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What safety gear and gadgets do you have on your commute?

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What safety gear and gadgets do you have on your commute?

Old 03-15-13, 08:04 PM
  #1  
techman
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What safety gear and gadgets do you have on your commute?

As I mostly ride in urban areas with high traffic, I wanted to share my list of safety gear and equipment that I use
and compare with others who feel like posting their list. In addition to a helmet (of course):

Pearl Izumi Men's Elite Barrier Jacket (fluorescent reflective yellow - helps to be seen by drivers day & night)
Nite Ize Spokelit Bicycle Light - Spoke lights [blinking blue] (gets the attention of drivers at night at intersections, especially the flashing blue color)
Delta Cycle Airzound Horn - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (really loud air horn that gets drivers attention with the touch of a button)
Planet Bike 2Watt Blaze white headlight - very bright, more importantly has a random pattern strobe mode that I use both day
and night, helping to get attention of drivers, especially drivers who are about to open their door into traffic.
Clear Safety Glasses (night riding) - keeps rocks, stray branches etc out of my eyes when driving at night
MSA Safety Works 10021259 Straight Temple Safety Glasses
LED Tailight - Portland Design Works Danger Zone Tail Light
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. This taillight has a 2 lense strobe that is extremely bright with attention getting random blinking patterns.
I've had other cyclists stop me and beg me to tell me where I got this
Sunglasses - in addition to blocking bright sun, also keeps rocks and other flying debris away from my eyes
JiMarti XS Sport Wrap TR90 Sunglasses UV400 U

Please let me know if this is helpful and if more detail is needed
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Old 03-15-13, 08:22 PM
  #2  
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I always wear my helmet.
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Old 03-16-13, 01:07 AM
  #3  
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My parka is neon lime with wide reflective tape strips all over it.
and, I have a hub dynamo wired light set.
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Old 03-16-13, 01:43 AM
  #4  
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Here's what I use:
  • Airzound for cars, bell for everything else
  • B&M Lumotec IQ Cyo T senso plus front light with Spanninga rear, both with steady-light function running of a dyno-hub; the IQ Cyo T also has daylight running lights
  • Blackburn Flea 2.0 front, PB 0.5 watt rear, both on flash/strobe (had a more powerful rear light and changed it since I usually ride in traffic and too many drivers complained that the 1 watt light was blinding them).
  • No reflectors on bike, except for the reflective strip on the pannier
  • Helmet (of course) with built in rear light which is used when riding in less congestive places.


I'm about to start touring and will also add two simple rear lights on the panniers, set to steady on; this gives the impression of width to a oncoming driver, thus (hopefully) giving me more room when overtaking.

Last edited by Telly; 03-16-13 at 02:03 AM.
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Old 03-16-13, 05:05 AM
  #5  
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Lights front and back on bike. Lights on the helmet front and back. Always use Safety Glasses. Reflective pantleg strap both legs and I use reflective vest in the rain, fog and at night. Some say the vest is overkill or looks dorky but hey I'm still alive. This week I even had a 70 year old lady pull-up alongside of me and thanked me for wearing the vest as she could see me. ;-)

Last edited by tim24k; 03-16-13 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 03-16-13, 07:34 AM
  #6  
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1) brakes
2) blinky
3) helmet
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Old 03-16-13, 07:58 AM
  #7  
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-fluorescent yellow Canari shell, if it's raining or cold
-P7 flashlight on strobe (daytime) or solid (nighttime)
-Cygolite Hotshot, always in blink mode
-ContourHD helmet cam (if that counts?)

I suppose anything (including tires, etc) could be argued to be safety gear, but this is the gist of it.
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Old 03-16-13, 08:15 AM
  #8  
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Helmet, with two small coin cell type (Bontrager Ember) red blinkies and a bright headlight (Chinese MagicShine clone) on the helmet. I usually use just one blinky, the other is a backup, since the coin cell type go dead without warning.

On the bike, a very bright four-LED taillight (Knog V4 Pulse taillight) with another Ember red blinky - when the Knog runs out of charge, I don't want to be without a backup. A NiteRider Mini Newt headlight, pointed down to light up the road for 30 feet in front of the bike. White and red running light in the drop bar ends (TACX Lumos), these include blinking yellow turn signals too, but I don't use them much. And a white coin-cell blinky (Bontrager Glo) on the bar for when the Newt or helmet light are too bright (bike path, etc).

This is nine lights total, but I usually ride with just a few (Knog, Newt, Lumos, helmet red blinky). I save the helmet MagicShine-clone for tricky, trafficky, threatening situations. The rest are just backup lights.

Jacket is an old yellow Burley with a few reflective details. Bag has reflective tabs hanging from the buckles. I've put reflective tape on the helmet. Rain pants and booties have a few reflective bits at the ankles and feet.

And a Crane bell.

That's it.

I've looked into the Airzounds horn, but it is awfully bulky and my handlebars are too crowded already.

I'd like to mount GoPro cameras or similar, one rear-facing under the saddle, one forward-facing on my helmet. I've experimented with a cheap keychain type camera: nice enough video, but not good enough to resolve a license plate. Cost and dorkiness are the obstacles.
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Old 03-16-13, 08:29 AM
  #9  
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
  • No reflectors on bike, except for the reflective strip on the pannier.
Did you remove the reflectors from your bike?
Do you consider "no reflectors" to be a safety feature of your bike?
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Old 03-16-13, 11:53 AM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Did you remove the reflectors from your bike?
Do you consider "no reflectors" to be a safety feature of your bike?
The only reflectors on my bike were the one built into the old headlight, which was replaced by the B&M and a small round reflector on the rear mudguard (which is still there, and which of course I forgot about).

I prefer having multiple light sources, steady and flashing than to have a ton of cheap plastic reflectors. Reflectors work great only when the beam of light hits them head on, while good quality lights have a much greater range which they can be seen.
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Old 03-16-13, 12:35 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
Reflectors work great only when the beam of light hits them head on, while good quality lights have a much greater range which they can be seen.
Reflective tape is highly visible and can be seen from any angle. I have it on the front, rear and sides of my bikes. I can point a light beam at my bike from any direction or angle and still see it very clearly. I have no experience with plastic reflectors so I can't speak for them.
Sometimes I ride without lights and I rely only on my " safety traffic vest" which I wear over my regular dark clothing and reflective tape on my bike.
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Old 03-16-13, 12:45 PM
  #12  
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I've never used reflective tape, although I have seen good results from people here at B/F which have it on their bikes, and I'm pretty sure the curvature of the frame really helps with the angle. I still believe that good quality lighting, smartly placed is an absolute must in riding safely, especially in an urban environment where there's light pollution and it's hard to detect objects such as bicycles against background ambiance.
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Old 03-16-13, 12:59 PM
  #13  
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Assorted reflective bits, including sidewalls, and Bell Radian lights for "be seen." At the moment, I have a 200lm LED flashlight in a universal handlebar mount to see, plus a helmet mounted 100lm led light. Magicshine and Radbot 1000 on their way via UPS.

The yellow on the stem and seatpost are Giant reflector wristbands that I use as pants stays when I'm riding in regular pants.

GoPro on the helmet most of the time, as well.
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Old 03-16-13, 01:43 PM
  #14  
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Reflective sidewalls
Front/rear reflectors
orange reflectors on wheels
Reflective strips on panniers
Flourescent yellow vest
Headlight
red light on rear wheel spokes
bell for alerting pedestrians on paths


Vest definitely helps people see me, headlight helps me see in the dark.
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Old 03-16-13, 01:47 PM
  #15  
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I have lights on my bike, including a hub dynamo on one, but I don't really consider them to be "safety" equipment. Just equipment...like tires or brakes.

However, on certain routes where I'm particularly concerned about being seen, I will attach extra lights and sometimes wear a (reversible) fluorescent backpack with a loop for a blinkie. (This bag, actually: https://trafficconebag.blogspot.com/p...e-bag-101.html )
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Old 03-16-13, 03:14 PM
  #16  
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Front and rear LED blinkers, hi viz jacket, helmet, safety glasses...and my, wits!
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Old 03-16-13, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
The only reflectors on my bike were the one built into the old headlight, which was replaced by the B&M and a small round reflector on the rear mudguard (which is still there, and which of course I forgot about).

I prefer having multiple light sources, steady and flashing than to have a ton of cheap plastic reflectors. Reflectors work great only when the beam of light hits them head on, while good quality lights have a much greater range which they can be seen.
I agree that lights are better than reflectors, but reflectors are much better than lights that are not turned on, low on batteries or have a bad bulb or connection. Reflector movement that is unique to cycling as found in pedal reflectors is a real safety bonus.
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Old 03-16-13, 04:52 PM
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Totally agree, that's why I mentioned "good quality lights". I made the mistake of buying cheap lights and ended up paying an enormous amount of money on batteries and having to buy the lights again because they would fail with the first hint of rain.

When I first decided to buy a quality solution, the BB Flea 2, I felt like a total idiot having previously spent so much money for trash and also risking life and limb when those shoddy lights would fail in the middle of a nightly commute.
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Old 03-16-13, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
Totally agree, that's why I mentioned "good quality lights". I made the mistake of buying cheap lights and ended up paying an enormous amount of money on batteries and having to buy the lights again because they would fail with the first hint of rain.
This is why I like the Walmart Bell Radian set as a backup; bolted on, they're always there, and they've made it 3 years of mixed indoor/outdoor storage. Battery life is good enough on cheap Rayovac AAAs that I just keep a spare set in the seat bag. Can't see well with them, but for limping home at 8-9mph when other lights fail, they work just fine.
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Old 03-16-13, 06:15 PM
  #20  
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-blinkie on the back
-headlight or blinkie up front (depending on season and route)
-messenger bag is hi-viz yellow with reflective material down the middle
-reflective sidewalls
-safety glasses

-if helmet, it has reflective tape on all sides
-hi viz soft shell or rain jacket when needed.
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Old 03-16-13, 06:24 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by Telly View Post
Totally agree, that's why I mentioned "good quality lights". I made the mistake of buying cheap lights and ended up paying an enormous amount of money on batteries and having to buy the lights again because they would fail with the first hint of rain.
Good lights don't have to be super expensive. I have a couple of PB Superflash rear blinkies which are cheap, very bright and reliable. Batteries last a long time because I don't turn on the lights everytime I ride my bike. I only use the lights when I feel it's neccessary, depending on which route I ride.
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Old 03-16-13, 07:00 PM
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Helmet
Front & rear lights on busy streets, normally flashing
A few random bits of reflective tape & reflective sidewalls (soon to be reflective rims)
Mirror
Bell
Fenders so I am less inclined to swerve to avoid puddles
Wide, flat-resistant tires so I am less inclined to swerve around road hazards
Gloves so I don't scrape the skin off my hands if I end up sliding
Good brakes
On very cold days, an extremely obnoxiously bright flourescent green parka that makes me look like a cop. It's effective and I get an unusually wide berth.

And +1 to the wits.

Last edited by asmac; 03-16-13 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 03-16-13, 11:01 PM
  #23  
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The issue with reflectors is they only work when the car's headlights are illuminating you.

So, for instance, when the driver is about to right hook you, your reflectors are of no use, he hasn't headlights on the side of his car. When the driver is about to reverse over you in a parking lot or to grab a street parking spot, reflectors are also of no use. When the driver is about to change lanes into yours . . . you get the idea.
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Old 03-17-13, 04:07 AM
  #24  
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From head to toe, and nose to tail:

Safe Zone mirror mounted on helmet
extra long aftermarket visor mounted on helmet
(helps keep the sun, wind, & rain out of my eyes, as well as the occasional low hanging branch)
Planet Bike Blaze .5W helmet light
reflective tape on helmet
Planet Bike 3-H helmet specific rear blinky

either my prescription sunglasses or prescription "reading" glasses depending on ambient light
cycling gloves with padded leather palm

small reflector mounted on front of front rack
Lightweights spoke reflectors (tape type) (mounted on half the wheel for a more dramatic effect)
long Euro style reflectors on wheels (amber up front, red in rear)
Koolstop Salmon brake pads
3 watt "pot hole spotlight" mounted low up front when my commute is in the dark
Airzoundz air horn, mounted upside down to position the trigger right next to where my left thumb is
1.7 watt flashlight style bike-specific "be seen" flashing light mounted on the handlebars
(I can switch this over to solid on & aim it down in a second or two when I need more light to see)
bell, mounted right next to where my right thumb is
Soma bar end lights
reflective tape on bike frame
pedal reflectors (although I will be changing pedals soon, & the new ones might be lacking in this regard)
Mars 4.0 rear flasher, usually on my seatbag, sometimes on my seatpost (for those rare rides when I don't have the saddlebag mounted), but looking at maybe moving it to a Problem Solvers canti stud light mount
(this light is super bright, and love that it is visible from more than just directly to the rear, I set this to solid on when I am riding with my girlfriend, as it is blinding to her when she is riding behind me)
Portland Design Works Fenderbot tail light
reflective pinstriping on fenders (visible from rear and sides)
rear tire has a reflective sidewall as well, but that is a bonus, not a deal-breaker in a tire for me


I do rely on my lights and bike mounted reflectivity, all the clothes I wear for cycling are black as most of them aren't cycling-specific.


I need to take a better picture (this one was originally just for myself to see how well the reflective worked with my camera-phones' flash), but this illustrates good reflective tape:

About half the time I've got that Topeak trunk bag on the front rack, and as you can see in the photo it has a reflective strip that is quite effective as well. The rear tire is filthy, normally the reflective sidewalls are pretty striking too.

Last edited by Medic Zero; 03-17-13 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 03-17-13, 08:09 AM
  #25  
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2x Planet Bike 2w headlights
LED flashlight Fred mounted to my helmet
1x Planet Bike superflash aft
10' of reflective tape in various places on bike and helmet
bright yellow h20 proof jacket
stock red reflector aft, stock white reflector fore
some kind of eyewear between ski goggles or sunglasses depending on temp and light level
gloves - always some gloves
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