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Proper design rear safety light

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Proper design rear safety light

Old 10-17-20, 08:23 AM
  #1  
preventec47
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Proper design rear safety light

I have looked at a lot of battery powered red lights for bikes and in a dark room they all focus the light in a narrow beam on the wall which means cars etc off to the side will see a very dim view. I believe they should use a fresnel lens or curve the multiple leds to spread the beam pattern to be much wider. This seems like kindergarten stuff and they
should have thought about this. Anyone ever notice this ?

Last edited by preventec47; 10-18-20 at 10:28 PM.
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Old 10-17-20, 10:39 AM
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It's a trade off between focus and power. With a diffuse beam you would need more power to be visible at distance.
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Old 10-17-20, 10:51 AM
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I Ride on Streets. County Roads and Highways.

I want a Far Reaching Tail Light.
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Old 10-17-20, 11:44 AM
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In conditions like this, I want really bright lights with narrow beams straight behind me, narrow so a lot of the light is not wasted to the sides or above or below.



Same with conditions like this:

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Old 10-17-20, 11:59 AM
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You can have both far reaching and sideview. In fact, if you cannot be seen from the side, you're more likely to be hit from the side (and being sideswiped is not exactly a statistical anormaly).
Oh, and you don't actually want it pointed so it shines the longest way away. You will blind motorists (and fellow cyclists). Not exactly what you want.

Niterider in the US has their "Solas" light (I have had a couple of those through the years).

There are plenty to choose from here:
https://www.bike-components.de/en/ac...ht%20%28red%29

Or here:

https://www.bike24.com/Bike-Lights.h...1400,1410,1411

By law, here in Europe, both your front light and tail light should be able to be seen from the side too. And most countries here have rules about not blinding other traffic, so tail lights pointing (slightly) down, cut off on your headlight (a normal torch won't do), which also means it has to be either designed well, or pointed down (think "car headlights/tail lights).
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Old 10-17-20, 02:22 PM
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It's really not that hard. Buy a taillight. Any taillight. Call it good. I've been using the next to top of the line Planet Bike. I've bought a recumbent and for something that will be used in the daytime I am thinking of getting the top of the line Planet Bike rear flasher. ANYTHING from a major brand will work. There are side marker (amber color) flashers available now. If you are concerned about being seen from the side get a couple of those. Red is for the rear, white is forward, and amber is to the sides. It isn't accidental that a REAR flasher does not output that much light to the sides. It isn't supposed to.
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Old 10-17-20, 04:48 PM
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Most of the bikes I ride at night where I would be concerned about a driver not seeing me have reflective sidewall tires. Thus, I am not too concerned about not being seen from the side at night.

When bike touring, brevets, exercise rides on roads near home, etc., I almost always have a taillight on in daytime in flash mode. (I have not yet been where flashing lights are illegal, but I am aware that there are such places.) Usually it is a Planet Bike Superflash that has a narrow beam. But there have been times where I am going up and down and side to side on curvy hilly winding roads, I also have a Planet Bike Superflash 65 that has a much wider beam that I use on such days. Those lights run on AAA batteries, they look bright after a week of use but I always charge up the AAA batteries weekly when on a bike tour because I want them to stay bright.

I posted a couple photos above in poor visibility conditions where I am most concerned about not being seen. But, I am also concerned about days like in the photo below where it was winding and up and down, so a driver might not see you until they are only a couple hundred feet behind you, and with intermittent sun and shadow, the drivers are in and out of glare, the cyclists are periodically in shade where they are less visible. And to make things worse, the brush on the side of the road included a lot of thorn bushes that were encroaching into the traffic lane, so the cyclists were in the traffic lane all the time. In such places I really want a good flashing taillight, and I might have both my taillights on in the situation below, one has the wider beam but I am most reliant on the one with a narrow beam.

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Old 10-18-20, 01:10 AM
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Look at car headlights and rear lights. Ever wondered why there is, let's call it "wraparound" on those things? It's so you can tell the car is there from the side and which end is which. Most tail lights for bikes (bicycles) do this too.
As for flashing, fine if you do it by day. Not so good by night.
They are called rear lights because that is where they are placed. Not because they are only supposed to show themselves to the rear (i.e.not being visible at all from any angle except from straight from behind).

Here in Denmark, you are actually allowed "be seen" lights (as opposed to "see-where-you're-going" lights") if they blink. But they have to blink more than 120 times/minute.

In Germany they have a better rule: No blinkies allowed at all - neither front nor back. It has to be solid. Think about it: If blinkies were better, cars and motorcycles would use it. Hell, even traffic stop lights (as in the ones where roads meets) would use it. With blinkies, you can't judge the distance, but with a solid light you can. Of course, during the day, you can judge the distance because you can actually see the person with the blinky. Not so much at night.
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Old 10-18-20, 11:14 AM
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If cars are off to the side, do they need to be getting the full brunt of your tail light?

I will agree that generally the regulation and requirements for bicycle and even the lights on a car here in the USA are lagging 50 years behind the current technology that lets both motorized and non-motorized vehicle operators dazzle us with their light show. Even car manufacturers are putting a ridiculous amount of lighting on some vehicles.
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Old 10-18-20, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
If cars are off to the side, do they need to be getting the full brunt of your tail light?
No, and they wont. Not only are LEDs pretty directional, but modern tail lights with sideview doesn't have "the full brunt" shining to the sides. Just like car headlights and taillights don't do that either.


I will agree that generally the regulation and requirements for bicycle and even the lights on a car here in the USA are lagging 50 years behind the current technology that lets both motorized and non-motorized vehicle operators dazzle us with their light show. Even car manufacturers are putting a ridiculous amount of lighting on some vehicles.
Doesn't mean we should then try to blind people a mile away either. I am for cut-offs, and for not blinding people with your laser-like tail light. On the other hand, I am also for having lights that can also be seen from the side (which is very different to illuminating the side area). In other words: I would oppose the side view idea if it meant having tail lights pointing to the sides as well. That's not how modern and safe tail lights (or headlights) work, though.
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Old 10-18-20, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by CargoDane View Post
Look at car headlights and rear lights. Ever wondered why there is, let's call it "wraparound" on those things? It's so you can tell the car is there from the side and which end is which. Most tail lights for bikes (bicycles) do this too.
As for flashing, fine if you do it by day. Not so good by night.
They are called rear lights because that is where they are placed. Not because they are only supposed to show themselves to the rear (i.e.not being visible at all from any angle except from straight from behind).

Here in Denmark, you are actually allowed "be seen" lights (as opposed to "see-where-you're-going" lights") if they blink. But they have to blink more than 120 times/minute.

In Germany they have a better rule: No blinkies allowed at all - neither front nor back. It has to be solid. Think about it: If blinkies were better, cars and motorcycles would use it. Hell, even traffic stop lights (as in the ones where roads meets) would use it. With blinkies, you can't judge the distance, but with a solid light you can. Of course, during the day, you can judge the distance because you can actually see the person with the blinky. Not so much at night.
I don't know of a single taillight made that cannot be seen AT ALL from the side. I didn't think it was necessary to point that out. However, my point remains, side marker location is not the PRIMARY function of a taillight. Blinkies are in fact used by motorcycles. Most motorcycles strobe the taillights for a second or two upon actuation before settling to a steady 'on', and these kinds of lights can be bought by car owners if they want to spend the extra money. Most don't because regular lights work well enough. You show me the first responder vehicle that doesn't have every turn signal, brake light, side marker light and even headlights that don't flash. Just standing still on a call these vehicles look like the Mothership from 'First Encounters of the First Kind'. A cyclist in Germany where taillights are not allowed to be flashing still has better safety metrics than a US cyclist, because German drivers are much less likely to behave aggressively or obliviously to the presence of a bicycle nearby. A car does NOT have to know to a first decimal degree of accuracy how fast a cyclist is traveling. All they need to know is that a cyclist is present on the road. A flashing taillight says 'cyclist!' like nothing else can. That's just the way it is. It is absolutely the motorists responsibility to then properly track the strobing signal from the flashing taillight and it is easily done. What, you don't think these things were tested? A cyclist that fails to utilize the flashing potential of their taillight is throwing away a significant potential of the device to enhance their visibility. At night. In the daytime, there is much more visibility potential in a $35 hi-viz shell or jersey that would be hard to duplicate with anything less than a $150 top of the line taillight.
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Old 10-18-20, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Leisesturm View Post
I don't know of a single taillight made that cannot be seen AT ALL from the side. I didn't think it was necessary to point that out. However, my point remains, side marker location is not the PRIMARY function of a taillight. Blinkies are in fact used by motorcycles. Most motorcycles strobe the taillights for a second or two upon actuation before settling to a steady 'on', and these kinds of lights can be bought by car owners if they want to spend the extra money. Most don't because regular lights work well enough. You show me the first responder vehicle that doesn't have every turn signal, brake light, side marker light and even headlights that don't flash. Just standing still on a call these vehicles look like the Mothership from 'First Encounters of the First Kind'. A cyclist in Germany where taillights are not allowed to be flashing still has better safety metrics than a US cyclist, because German drivers are much less likely to behave aggressively or obliviously to the presence of a bicycle nearby. A car does NOT have to know to a first decimal degree of accuracy how fast a cyclist is traveling. All they need to know is that a cyclist is present on the road. A flashing taillight says 'cyclist!' like nothing else can. That's just the way it is. It is absolutely the motorists responsibility to then properly track the strobing signal from the flashing taillight and it is easily done. What, you don't think these things were tested? A cyclist that fails to utilize the flashing potential of their taillight is throwing away a significant potential of the device to enhance their visibility. At night. In the daytime, there is much more visibility potential in a $35 hi-viz shell or jersey that would be hard to duplicate with anything less than a $150 top of the line taillight.
Go look up regulations on cars, motorcycles, and lights for bikes. Having side visibility to a specified degree is key in most civilised countries. Both on bikes, motorcycles, and cars. And both for the headlights and tail lights.

I am not talking about a wide beam as you seem to suggest.

You also say it's the motorist "responsibility" to track a strobe light. You do know that a detached strobe is impossible to "track" (distance), right, and that that is the background for the various laws either saying it should strobe super fast or not strobe at all. You don't see strobing headlights or tail lights on cars or motorcycles for a reason. You don't have strobes on boats and ships either, but solid beams all around.

As for your emergency vehicle, you will notice that they don't actually strobe: Most of them rotate, or their "strobe" is synced so there is never "not" a light on. They don't go dark-light-dark-light etc., AND they have solid beam lights in addition to that, as well as solid-beam work lights.

You don't need a "$150 top of the line taillight" to be seen - I've already posted links to a couple of places who sells tail lights. Find me even a $12 dollar tail light that doesn't have side visibility on those pages.

And you begin to talk about daytime lights.. I don't actually use a light during daytime. Only during the dark, fog, or otherwise reduced visibility. I am saying that a strobe at night is dangerous because the motorist will only see a detached strobe, but that in daylight, the motorist can actually see the person with the strobe (as in "the person" or "bike") and not a detached strobe.

Seriously, next you'll be telling me it is also safer to use a strobing and blinding headlight because it will get you noticed better.

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Old 10-18-20, 06:08 PM
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Horses for courses. On my commute, I ride through a small city with many intersections and cross streets; that bike has a tail light with good side-lighting. For training rides, I am out in a very rural countryside with long straight roads and no worries from the sides; for those bikes, I am currently using a Bontrager Flare RT tail light, which has an intense, narrowly-focused beam so that motorists can see me from a great distance.

If I am doing a long training ride which combines quiet country roads and busier streets, I will just put both types of lights on the bike. This is when it helps to have lights with stretchy rubber mounts rather than permanent mounts, so they can easily be moved around among bikes.
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Old 10-18-20, 06:23 PM
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Serfas did intentionally think of this with their Vulcan series, taking inspiration from the taillight design of the car of the same name.

A dark room is not the place to test lights unless youíre riding in dark rooms exclusively.

If youíre out on sunny days, test out in the sun, test from at least ten carlengths away.

Iíve amassed an obnoxious collection of lights, adding to it with every close call. When my shop finally had one show up on the rack that was labeled with ď350 lumensĒ instead of the paltry 40-90 lumens that most of my already acquired lights websites boast them having, I jumped at it.

Finally, this weekend I did a noontime parking lot shootout with various configurations of all of my lights steady & blinking, imagining being in a car that has three cars between me and this bicycle and Iím listening to music and texting someone important in my little life.

The Vulcan 350 is the only one that is actually brighter than my sunlit red fizik Arione tri2.

Seriously, with the Vulcan off and six other lights on their full bright steady setting, straight behind my bike, my saddle was the brightest part of my bike.

I sat and said prayers of gratitude for having lived through so much riding without that V350.

I hate telling people to buy Serfas stuff because most of it is fragile as egg shells, but the Vulcan seems maybe as durable as a pencil but is legitimately vehicle-bright at as much of a degrees-from-center spread as you might need in most traffic situations. Absolutely worth ditching a saddlebag in favor of a barbag to make room for it on the seatpost.

I really think anything less bright than this light should be banned due to giving cyclists dangerously neglectful overconfidence in their visibility.

It might be overkill on country rides, but in-town commuting with only-poop-at-home/entitled drivers...

Youíre a vehicle. Be lit as such.

I donít think a super wide spread is necessary on the rear unless your streets/roads have V shaped merge-ins, but do think that when commuting in town, serious Mercedes-DRL brightness needs to be shot up to 70 degrees from center on the front for drivers trying to merge in or turn across your path and theyíre doing the rapid leftrightleftright look hoping to find an opening to stomp their throttle into. They arenít having steady enough focus for you to guarantee that itíll sync up with any intermittent lights.

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Old 10-18-20, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM View Post
Serfas did intentionally think of this with their Vulcan series, taking inspiration from the taillight design of the car of the same name.

A dark room is not the place to test lights unless youíre riding in dark rooms exclusively.

If youíre out on sunny days, test out in the sun, test from at least ten carlengths away.

Iíve amassed an obnoxious collection of lights, adding to it with every close call. When my shop finally had one show up on the rack that was labeled with ď350 lumensĒ instead of the paltry 40-90 lumens that most of my already acquired lights websites boast them having, I jumped at it.

Finally, this weekend I did a noontime parking lot shootout with various configurations of all of my lights steady & blinking, imagining being in a car that has three cars between me and this bicycle and Iím listening to music and texting someone important in my little life.

The Vulcan 350 is the only one that is actually brighter than my sunlit red fizik Arione tri2.

Seriously, with the Vulcan off and six other lights on their full bright steady setting, straight behind my bike, my saddle was the brightest part of my bike.

I sat and said prayers of gratitude for having lived through so much riding without that V350.

I hate telling people to buy Serfas stuff because most of it is fragile as egg shells, but the Vulcan seems maybe as durable as a pencil but is legitimately vehicle-bright at as much of a degrees-from-center spread as you might need in most traffic situations. Absolutely worth ditching a saddlebag in favor of a barbag to make room for it on the seatpost.

I really think anything less bright than this light should be banned due to giving cyclists dangerously neglectful overconfidence in their visibility.

It might be overkill on country rides, but in-town commuting with only-poop-at-home/entitled drivers...

Youíre a vehicle. Be lit as such.

I donít think a super wide spread is necessary on the rear unless your streets/roads have V shaped merge-ins, but do think that when commuting in town, serious Mercedes-DRL brightness needs to be shot up to 70 degrees from center on the front for drivers trying to merge in or turn across your path and theyíre doing the rapid leftrightleftright look hoping to find an opening to stomp their throttle into. They arenít having steady enough focus for you to guarantee that itíll sync up with any intermittent lights.
350 lumens is certainly bright. Maybe too bright. You do want to be noticed, but you donít want to blind motorists.
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Old 10-18-20, 10:11 PM
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Add more taillights for enhanced visibility.

I use Cygolite Hotshots on the seat post for the narrow, intensely bright beam. And Cygolite Hotrod on the seat stay for the wider dispersion. Both are very light, compact, reliable and long lasting per charge.

And I wear flat compact lights on my helmet. Helps drivers quickly guesstimate my relative orientation and speed.
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Old 10-19-20, 06:30 AM
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The taillights should not flash, because the driver can’t judge the distance
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Old 10-19-20, 06:38 AM
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What if the drivers are coming at 65 MPH.?
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Old 10-19-20, 06:51 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
What if the drivers are coming at 65 MPH.?
What do you mean? Does that change anything, except closing speeds and therefore the driver's time to react?
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Old 10-19-20, 07:23 AM
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all the lights I have have side lights build in the headlight and taillights all have lights on the sides too. the main light is directional but they have is lights.
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Old 10-19-20, 10:44 AM
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I have three tail lights. Two different plant bike super flashes, one other one (I forget what it is). I have three because I see them go dim fast when the batteries are low. The last ride for a set of batteries might start looking bright and be dim when I get home. So with three, at least one of the lights is bright. I also use a helmet mounted light in addition to the handle bar mounted light. Mostly to look for Ninja runners. I also wear a Noxgear vest. My early am rides go thru my residential area. A lot of drivers roll the stop signs, so the vest makes me visible on the side. Also it is higher up then my headlights and tail lights. I have not had any issues with the people that roll the stop signs in the year or so I've been using it. It does burn batteries very fast. So I use rechargeable batteries for it.
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Old 10-19-20, 12:24 PM
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Ordered this rechargeable light from Amazon and it has surpassed all my expectations.
6 flashing modes, charges in 2.5 hours - and is fin shaped for visibility on 3 sides.
It may be just what you are looking for:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...rch_asin_title
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