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What lighting pattern to use?

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What lighting pattern to use?

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Old 12-22-04, 08:31 PM
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blendingnoise
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What lighting pattern to use?

I just picked up a headlight/tailight combo from performance (flare ones) and was wondering what does everyone set their light patterns to? I will post up reviews and pics once I try them out longer but right out of the box they are quite nice. Small enough to pocket and carry around during school and the mounting kit is real sturdy but only time and more riding will tell more. They are extremely bright and share the same construction except for the bulbs (red vs clear) so if one fails I can atleast swap parts for whichever one I need more.

My options are:
Steady, rapid flashing, flashing with 2sec pauses and last of all, it flashes quick twice then flashes even quicker a couple more times and so on.
I don't need the headlight to light my path so no need to have it on steady.

Which is the best option to catch a drivers attention for the headlight and taillight?
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Old 12-22-04, 08:33 PM
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Which is the best option to catch a drivers attention for the headlight and taillight?

Personally I've always thought that having them on and being straight (facing forward or facing back, depending on which light it is) was the best way to catch a driver's attention.
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Old 12-22-04, 09:52 PM
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In really dark places the steady option I have found works great as people judge your position better. It is when riding in the city that I find the need to run a flash option so it doesn't get lost in the midst of carlights and other ambient light. I have also noticed that I notice bikers with blinking headlights a lot faster than a steady light in town and in bad weather.
This may change now that I have the Flare taillight as it is really bright compared to my planetbike 3 led model. I will most probably run the rapid flash based on my experiences but wanted to see what other peoples school of thought was on this.
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Old 12-22-04, 11:52 PM
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i use a rapid flash in the back, and in the front i have 2 lights. one thats on rapid flash, and the other is my nite rider, so thats my main source of light
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Old 12-23-04, 12:09 AM
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Originally Posted by blendingnoise
Which is the best option to catch a drivers attention for the headlight and taillight?
My opinion/experience is that it would be best to have a taillight pattern that alternates a steady period with a few short pulses. e.g. steady for 2-4 seconds, followed by 2-3 flashes, and back to steady, etc. Rapidly/steadily flashing lights tend to confuse the brain, which is not good. It is also important to light up your outline as much as possible, so autos can see as clearly as possible that you're a bike and what your size is and how far away you are, rather than concentrating all of your light in one or two places. One of those orange reflective flags that sticks out the side would be good.
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Old 12-23-04, 04:08 AM
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Steady, just like all the other vehicles on the road (such a VC nazi, I know!). It's easy to locate and avoid for drivers (as a driver I find flashing lights harder to position than steady ones, which my hindbrain autopilot does for me).

If batteries are low, I run one steady and one flasher. If I'm on a fun night ride, I slap on all the silly accessories - a handful of Photonz, some Hokey Spokes, Tireflies...

I'm not entirely convinced about lighting up your outline, but it definitely helps if you can make yourself look wide. Again, driver autopilot allows a metre or so from the thing they can see: if what they see is your offside edge, you get more space. Reflective on pedals and legs and panniers is good.
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Old 12-23-04, 06:31 AM
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Good point. I have paid special attention lately to the cyclists in my area. I really never gave it a second thought until someone on the forum mentioned it. I agree that a really nice setup would be a flash or two after several seconds of steady (on the rear facing light). I'm adding another light to my rear pannier (steady-on). -JH
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Old 12-23-04, 09:06 AM
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Originally Posted by blendingnoise
I just picked up a headlight/tailight combo from performance (flare ones) and was wondering what does everyone set their light patterns to? I will post up reviews and pics once I try them out longer but right out of the box they are quite nice. Small enough to pocket and carry around during school and the mounting kit is real sturdy but only time and more riding will tell more. They are extremely bright and share the same construction except for the bulbs (red vs clear) so if one fails I can atleast swap parts for whichever one I need more.

My options are:
Steady, rapid flashing, flashing with 2sec pauses and last of all, it flashes quick twice then flashes even quicker a couple more times and so on.
I don't need the headlight to light my path so no need to have it on steady.

Which is the best option to catch a drivers attention for the headlight and taillight?

I've had people watch me approach and they have all told me that at least one rapid flashing light makes me much more noticeable. The key is to stand out as something different, and a steady light is too 'normal'. Cagers often need something to jolt them into paying attention.

I use 3 in front and 3 in the rear, one of each is flashing with the other two steady.
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Old 12-23-04, 09:37 AM
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I use two taillights, one flashing, one steady. Best of both worlds. I only have one headlight, though.
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Old 12-23-04, 09:38 AM
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For the taillight, I have one on the bike and one on my helmet. I generally put one on flash and one on steady, or else both on steady. In lower visibility I tend to want one flashing. I always want one on steady. If I only had one I'd probably put it on flash in fog/rain/snow.
Up front, I want one light on steady (need it to see). If I'm going to run the whole distance with the halogen on, I may put the helmet headlight (3-LED cateye) on flash. But lately I've been using the helmet light to see because my halogen won't quite make it all the way to work, so I leave it on steady, and turn the halogen on only when approaching intersections or when opposing traffic is present.
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Old 12-23-04, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by PanPanX
i use a rapid flash in the back, and in the front i have 2 lights. one thats on rapid flash, and the other is my nite rider, so thats my main source of light
What he said in front. In back I have the niterider crazy bright tail-light LEDs on flash, and another blinky on the support bar of the non-drive side, angled just a bit out and up (to aim at drivers face). The two blink at different times, giving the impression of movement that catches drivers eyes. Thats a good thing as long as they aren't drunk and fixate on them.
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Old 12-23-04, 11:34 AM
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I commute in Atlanta traffic and use a steady flash on my taillight (1 second). I don't know if it's more effective - but I have a lot of fast drivers giving me a pretty wide berth.
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Old 12-24-04, 01:39 AM
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It was pretty cool the other day when I went for a real long ride around the city with both lights. Ran them both rapid flashing and man do they work. Drivers gave me a ton of room and didn't ride right on my wheel at all. Even had a lady on the sidewalk comment to her partner that she had never seen a more flashy cyclist as I rode by.
The performance flares really are powerful. I had street signs lighting up a block away and it was noticeable in the well lit parts of town too. My only problem is that due to the angle of the seatpost the rear light tends to point slightly downwards as it does not swivel enough. If I try to mount it higher to get it eye level it brushes up against my thigh while pedalling, so I still need to play around to find a spot for it that works well. Thanks for all the replies too. Seems like some of the cheaper lights should start programming a steady/flash mode as it seems like a logical in between option.
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Old 12-24-04, 01:41 AM
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I use rapid flash
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Old 12-24-04, 03:43 AM
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Steady headlight in the front, flashing in the back.

I usually need the headlight to see in the early morning so flashing won't do.
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Old 12-24-04, 09:31 AM
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The Flare lights are bright aren't they? Put them on the different settings and walk away in the dark. As far as possible. I find when I do this, the most visible is the fast blinking on the Flare. It's not as fast as some, it's just right. It has to do with your eyes having to adjust to the different light levels. Blinking is the most visible. The slow flash on the Flare is too slow, you go to far before the next flash. I rode behind mine with it on my friends bike for 50 miles at night. From 1/2 mile away the blinking flare stands out in traffic among the car taillights. Try it for yourself.
The blinking also Identifies you as not a car, and not a motorcycle. Blinking red is also recognized as "caution" by most drivers. Keep them adjusted at horizontal.
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Old 12-24-04, 10:16 AM
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Flashing...always
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Old 12-24-04, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PWRDbyTRD
Flashing...always
Weren't you thinking of getting a "Flare" ? Did you? How is it?
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Old 12-24-04, 10:47 AM
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I have still been debating it, I was fired so I've been reluctant to buy much stuff, but after almost getting nailed in the ass last night I think my choices are limited 1. get it or 2. stop riding at night.
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Old 12-24-04, 11:13 AM
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Sorry to hear about the job, right during the holidays too. That rots. I hope you don't have to stop riding at night. Good luck.
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Old 12-24-04, 12:31 PM
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2manybikes- I never understood the slow flash option as I can't think of a single time it would be more useful than solid or rapid flash. Bright is an understatement too for these.
One question for you though. Where do you have the rear light mounted? Right below the seat, on the seatpost by the toptube, seatstays?

PWRD - the set was the best 32$ I have ever spent for lights after going through numerous planetbike and other lbs blinkies. Buy the 2 units seperately as the combo offer is 2$ more than if purchased seperately on the website. I origionally was going to get the cateye 1000 for 40$ but would rather pick up the set as I needed a headlight too, for 32$ and free shipping to the performance store by my parents house.
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Old 12-24-04, 01:25 PM
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[QUOTE=blendingnoise]2manybikes- I never understood the slow flash option as I can't think of a single time it would be more useful than solid or rapid flash. Bright is an understatement too for these.
One question for you though. Where do you have the rear light mounted? Right below the seat, on the seatpost by the toptube, seatstays?

QUOTE]


I have no idea when slow flash would be helpful on a bike. Unless you were stranded in the woods and wanted to save batteries, like when using the light as a locator beacon for a search party? Did you realize the last flashing program is S.O.S. ? A friend of mine uses his on the bike and, carries it on the ship when he goes out to sea in case he falls overboard! Also he is only allowed to use a red light on the bridge after dark.

The bracket is important I'm glad you reminded me.

I just took the bracket apart and filed the plastic that is the stop to prevent if from rotating up to horizontal. I use mine on the seat post for the taillight. My friend uses his on the seat stay, he had to file his bracket too I think.
If you look down on the bracket as if it were mounted on a handlebar you can see a small Philips head screw. Take this out, pull the part that the light clips into off. On the underneath on the end closer to the clamping lever there is a little stop that goes back and forth in a notch. If you carefully file this thinner the light will pivot more. Be careful it files fast, itís soft.

I didn't mind doing this seeing as the thing is so small, waterproof, and so much brighter than anything I have seen.

If you can spring for Lithium batteries it gets brighter! whew!
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