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What is a good choice of lights for visibility from the side?

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Old 12-09-11, 01:27 AM
  #26  
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Its insane the number of people who talk on the phone or text message while driving. Statistics show that a huge number of accidents are known to have been caused by cellphone use while driving. And those known cases are probably just the tip of the iceberg, its clearly even worse!

Originally Posted by catonec View Post
I hate to tell you this but the guy who almost hit you just wasnt paying attention. You already have 3 lights on your bike. if he didnt see those, then he wasnt looking at you anyway. dont waste your cash on more plastic swag just ride more offensively.
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Old 12-09-11, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by catonec View Post
I hate to tell you this but the guy who almost hit you just wasnt paying attention. You already have 3 lights on your bike. if he didnt see those, then he wasnt looking at you anyway. dont waste your cash on more plastic swag just ride more offensively.
I don't know the specifics of the incident the OP describes, but I would like to relate my own experience here. I drive my son to the bus stop at 6:30AM, right before I get on my bike for my 12.5 mile bike commute. There are lots of bike commuters in my neighborhood and I assure you that, as one of them, I am very vigilant. I have had 2 near misses with cyclists in the last 3 months. 1 was a guy with no lights at all, we all know that is a bad idea. The 2nd was someone crossing an intersection as I was turning left. A car coming the opposite direction had just passed through the intersection. She had headlights and taillights, but I was looking at her from the side. In the midst of all the other lights from cars, streetlights etc. her headlight was indistinct. I am certain that if she had bright lights in her wheels or along the side of her bike I would have seen her. Remember that drivers confront a very wide dynamic range of illumination, if you have just driven past oncoming headlights and are now in near darkness, it can be easy to miss an oblique or dim light.
FWIW I am now getting illuminated spoke lights and maybe some EL wire for the fork.
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Old 12-09-11, 06:03 PM
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If the driver is not looking, there's potential trouble.
In my case, I assume they are not looking and have a bright flashlight on my helmet. I use it to give cars in a dangerous position a quick flash in the eyes hoping it will get their attention. I also made a side diffuser for my MS headlight so that there is a visible patch of light from either side at about any angle. Some drivers have tunnel vision, they will not see you no matter what.
I used bike glow (EL wire) for a season, it is not very bright.
The monkey electric light is visible, I see it once in a while, it's quite eye catching, don't know about the reliability, etc...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_OruEb6JZfM
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Old 12-09-11, 11:16 PM
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The LBS ordered in some Bike Glows so I got one. I agree with buzzbee, it's pretty dim. My Fibre Flare would've walked all over the Bike Glow. A cheaper similar light is the BikeBrightz light bar, which isn't fully omnidirectional but still gets the job done.
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Old 12-09-11, 11:40 PM
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Cold cathode lights are a form of fluorescent tube that is popular with low riders and the case mod/overclocking crowd.

http://images.google.com/search?q=CcFL+light+kit

But I would want one that didn't shine in my own eyes.

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Old 12-10-11, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by drbenjamin View Post
I don't know the specifics of the incident the OP describes, but I would like to relate my own experience here. I drive my son to the bus stop at 6:30AM, right before I get on my bike for my 12.5 mile bike commute. There are lots of bike commuters in my neighborhood and I assure you that, as one of them, I am very vigilant. I have had 2 near misses with cyclists in the last 3 months. 1 was a guy with no lights at all, we all know that is a bad idea. The 2nd was someone crossing an intersection as I was turning left. A car coming the opposite direction had just passed through the intersection. She had headlights and taillights, but I was looking at her from the side. In the midst of all the other lights from cars, streetlights etc. her headlight was indistinct. I am certain that if she had bright lights in her wheels or along the side of her bike I would have seen her. Remember that drivers confront a very wide dynamic range of illumination, if you have just driven past oncoming headlights and are now in near darkness, it can be easy to miss an oblique or dim light.
FWIW I am now getting illuminated spoke lights and maybe some EL wire for the fork.
Yes, this is a good description of the problem I'm trying to solve. I have good lights but they are not always visible to the driver coming from the side. There is simply not enough spillage at enough of an angle away from forward. I am currently thinking of lights you attach to your valve stem and little lights, maybe something like Knogs, for the fork blades. And yes, I do ride defensively as well.
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Old 12-10-11, 09:02 PM
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Motion is worth a lot in terms of triggering the brain to notice.

Also, the higher you can get lights, perhaps even the eye level in an SUV, the better..

Most trucks and US-style big SUVs all have lights high on the back center now. Around 2 meters, i.e. 6 or 7 feet above the ground.

Maybe a tall fiberglass pole with lights on/around it would break the driving trance state?
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Old 12-11-11, 11:15 PM
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One thing I'm thinking of is to use color as a differentiator - red and white lights are ubiquitous on the roads. A green or purple, or even yellow light would likely stand out, as long as it was bright. Blue is illegal around here (so I am told). Those Fiber Flares described above look like just the ticket, maybe try to mount it in front of the headtube ...
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Old 12-12-11, 12:13 PM
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What is a good choice of lights for visibility from the side?


My own experience suggests that a helmet mounted light - aimed directly in to the driver's side compartment of any vehicle is your only way you can be confident that a motorist will "notice" you.

Simply being "lit" is no longer safe nor adequate. I have cause to believe that motorists have been so "dumbed down" and blinded into tunnel vision by other automobile traffic and electronic distractions - that only the presence of a "blinding" non-fixed light being directed at their eyes is satisfactory for assuring their attention.
However, in non-urban settings, cheap white blinky lights mounted at 90 degree angles off the fork or head tube will work well........
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Old 05-16-18, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by soma5 View Post
I've got the front and back covered and my helmet-mounted light allows me to cover a certain cone in front of me. I was nearly taken out recently by a car running a stop sign from the side. I'd like to be more visible to such drivers.

Thanks.
Side lights won't do the trick. We're talkin cagers who are self-centered and in a hurry to get to wherever the heck they're going. They're probably overweight, out of shape and don't know how to ride a bike. Do neck exercises approaching stop signs with your helmet light on - gently turn 45 degrees to the left and right, repeat if necessary, proceed with CAUTION because, you're NOT in a hurry... They won't see side lights until you're ready to be smashed!
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Old 05-16-18, 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Richard Cranium View Post

My own experience suggests that a helmet mounted light - aimed directly in to the driver's side compartment of any vehicle is your only way you can be confident that a motorist will "notice" you.

Simply being "lit" is no longer safe nor adequate. I have cause to believe that motorists have been so "dumbed down" and blinded into tunnel vision by other automobile traffic and electronic distractions - that only the presence of a "blinding" non-fixed light being directed at their eyes is satisfactory for assuring their attention.
However, in non-urban settings, cheap white blinky lights mounted at 90 degree angles off the fork or head tube will work well........
Indeed. Driver's brains are tuned in to dual automotive headlamps. Motorcyclists with their similar type lighting, albeit singular, still get hit. Therefore, In light of this (no pun intended) I started using two, side by side 750 lumen lights in 2015 and the rate of cagers turning in to me has significantly decreased. BTW, Cager = Driver of an automobile who is not a cyclist- therefore, clueless and unaware that bikes exist.
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Old 05-17-18, 04:55 AM
  #37  
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My 32 LED spoke lights do an excellent job at increasing my night side visibility from a very wide angle range.
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Old 05-17-18, 05:53 AM
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As a driver, I find riders with spoke lights to be highly visible.
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Old 05-17-18, 06:12 AM
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Ditto, wheel LEDs. Best side visibility by far, and they don't need to be extremely bright.
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Old 05-17-18, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Ditto, wheel LEDs. Best side visibility by far, and they don't need to be extremely bright.
Yes! I use the Spoke Lit by Nite Ize. It's really not very bright, and it doesn't need to be.

@wingless, where did you get yours?
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Old 05-17-18, 06:30 PM
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Another thread from over half a decade ago.

But to add to the discussion, I find as an occasional night time driver that bicycles with tires with reflective sidewalls are quite visible during the night when my headlights are on.

But the OP's concern (from 2011) was a driver ran a stop sign and nearly hit him. When a driver runs a stop sign, if they did not see the stop sign which was likely quite reflective, or if the driver was too drunk to care, not sure how anything on a bike will accomplish much more.
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Old 05-17-18, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by wingless View Post
My 32 LED spoke lights do an excellent job at increasing my night side visibility from a very wide angle range.
Originally Posted by noglider View Post
@wingless, where did you get yours?
Mine were purchased of eBay.
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Old 05-18-18, 09:15 AM
  #43  
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You can buy flashing lights with yellow lenses and add them to the sides..

but distracted drivers will still get you..
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Old 05-18-18, 01:23 PM
  #44  
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Lightbulb

Originally Posted by soma5 View Post
I've got the front and back covered and my helmet-mounted light allows me to cover a certain cone in front of me.
I'd like to be more visible to such drivers.
Cateye Rapid X3 !
It delivers a evenly 180° beam angle with great luminance. Several mounting options are available.
cateye.com/intl/products/safety_lights/TL-LD720-R/
cateyeamerica.com/Spacer-X

Originally Posted by Mr. Cranky View Post
In addition to using lights, I like to wear reflective ankle bracelets when riding in the dark as they provide extra visibility from all angles.
These are great/fine:
https://www.vaude.com/en-INT/Product...ain-Protection
https://www.deuter.com/DE/en/bike-ac...217-black.html
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Old 05-18-18, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by johnny99 View Post
For some reason, bicyclists hate spoke reflectors, but they work really well in this situation.
My observation as a driver is that spoke reflectors really don't work. When I am waiting at a stop sign to either cross of pull right, the bike I need to see is well to my left and far from my headlight beams. By the time I see the reflectors, we are well onto a collision wit that bike right in front of me. I consider them like I considered the dim lights of the day (50 years ago) dangerous simple because they give the rider the illusion he might be seen.

A few years ago, I made holders for blinkies for my cycling vest waist strap. These holders place the lights at the forward corners of my hip, aimed forward and outboard; in other words, directly at drivers coming from side streets and driveways, as well as on-coming drivers preparing to turn left. They work very, very well. I see drivers looking directly at me as I pass. One night I forgot my headlight. I was surprised the left turning drivers patiently waited for me even though I assumed I wasn't seen and expected them to just roll through.

Ben
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Old 05-19-18, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelm101 View Post
Side lights won't do the trick. We're talkin cagers who are self-centered and in a hurry to get to wherever the heck they're going. They're probably overweight, out of shape and don't know how to ride a bike. Do neck exercises approaching stop signs with your helmet light on - gently turn 45 degrees to the left and right, repeat if necessary, proceed with CAUTION because, you're NOT in a hurry... They won't see side lights until you're ready to be smashed!
Do you realize that you are trying to answer a persons question that was asked more than 7 yrs. ago? Seven years ago we didn't have the options we have now. Many of the links that were put up are now dead ends. "Cagers"?....really, that is so old school. I haven't heard that phrase in years. Almost everyone at some point in their life will gain weight and almost everyone knows how how to ride a bike so I don't understand why you really feel the need to bring stuff like that up.

Okay so now that you've revived a dead thread I might as well give an opinion on how to get seen from the sides. Don't know why you say side lights won't do the trick. You don't know that. They might or they might not. No one knows. Since I've been on the planet for some time and like to ride my bike at night I'll give some advice on how I think it best to get seen from the sides. While it might be true that spoke reflectors need light to shine on them before they are seen I will say that if you are using the straw-like Salzmann spoke reflectors that they are very good at gathering light from almost any angle since they are circular in form and when light hits them they are very, very conspicuous since they are also moving around in a circle. There are also a number of good rear LED lamps that also provide a good bit of illumination from the sides. Since I like to be sure I'm seen from the sides I like using wheel lights. If you have good wheel lights no way can anyone say they didn't see you.

The thing is most wheel lights are something that not everyone wants to have permanently mounted to their bike so with that in mind I have a couple recommendations that are fairly easy to take on or off. The first and easiest wheel light to either put on or take off are the lights made by Atozi. They clip to a single spoke in seconds. They come in several colors and are very bright for something so small. When activated they flash, no steady mode. The down side of using them is that they use a series of 3 non-rechargeable button cells. That said the cells I've found on the web that work well with the Atozi's are the silver-oxide Sony 392/384's. They cost a bit more than standard cells but they last sooooo much longer, worth every penny. The best way to use the Atozi's are to use at least one on each wheel and carry a couple extra in your pocket ( or bag ) in case one happens to poop while on a ride.

My second favorite wheel lights are these little gems. These take a little more time to put on or take off but are fairly simple to work with once you get used to them. The down side is that they are somewhat cheaply made and the plastic nuts are easily stripped if over-tightened. These are activated by motion. They are suppose to show a recognizable pattern when moving so if moving fast they would be almost impossible to miss. Now with all the negatives I've said about these cheap lights what makes these lights worth using if you ride at night a lot is that they use standard AAA cells ( one per lamp ). I use two per wheel and use the rechargeable NiMh Energizer ( low self discharge ) AAA's. So far I've been able to do a number of rides without recharging and have had no problems but generally I will recharge just for the hell of it after about 3-4 short 1 hour rides.

In my honest opinion, wheel lights are the "end to end all " solution for getting seen at night. That said if you don't like or want wheel lights then I highly recommend using a two or three front lighting solution. Namely, your main light on the bars, a small mini flasher on the front fork and something on the helmet. A single light on the bars sometimes is not enough to get you seen especially if you ride in an area with a lot of motorized traffic. Good luck and ride as though you're never sure if you are being seen ( no matter how many lights you use ).
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Old 05-21-18, 10:58 AM
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I do believe that spoke reflectors do work, I've seen it myself while driving. Bike up ahead approaching the same intersection I was, no lights on at all but I could easily make out the reflectors from about 1/4 mile away.

That being said, I removed my spoke reflectors and attached spoke lights purchased from Amazon and likely made in China. Not super super bright, but bright enough to get attention and provide some sideways visibility. I've also put reflective tape in strategic positions on the forks and the seat stays & chain stays, as well as white reflective tape around my wheels on both sides. I wouldn't be so gung ho about doing this but I do a lot of riding in the dark and I want to be seen. I've gotten the impression in the past that while rearward and front lights were adequate to get noticed, my side-to-side visibility was not that great until I added the spoke lights.

The lights I use came in a pack of 5 in various colors. I put a green and a color changing one on the front, and a red and second multicolor one on the rear. I have a blue one in reserve I can put on in case something happens to one of the others. They each operate on one CR2032 battery and I've been using them for a couple months now and have yet to replace any batteries.

And yes, this is a resurrected long-dead thread, but I think the idea of increasing your side-to-side visibility is important.
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Old 05-21-18, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
I do believe that spoke reflectors do work, I've seen it myself while driving. Bike up ahead approaching the same intersection I was, no lights on at all but I could easily make out the reflectors from about 1/4 mile away.

That being said, I removed my spoke reflectors and attached spoke lights purchased from Amazon and likely made in China. Not super super bright, but bright enough to get attention and provide some sideways visibility. I've also put reflective tape in strategic positions on the forks and the seat stays & chain stays, as well as white reflective tape around my wheels on both sides. I wouldn't be so gung ho about doing this but I do a lot of riding in the dark and I want to be seen. I've gotten the impression in the past that while rearward and front lights were adequate to get noticed, my side-to-side visibility was not that great until I added the spoke lights.

The lights I use came in a pack of 5 in various colors. I put a green and a color changing one on the front, and a red and second multicolor one on the rear. I have a blue one in reserve I can put on in case something happens to one of the others. They each operate on one CR2032 battery and I've been using them for a couple months now and have yet to replace any batteries.

And yes, this is a resurrected long-dead thread, but I think the idea of increasing your side-to-side visibility is important.
Yes, spoke reflectors work very well. First time I ever saw them in action was driving through a college campus at night. As I was driving down one of the small access roads I noticed a bike sitting in a bike rack ( set back well off the road ) that had it's wheels just glowing. This person was using the full setup with one on every spoke. I only use about 8 on a wheel, 2 in series with a set of two besides another set of two. With the wheel spinning and a light source approaching you can see these really well. The head lights from most cars have enough side spill to clearly illuminate these straw-like reflectors way before the bike comes into the direct pathway of the car. Still, like you I use wheel lights because they just add another degree of safety.

Nothing wrong with the small wheel lights using the coin size CR type cells. It's just that the CR cells are a bit more expensive. However, if you buy them in bulk ( I recommend Amazon ) they are more affordable. If you do buy in bulk don't make the mistake and buy the cheap Chinese cells. While they may work they are usually half dead by the time you use them. Always best to buy coin or button cells in bulk that are brand name and from a reputable battery dealer. They will cost a bit more but still save you vs. the cost of buying them retail. Oh, and don't buy too many at once. Just buy enough to last you a year. Small batteries have a very short shelf life particularly if they are Alkaline based. Lithium or silver oxide based cells are much better.

Last night I had a problem with one of my cheap Chinese AAA based wheel lights. The battery on one of the lamps was apparently losing contact with the spring inside the battery chamber which then causes the lamp to go out. This is one of the failings of these cheap lights. Anyway, I added an old dead button cell in series with the NiMh AAA cell and now the electrical contact is much better ( temporary fix ). I might need to buy some small washers at the hardware store in case any of the others do the same thing. Oh how I wish they made the springs inside these things a little longer. In any case if one goes out I still one other on the wheel that is working. This is why it is always a good idea to use at least two on a wheel.
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Old 05-22-18, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by 01 CAt Man Do View Post
Yes, spoke reflectors work very well. First time I ever saw them in action was driving through a college campus at night. As I was driving down one of the small access roads I noticed a bike sitting in a bike rack ( set back well off the road ) that had it's wheels just glowing. This person was using the full setup with one on every spoke.
I was talking about the standard wheel reflectors, but I've heard those tubes you wrap around your spokes work really well. I haven't ever used those, but as I mentioned above I have put some strips of white reflective tape around my wheels.
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Old 05-22-18, 10:58 AM
  #50  
noglider 
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: West Village, New York City
Posts: 33,259

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1973 Raleigh Twenty, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1994 Lemond RS(Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
I was talking about the standard wheel reflectors, but I've heard those tubes you wrap around your spokes work really well. I haven't ever used those, but as I mentioned above I have put some strips of white reflective tape around my wheels.
I have those little straw reflectors on my front wheel, but I haven't tested them yet. They are light and unobtrusive.
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New York City and High Falls, NY
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