couple months ago (Dinotte 200) and love it. Huge difference. I feel significantly safer now that I can actively point the light in a drivers direction, rather than waiting (hoping) for them to see me.
It's situational too - my commute has a lot of on-street parking which blocks cars coming from the side from seeing a headlight at handlebar height (plus they always run their stop signs). After a couple months of using it I don't think I can go back to just headlights. Best of luck.
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Old 01-22-09, 05:24 PM
  #44  
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I have the most problems with motorists that have a stop sign on my right. This really isn't a side visibility problem, it's either a problem of misinterpretation of the headlight, or a horrible ability to judge speed. If a car is approaching, most motorists will just wait for it. A significant minority of drivers will try to beat a bike at the last second. I've found while driving a car that flashing your brights at an inattentive driver will get them to stop in this situation (most often this happens when they are making a right turn on red).

Thus, I want a helmet light that will make a motorist poop their pants if I shine it in their face. I really don't see the need for side visibility. Something like the down-low glow or monkey lights gives you visibility to a car that's about to pull out in front of you from a stop sign or a stoplight, so it's really front visibility as much as side visibility. Anything that does that is good. I'm really not sure about side reflectors, that seems like it will just change "I didn't see him" to "I only saw him right as I was hitting him"
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Old 01-22-09, 05:28 PM
  #45  
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My Schwalbe Marathons have reflective sidewalls, and my DiNotte 400L on the helmet is great for throwing a very bright beam at cars approaching from side streets (I had one redneck yell at me about it, so I know it must be working well!).
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Old 01-22-09, 08:52 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I have the most problems with motorists that have a stop sign on my right. This really isn't a side visibility problem, it's either a problem of misinterpretation of the headlight, or a horrible ability to judge speed.
Both of those factors can be reduced by using more than one headlight, whether you add one to your helmet or put a second light on your handlebars.

A single point of light is just that -- a single point. It's hard to judge its distance and speed when it's not really moving across someone's field of vision. Add a second light, and an onlooker will have an easier time judging its speed and distance.

I've posted this link before; it's about motorcycles and some fairly high-tech vehicle avoidance systems, but the stuff about visibility can be easily related to bicycles. Fast forward to about 4:50, "Conspicuity Enhancement":
https://world.honda.com/HDTV/ASV/ASV-3-motor/index.html
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Old 01-22-09, 11:29 PM
  #47  
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Vittoria Randonneur Cross Pro tires with reflective stripe. Reflective stripe aside, these are the most versatile tires I've ever used. Very nice on the road and enough traction for light offroad duty.

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Old 01-22-09, 11:56 PM
  #48  
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An ansi II reflective vest is my choice it handles both day and night. and a ankle band on my right.

I also use an extreme left riding position just until I get noticed, IE when no motors would make them stop or run over me.
I still got run over this way but since I was riding more left than right. When he ran the red light to turn right I was able to bounce off his car fall down and remain in my lane. Which was very important and why you don't want to move over to the left tire track where another car could run you over.

Last edited by wheel; 01-23-09 at 12:18 AM.
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Old 01-23-09, 09:31 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Thus, I want a helmet light that will make a motorist poop their pants if I shine it in their face. I really don't see the need for side visibility. Something like the down-low glow or monkey lights gives you visibility to a car that's about to pull out in front of you from a stop sign or a stoplight, so it's really front visibility as much as side visibility. Anything that does that is good. I'm really not sure about side reflectors, that seems like it will just change "I didn't see him" to "I only saw him right as I was hitting him"
Ask and ye shall receive



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Old 01-23-09, 10:05 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Waves77 View Post
+1 for the Spokelits, I've found them for as cheap as $5 each, I think they make a big difference. My wife has commented how easier it's for her to see cyclists that have them while she's driving.
I use the Spokelits as well. I've noticed several motorists looking at them intently as they pass or as I meet them at an intersection. In addition, I've gotten several comments from kids/pedestrians on them, so I suspect they are actually a rarity in my area. I know I've never seen another rider in town using them.
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