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Synchronized Lighting Systems for Safety

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Synchronized Lighting Systems for Safety

Old 05-02-20, 04:37 PM
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Hildydog89
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Synchronized Lighting Systems for Safety

Anybody have experience with synchronized light systems (with more than one taillight)? Better: does anybody have scientifically sound evidence on synchronized lighting systems for safety? By "safety," I mean lighting intended to keep us from getting hit by drivers--not illumination for night riding, necessarily. Though for taillights I'm not sure I would understand much difference between situations except for night riding involving the "competition" for attention by other lights--especially in urban settings. I'm mostly riding daytime by far, and at night stay almost exclusively on bike paths (not even bike lanes).

I'm considering the rather expensive set from Arsenal. (And no, I don't know the inventor and owner--though I ride with a guy who rides with him and uses these lights.) Looking for more than surmise here, and would also be interested in any brand of a similar approach--if indeed the claims hold up. Here's my quick understanding of the logic for such systems:
  1. Two or even three rear lights (such as back of helmet, seatpost, and seat stay nearest traffic--left side in the U.S.A.), allow drivers coming up from behind to judge their distance from you.
  2. Blinking lights attract attention. If not synchronized, multiple blinking lights would of course work against a motorist's ability to judge your position as they close distance toward you.
  3. By analogy, warning lights for aviation (radio towers, runway identification, etc.) use multiple synchronized lights.
Counter-arguments would of course include "faulty analogy" (texting drivers ain't professional pilots), "target fixation," etc.

Open minded here and posting first time, and appreciate any helpful responses.
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Old 05-04-20, 12:30 PM
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Without any investigation, I just assume that non-synchronized make me more noticeable. I sometime use two taillights that blink at different rates. Maybe that's dumb, but so far, I'm still alive.
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Old 05-04-20, 03:55 PM
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I don't worry about synchronizing flashing lights. I just use whatever I have available. My theory is two or more lights are better than one, and it's the physical separation that helps drivers quickly estimate our distance, direction, speed, etc. Unlike motorcycles we usually can't separate lights horizontally, but can mount them on the bike and helmet. That's what I do.

A few years ago I noticed folks riding around town with bike and helmet lights. They really popped into attention amid a cluttered background. That persuaded me to do the same.

But the best attention getter is wheel lights. Those colorful LED wheel lights beat anything else I've seen in many solo and group nighttime rides. The wheel lights don't even need to be particularly bright. Cyclists are often practically invisible from the sides, even when they have head and tail lights. Wheel lights solve that problem. I've noticed that many times as a passenger in motor vehicles, seeing other cyclists.

Synchronized lights sound appealing for fastidious detail oriented people but in practical application I doubt it matters as much as having two or more lights of any kind.
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Old 05-04-20, 04:13 PM
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Agreed about wheel lights. I have a Nite Ize Spoke Lit on my rear wheel. It's not bright but it's a great attention getter at night. I don't have one in front because it distracts me too much. It uses two CR2016 cells. I don't know how long it runs. I have to replace them every few months. On a 1200k you should bring two or four spare cells. And you can run it on a single CR2032 cell with reduced brightness and double the time. I've done it when I ran out of CR2016 cells.
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Old 05-04-20, 09:03 PM
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Two tail lights - one steady (better for motorists to gauge distance) and one flashing (to get motorists' attention). No synchronization required.

Those wheel lights are cool-looking, but seem mostly of use in denser urban areas to avoid getting t-boned. I'm more worried about getting run down by an overtaking vehicle, hence tail lights are my main concern.
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Old 05-06-20, 09:47 AM
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@KOTote, wheel lights grab attention from behind and ahead as well as from the side. I've been told by people on the road. I also see them on other people's bikes.

Sometimes I wear an ankle band that lights up, too. I got them for like $2/each on ebay. The ankle moves up and down when you pedal, so ...
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Old 05-06-20, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Two tail lights - one steady (better for motorists to gauge distance) and one flashing (to get motorists' attention). No synchronization required.
I agree with this, and that's how my bike is set up. Solid dyno and flashing battery. I have experienced the disorienting effect of blinking lights myself. I usually find the blinking pattern that never fully goes dark, if a light has one.

I have seen people riding without lights only because of their pedal reflectors, but those disappear very easily. I'm not sure I would count on a wheel light being noticed from behind, but it can't hurt in combination with other lights.
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Old 05-06-20, 12:37 PM
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Seeing this thread title (again) reminded me of an interview I heard with Christine Legarde, the European Central Bank head, a while back. She was a synchronized swimmer when she was younger. She argued very persuasively that synchronized swimmers should not shave their legs so the leg hair will help keep track of where the body is located.

So, don't shave your legs for synchronized swimming. Bicyclists are split. Should a cyclist with synchronized bike lighting shave their legs or not?

(Yes, I've been out of the office far too long!)
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Old 05-27-20, 12:19 PM
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Update--and end of thread? Bought the lights from Arsenal, and again, I have no connection to Thomas ___? except a riding partner who know him somewhat. The lights are nicely compact, water resistant, and come with a single USB charging cord that connects to all four (one headlight and three taillights: helmet, seat post, and seat stay). They're easy to program, and hold a charge (supposedly) up to 20 hours, depending on the blinking you choose. "Thomas" included a hand-written note that they were already charged for about a four hour ride--as if I were so covid-containment crazy that I needed to get out with them before charging them. (Not a stretch, really.)

Anyway, I won't include a link lest anybody mistake me for a stooge here, but they're easy to find. For four lights so well-designed, they don't seem too expensive to me compared to other options. Taking them out for a second spin today.

Thanks for y'all's thoughts on this.
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Old 06-17-20, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@KOTote, wheel lights grab attention from behind and ahead as well as from the side. I've been told by people on the road. I also see them on other people's bikes.

Sometimes I wear an ankle band that lights up, too. I got them for like $2/each on ebay. The ankle moves up and down when you pedal, so ...
I never tried it, but I’ve always thought the combination of ankle lights and knee lights would catch others’ attention. Also a reflective stripe along the arm and one along the leg.
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Old 06-17-20, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
I never tried it, but I’ve always thought the combination of ankle lights and knee lights would catch others’ attention. Also a reflective stripe along the arm and one along the leg.
I saw an Australian study that showed that ankles, knees, and elbows are the places for these. I can't be bothered to take care of all of them. At night, when I'm wearing long pants, I'll use reflective trouser bands. I don't know how I can wear something on the knee and be comfortable. Maybe it would be OK if it's very stretchy and not very tight.
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