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Can a light ever be too bright for a commute?

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Can a light ever be too bright for a commute?

Old 06-29-10, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
If you are going to quote, quote in context. Note that I said "not that I could anyway".
I get(hope) that it's tongue in cheek but the implication is that you would if you could. The attitude. I had a look at your thread - nice setup, I'm sure you do use it responsibly, but it does look like the potential is there for it to be a nuisance, if not to cars then other cyclists and pedestrians. But hey, I've never seen your specific lights. I've just been blinded by other people's ultra bight lights, which is what I'm basing my reaction on.

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Old 06-29-10, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkN
I get(hope) that it's tongue in cheek but the implication is that you would if you could. The attitude. I had a look at your thread - nice setup, I'm sure you do use it responsibly, but it does look like the potential is there for it to be a nuisance.
No, I would never intentionally blind someone with my lights...unless I felt that it was to keep me from harm. I have a helmet light and I have used it to signal drivers who somehow miss all that light coming at them (it happens) and pull out in front of me at stop signs. But I don't do it often or gratuitous.

I also don't worry about blinding drivers for the reasons I've already outlined. It's next to impossible to do so, so why worry about it.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:16 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
All lanes
No, your $1.50 LED light can not hurt retinas. Hurt implies damage, usually of a lasting kind.
Hurt
1. To cause physical damage or pain to; injure.

Hurt has different valid meanings. Accept it and acknowledge that your narrow interpretation of the word and it's intent is wrong and really had nothing to do with the light argument. It was strictly an inflammatory response... OK? Just as your argument about lights and your verbose responses about car headlights that are contrary to DOT regulations. Your arguments are so narrowly focused that you totally disregard the fact that bike lights can be dangerous if not adjusted correctly. Period. The instances don't have to meet some statistical criteria to be considered valid.

Originally Posted by cyccommute
The way I look at it is that motorists aren't concerned about blinding me, why should I be concerned about blinding them?...not that I could anyway
This comment alone speaks volumes.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:27 AM
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I really think that it depends on where you live, and how you ride. I've definitely been blinded and stopped, until the spots cleared from my vision, after passing someone with a new magicshine light.

People that ride out in the countryside, or on trails, NEED those big 400-900 lumen lights. I'd use one, if I were not a city rider.

People in bigger cities need more light just to make sure that the are noticed, though.

People in smaller cities and towns, where I do most of my riding after dark, should have bright, but not TOO bright lights. I used my wife as a non-scientific tester.

I like my lights bright enough to be annoying, but not bright enough to startle people or make my wife see dark spots when I point it directly at her face (made her sit in the car down the street from me to test). What works here is a couple of 160-200 lumen head lights (depending on battery strength). One for the handlebars (pointed at bumper height for most cars - not directly in their face, but not really for looking at the road either), and another 130-180 lumen light strapped to my helmet (to point at the road, and driver's faces when I don't think that they see me).



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Old 06-29-10, 11:42 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass
Hurt
1. To cause physical damage or pain; to injure.
You do realize that you've made my point, don't you? You missed the important part of the above definition...to cause physical damage...; to injure. Where is the physical damage or injury? You might have a blue spot of you looked into the light from a few inches away (hardly something that is going to happen in a car/bike interaction) but that isn't an injury. Nor is it really all the painful unless you put the light almost on your eye. It may be slightly uncomfortable to look at a bright light but hardly painful or injurious.

And a motorist is going to have interactions with lights that are much brighter and much closer than most bike lights are going to be all the time. If those lights aren't causing injury or physical damage or pain, how is a bike light...which is usually of a much lower intensity...going to cause any worse pain?


Originally Posted by BassNotBass
Hurt has different valid meanings. Accept it and acknowledge that your narrow interpretation of the word and it's intent is wrong and really had nothing to do with the light argument.
Perhaps you should follow your own advice. Your own narrow definition of the word is equally wrong. Mild discomfort isn't damage or injury or, for that matter, even real pain.
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Old 06-29-10, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinyon
People that ride out in the countryside, or on trails, NEED those big 400-900 lumen lights. I'd use one, if I were not a city rider.
I do a lot of farming/forestry road riding, and you can get away with far less light in that situation. Once your eyes are adjusted, it's not unfeasible to see quite well by just the light of a full moon. I've used my Princeton Tec Quad LED camping lamp on my helmet, and turned off my generator lights before. On some pitch black backroads, I'm sure that our pack of a dozen riders all with bright LED generator lights and reflective gear looks astonishigly bright. Riders from my club have told stories of the French riders at PBP, who often use lights so dim that you can barely see them approaching in your mirror; but in the darkness, that little bit of lighting is enough for them to see with.

Off-road, you definitely want the brightest and broadest light. The Supernova E3 Triple or B&M Big Bang isn't unreasonable in that sort of situation.
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Old 06-29-10, 12:27 PM
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my magic shine is kinds like that. don't worry about it. you can always aim in more downward to be less obnoxious. the point is they see you coming from a distance rather than having to make a snap decision.
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Old 06-29-10, 12:50 PM
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In urban situations where there is more ambient light / pollution a slightly brighter light is needed to overcome that so you can see oncoming hazards and make yourself visible to oncoming vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Get out in the country and you can actually do with much less output.

Many European laws require a 3 watt headlight which is more than enough to see with and enough to be seen and well designed lights have a cutoff and don't direct light up into the eyes of oncoming persons.

Same goes for rear lights... consider that you need to be seen but you also have to consider who is following you.

In many cases the lighting of one's bike has become a "who has a bigger johnson ? " contest and some people are downright stupid when it comes to lights as they run lights that are too bright for cycling and aim them very poorly.

I run a 2w PB headlight and run the strobe in the daytime as it is visible from great distances... on high it has enough output to overcome most ambient light and can run on low in the dark and see just fine.
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Old 06-29-10, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
You do realize that you've made my point, don't you? You missed the important part of the above definition...to cause physical damage...; to injure.
You left out the 'or'. "To cause physical damage or pain; to injure". Do you understand what the word 'or' designates and how it affects the meaning of a sentence? It's funny how you edit out or disregard (try to keep up here) anything that would weaken your argument. Nice try... thanks for playing.
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Old 06-29-10, 02:16 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by BassNotBass
You left out the 'or'. "To cause physical damage or pain; to injure". Do you understand what the word 'or' designates and how it affects the meaning of a sentence? It's funny how you edit out or disregard (try to keep up here) anything that would weaken your argument. Nice try... thanks for playing.
Read my post again...including what I quoted from you. I took the work 'or' out of my response to illustrate that you had missed the most important part of the definition. You seem to be engaging in some editing of your own so that you can disregard that which would weaken your own argument.

Again, where is the damage or injury? Mild discomfort (as looking into a bright light is) is not damage or injury.
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Old 06-29-10, 02:26 PM
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You two should get a room.
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Old 06-29-10, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute
Again, where is the damage or injury? Mild discomfort (as looking into a bright light is) is not damage or injury.
Based on experiences of being faced by an on-coming bright light, I wouldn't say I was injured by the light but it certainly increased the potential for an accident and could indirectly cause an injury.

Being faced with an overly bright light has several effects; it forcefully grabs the attention away from what's immediately in front of you, away from closer road obstacles making it more likely that they won't be seen in time to prevent a collision. It makes everything else harder to see in the dark. It makes you squint away from the light source rather than illuminating the light source, so it does not actually help the viewer determine exactly where it is. It's intimidating and causes resentment and bad feeling which is not something roads need any more of.

So... no, ok, perhaps the light itself doesn't cause injury.

Eh.
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Old 07-01-10, 04:04 PM
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Can a light be to bright for commuting? Yes.

However, I've been trying to find the best light (still looking) for this situation, and I've found there's at least 3 factors that seem to influence whether a light is "blinding" or not -
1. It's brightness - obviously
2. But it's only the amount of brightness that hits the persons face that really matters. A relatively narrow beam can work, and as mentioned some light even have an optically engineered cutoff, though that is trickier, requires more careful mounting and has it's own small drawbacks.
3. The size (intensity) of the light itself. I don't see this mentioned much, but I've definitely found that tiny and "kinda bright" lights can be really painful on the eyes when coming towards me on the MUP, but that larger lights that seem to be the same intensity aren't nearly as bad. I think a light that's a tiny point of light is more blinding that a much larger light with the same light output.
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Old 07-02-10, 05:06 PM
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I use a DiNotte 600L on my handlebar, and a DiNotte 200L on my helmet. No, lights cannot be too bright. Not when I'm riding in traffic with HUGE SUVs and pickups.
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Old 07-02-10, 06:32 PM
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It's all about -- as has been referenced here several times already -- the AIM of the light. The light itself, as a safety device or a light to show you the way, cannot be too bright. IF it's properly aimed, and you get cars flashing their brights at you, then you're close to ideal.

Two points:

1. To see (hazards in front of you), and
2. to be seen (so you don't become a hood ornament)!
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Old 07-02-10, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by bmt074
I recently started using a Cygolite Rover II. It's great so far - even on low it makes a great headlight for darker areas (mostly MUPs after dark - all roads are brightly lit) - far brighter than my Cateye EL320. The problem is when the light is on flash mode every sign with a reflective surface within a few hundred yards flashes brightly - literally signs WAY down the road are clearly picking up the light brightly. I've checked and it only seems to flash in its brightest mode. I'm usually biking around Boston so there are tons of signs. I came up to one intersection and it looked like a dance club .

As much as I think it's cool I'm sure it's distracting to motorists and some may be wondering where the &#&#*@! is that light coming from when I am a few hundred yards away . I'm willing to bet that people can see me coming from a mile a way though which is probably the point.
You havenot seen my DIY aluminum cube light ( https://bikeled.org/ not my site) with 2 x SSC P4 LED's with 5 degree spots with a 5 mode light regulator. I'm hitting targets ~1 block away. In flash mode (1 flash/sec) it looks nice and in strobe mode (~2.5-3 flashes/sec) everyone thinks you're a cop with the dinotte tail light on the back. I had some yahoos that thought I was a cop before slow down then mouthed off that I was not a cop at me like little punk kids then floored the pedal racing off only to funny enough be picked up by a cop car later for speeding as I rode by given them a smirk look.
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Old 07-02-10, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
If it can shine through the clothing of pretty women, it may be too bright. Or not.
Hmm.. never thoguht or knew of that one. Interesting... very interesting. LOL. Now all the girls on this board will fear wearing white now? LOL
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Old 07-02-10, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick
You two should get a room.
Cyclo been a while guy. Always love your setup. Soon it'll end up like www.youtube.com/user/hotforwords hopefully.

BTW check that link... check it out now. Do it! Do it nooooowww!!
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Old 07-03-10, 04:11 AM
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My supernova Triple E3 is so bright it isn't street legal in Germany. I made a light shield for it to keep it from blinding on comers but still put lots of light on the road. You can experiment with the shape until you get the light pattern just right. By mounting it with screws I can easily remove it for riding single track.

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