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A Possible New Bicycle Safety Lighting System - Your Opinions Please

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A Possible New Bicycle Safety Lighting System - Your Opinions Please

Old 07-03-19, 08:04 AM
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BobKl
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A Possible New Bicycle Safety Lighting System - Your Opinions Please

Research has demonstrated (see http://tyrrell.people.clemson.edu/Tyrrell_CV.pdf ) both pedestrians and bicyclists are made more visible and less conspicuous at night to people driving motor vehicles if the pedestrian/bicyclist are lit up, especially if the light highlights the motion of the pedestrian/bicyclist. Pedestrian/bicyclist can currently buy and wear reflective clothing to make themselves more visible (in a passive manner) to approaching motor vehicles. However, some think wearing these types of clothing are cumbersome and bothersome, especially on hot summer’s nights. As a result of these research observations and the less than desirable use of reflective clothing I believe that there is a need to light up the bicycle and bicyclist in a more active manner that is less cumbersome. Also, lighting up both the bicycle and bicyclist increases their visible surface area versus the small surface area of the (legally required) front white and back red lights.

In response to this need for added safety while bicycling at night I have devised a new bicycle lighting system that emits 200 lumens of amber/yellow light (an internationally recognized color indicating “warning” or “caution”) onto the bicycle and bicyclist (but not their face) simultaneously. This strength of light allows a bicyclist to be visible from about 150 feet away before a motorist ever reaches the bicyclist (i.e., more time for the motorist to react to the presence of a bicyclist). And while front and rear lights on a bicycle appear as small light clutter at night to a motor vehicle driver, this new lighting system increases the surface area of the bicyclist for 360 degree visibility (and is an active system versus the passive system of reflective clothing).

This device has a battery that lasts for about 4 hours, it is no bigger than existing bicycle lights, and would sell for about what it costs to buy a reflective bicycling jacket (which does not light up the moving legs of a bicyclist). Also, reflective anklets and shoes appear as small spots of lights to a motor vehicle driver, while my proposed device lights up the entire legs, thus increasing the lit up (visible) surface area.

I have included a few Youtube videos here that illustrates this new bicycle lighting system:




Also you can look at these photos …









What do you think of this as a device to enhance safety for cycling at night?

Last edited by BobKl; 07-04-19 at 01:46 PM.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:08 AM
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I got lost at
made more visible and less conspicuous at night
.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:29 AM
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I read the entire post, watched the videos, looked at the photo and am still unsure of what the product actually is or does.

Is this a light which shines back on the cyclists as they ride? If so, then no.

It doesn't matter where it is mounted or whether it shines at the cyclist from the front, rear, sides or underneath. Bike mounted lights need to point away from the cyclist, not at the cyclist. Bike mounted lights which shine at the cyclist are inherently unsafe.


-Tim-
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Old 07-03-19, 08:44 AM
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My opinion: increasing safety for cyclists should emphasize and focus on proper cycling infrastructure, such as better roads, better traffic management, and segregated lanes for cyclists (not combined bus & cycle lanes).
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Old 07-03-19, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I read the entire post, watched the videos, looked at the photo and am still unsure of what the product actually is or does.

Is this a light which shines back on the cyclists as they ride? If so, then no.

It doesn't matter where it is mounted or whether it shines at the cyclist from the front, rear, sides or underneath. Bike mounted lights need to point away from the cyclist, not at the cyclist. Bike mounted lights which shine at the cyclist are inherently unsafe.


-Tim-
This light does not shine on the bicyclist's face, just the body and legs, and does not pose any inherent danger. I have tested that aspect explicitly.
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Old 07-03-19, 11:05 AM
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I think the intent here much like the job of reflectors, except you don't need a light source is that correct?
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Old 07-04-19, 01:53 PM
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Yes, it can replace reflectors, which act as single small points of light, but my idea can also be an addition to reflectors. But my idea lights up much of the bike and cyclist so the surface area of the light that a motor vehicle driver would see is much larger than what would be seen from reflectors, and the intensity of the visible light would essentially be the same.
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Old 07-04-19, 01:55 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I read the entire post, watched the videos, looked at the photo and am still unsure of what the product actually is or does.

Is this a light which shines back on the cyclists as they ride? If so, then no.

It doesn't matter where it is mounted or whether it shines at the cyclist from the front, rear, sides or underneath. Bike mounted lights need to point away from the cyclist, not at the cyclist. Bike mounted lights which shine at the cyclist are inherently unsafe.


-Tim-
The light of oncoming vehicles and other bicyclists front lamps would be far more hazardous than any stray light from my lighting idea.
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Old 07-04-19, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BobKl View Post
This light does not shine on the bicyclist's face, just the body and legs, and does not pose any inherent danger. I have tested that aspect explicitly.
There is no need to illuminate the cyclist. We don't need lights shining at our legs. Automobiles do not have lights shining back at the automobile to identify them as such, nor do motorcycles.

You may have tested it but I find it difficult to believe that the peripheral, ambient light alone would be enough to reduce the riders ability to see other things. It looks to me like the light is shining in the rider's face.



What about when the rider gets in the drops?

You asked for feedback. I would not buy it. If you believe there is a market then by all means, go ahead. A close up photo of the actual product would be a requirement for most people however. We have yet to see what the product actually looks like.


-Tim-

Last edited by TimothyH; 07-04-19 at 04:51 PM.
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Old 07-04-19, 04:50 PM
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Thumbs up

👍👍👍
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Old 07-04-19, 04:54 PM
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Lighting system reminds me a little bit of that old Grunewald painting.

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Old 07-04-19, 08:41 PM
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^^ Thank you for this. Do you have an info about it or a link?

The OP's photos remind me of the neon lights inside the wheel wells and underneath automobiles. I don't say this to denigrate. It's just what it reminds me of.


-Tim-
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Old 07-05-19, 06:11 AM
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I have thought about putting an led strip under the dowtube to provide side lighting on my commuter bike. I only see a need for it in urban areas. But really, the thing that will keep a rider safe from cars approaching from the side is a helmet light. Drivers in this area are not prepared to stop for a stop sign if they didn't see headlights approaching from the side. Bicycle headlights just don't cut it for this, so they get a helmet light in the face.
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Old 07-05-19, 06:28 AM
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Novel idea. Needs additional work, however.
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Old 07-05-19, 07:59 AM
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regarding your statement:
Research has demonstrated (see http://tyrrell.people.clemson.edu/Tyrrell_CV.pdf ) both pedestrians and bicyclists are made more visible and less conspicuous at night to people driving motor vehicles if the pedestrian/bicyclist are lit up, especially if the light highlights the motion of the pedestrian/bicyclist.
... it would be helpful if you provided a link to the research instead of the researcher's resume. As such, there is little evidence that a problem exists.

If it could be shown that a problem does exist, the next step would be to identify a number of different potential solutions to the problem. In this case, one particular type of solution is latched onto and evaluated. We don't know how well it works relative to other possible solutions.

For example, perhaps some amber side lights would be a solution? Maybe they would be more effective? i.e. for a given amount of power or size or weight, would they make the cyclist more visible?

It is also possible that alternate solutions would avoid shortcomings of the "illuminate the rider" method?

My personal experience suggests that conventional bike lights don't address the issue of side visibility. When I've built my own dynamo lights, they tend to throw a bit of light to the sides (a result of using optics instead of reflectors to focus the LED's light). The headlight is mounted to a fork blade, where some of this side light shines on the wheel and spokes, increasing the visibility to the side.

So what are your plans for this?
Just going to use it yourself, or are there plans to build and sell this design?


Steve in Peoria
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Old 07-05-19, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by eja_ bottecchia View Post
Novel idea. Needs additional work, however.
Would you happen to have any suggestion(s) for additional "work"?
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Old 07-05-19, 01:41 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy View Post
regarding your statement:


... it would be helpful if you provided a link to the research instead of the researcher's resume. As such, there is little evidence that a problem exists.

If it could be shown that a problem does exist, the next step would be to identify a number of different potential solutions to the problem. In this case, one particular type of solution is latched onto and evaluated. We don't know how well it works relative to other possible solutions.

For example, perhaps some amber side lights would be a solution? Maybe they would be more effective? i.e. for a given amount of power or size or weight, would they make the cyclist more visible?

It is also possible that alternate solutions would avoid shortcomings of the "illuminate the rider" method?

My personal experience suggests that conventional bike lights don't address the issue of side visibility. When I've built my own dynamo lights, they tend to throw a bit of light to the sides (a result of using optics instead of reflectors to focus the LED's light). The headlight is mounted to a fork blade, where some of this side light shines on the wheel and spokes, increasing the visibility to the side.

So what are your plans for this?
Just going to use it yourself, or are there plans to build and sell this design?


Steve in Peoria
Steve,

It is not that there is a "problem", but that if one likes/needs to cycle at night, then their research demonstrates that to improve visibility of the cyclists' presence (by up to 50%) that lighting up the cyclists' body, and especially the moving legs, would achieve this improvement. How one achieves this added lighting can be done with either (active) lighting system (as I suggest) or (passive) reflectors and reflective clothing. But the reflectors only light up a very small portion of the cyclist's legs and reflective clothing is cumbersome to wear (especially in warm summer nights). So if you feel confident in using reflectors go ahead, but for (research) proven visibility enhancement I would use an active lighting system.

And what shortcomings are you referring to regarding "illuminating the rider"? As long as you do not light up the rider's face (as happens with oncoming motor vehicles or other cyclist's front (white) headlamps) there is no problem.
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Old 07-05-19, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BobKl View Post
...especially if the light highlights the motion of the pedestrian/bicyclist. Pedestrian/bicyclist can currently buy and wear reflective clothing to make themselves more visible (in a passive manner) to approaching motor vehicles. However, some think wearing these types of clothing are cumbersome and bothersome, especially on hot summer’s nights.
The light directed at the cyclists seems not to be very effective at "highlighting the motion of the pedestrian/bicyclist".

The following seems to do better at highlighting movement and it isn't "cumbersome and bothersome" (on any night).

https://www.amazon.com/Jogalite-Cros...reation&sr=1-1

At anything but fairly-close range, it seems the wash light would be a confusing muddle. It also might reduce the effectiveness of the rear light because it reduces contrast.

Last edited by njkayaker; 07-05-19 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 07-05-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by BobKl View Post
Would you happen to have any suggestion(s) for additional "work"?
I haven't thought about it in detail. But you should look at the comments made by the others here. Good luck.
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Old 07-05-19, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by BobKl View Post
Steve,

It is not that there is a "problem", but that if one likes/needs to cycle at night, then their research demonstrates that to improve visibility of the cyclists' presence (by up to 50%) that lighting up the cyclists' body, and especially the moving legs, would achieve this improvement. How one achieves this added lighting can be done with either (active) lighting system (as I suggest) or (passive) reflectors and reflective clothing. But the reflectors only light up a very small portion of the cyclist's legs and reflective clothing is cumbersome to wear (especially in warm summer nights). So if you feel confident in using reflectors go ahead, but for (research) proven visibility enhancement I would use an active lighting system.

And what shortcomings are you referring to regarding "illuminating the rider"? As long as you do not light up the rider's face (as happens with oncoming motor vehicles or other cyclist's front (white) headlamps) there is no problem.
regarding the term "problem".... it was meant to refer to what was being fixed, or perhaps improved. If someone is going to spend money on something, it is usually because some aspect of the current configuration is considered less than adequate.
So... can you define what you consider "less than adequate", and describe what level of performance you are seeking?
I'll go out on a limb and say that you find your side visibility to be in need of improvement. Fair enough.
You've referenced the research again, but haven't shared a link to the results yet. Did they evaluate various methods of improving side visibility, or just look at one method?

You mention side reflectors. I do use some, but I've also provided a couple of ways of making my lights shed light to the sides (see my earlier post). I've also experimented with amber side lights, and I think they help with side visibility.

Regarding potential problems with shining lights on the rider... I'm not saying they exist. Mostly, I'm saying that there is a potential for problems.
One that comes to mind is the increase of ambient light in the rider's field of view, and the chance that this could reduce the rider's adaptation to darkness and the attendant loss of effectiveness of the bike's headlight.

So what are your plans for this lighting method? Personal use, or some plans to sell it?


Steve in Peoria
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Old 07-05-19, 06:06 PM
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I don't ride in the middle of the night so I am probably not part of your test market. I do ride in early morning and into the dusk though. I am more comfortable with being seen by cars when my lights are flashing. To me, flashing also implies caution. I use my lights throughout the day and the flashing in front and back helps a lot with visibility. I haven't considered side visibility very much. If I am at an intersection I am watching the cross traffic very carefully.

I hope this helps.
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