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dbg 12-08-07 09:55 PM

Being visible on a bike
One of my favorite modern marvels is the absolute electric neon colors now available. These didn't exist 30 years ago.

So one of my beefs is the visibility of bicyclists, especially around dusk. There are no bike lights that can present illumination like automobiles. And automobiles only seem able to see their own kind, especially around dusk. I just had a tandem frame powdercoated in neon yellow. Wow is it bright. But the guy told me he could get glow-in-the-dark powder. I think I might try it out.

farrellcollie 12-08-07 09:58 PM

have you seen the down low lights?

they are expensive though.

Tom Bombadil 12-08-07 10:39 PM

The red blinkie lights keep getting brighter and brighter. LED bulbs keep improving. Batteries last longer and longer.

I certainly notice the brighter ones much better at dusk, when I drive home, than I used to.

The Smokester 12-08-07 10:54 PM

Trying to be visible and recognizable at night on a bike is not trivial. There is a lot of discussion on this in the Commuting Forum. Having a tail light that just blinks is apparently not enough. A blinking light will attract attention but there must be some other visible signs for car drivers to associate the blink with a bicycle. This includes a steady light to facilitate depth perception and some recognizable motion such as from reflectors on pedals or on wheel rims.

I have recently purchased a very intense tail light...It is red and about 140 lumens which is enough to bike forward pretty fast in the dark ('cept it's on the rear pointed backwards). There is some discussion as to whether this is overkill. I will try it for a while and see. Certainly it will be a significant enhancement at dusk. I also have up to four other tail lights depending on what I am carrying and wearing.

I usually use two quite bright headlights...One on the handlbars and one on my helmet. The front lights can blink for dusk or foggy conditions. I have had many reactions and comments to the blinking intensity of these all of them favorable and complimentary. I try to dim them once I am sure someone has seen me or when I am on a MUP.

I also wear bright clothing with reflectors incorporated into the design.

Please be careful out there and don't be tempted to "cheap out" on the necessary night safety gear.

The Smokester 12-08-07 10:57 PM


Originally Posted by Tom Bombadil (Post 5772722)
The red blinkie lights keep getting brighter and brighter. LED bulbs keep improving. Batteries last longer and longer.

I certainly notice the brighter ones much better at dusk, when I drive home, than I used to.

Yes. I just bought a Planet Bike SuperFlash tail light today to put on my road bike. It is painful to watch from up close.

Tom Bombadil 12-08-07 11:04 PM

As a car driver, I notice 2 or 3 red blinkie lights before I notice just 1. Particularly if there is some vertical distance, as in there being a high and a low light. I've seen riders with lights attached to their helmets, backpacks and somehow clipped up high on their jerseys.

tsl 12-09-07 12:27 AM


Originally Posted by dbg (Post 5772548)
There are no bike lights that can present illumination like automobiles. And automobiles only seem able to see their own kind, especially around dusk.

Jeepers. You don't get out much, right? Try hanging out in Electronics, Lighting and Gadgets or Commuting for a while, and avoid the threads asking about cheap (sub $150) lights.

In broad daylight with my DiNotte headlight in strobe mode, *oncoming* traffic has pulled over to let me pass. Again, in broad daylight, their taillight makes cars stack up behind me waiting for a safe place to pass. It's unnerving hearing them right behind me, pacing me until they can pass with adequate clearance. But it's much less unnerving than having them pass only inches off my bars.

cccorlew 12-09-07 12:43 AM

How about this????

maddmaxx 12-09-07 03:31 AM

Don't confuse getting seen with having them pay attention to you.

stapfam 12-09-07 04:50 AM


Originally Posted by maddmaxx (Post 5773517)
Don't confuse getting seen with having them pay attention to you.

At night I always ride with two rear lights- One flashing and one Steady light- So why do people get so close top the rear of the Tandem? They see a bike- then realise it is unusual and then forget what they should be doing. And on front lights- I ride with two- a helmet light and a bar one. The main lamp is a twin 5w Luxion LED and that is bright. Too bright for the road as if I have it on full power- I get cars flashing at me to dip the lamp- So on road I ride on low power and still dazzle anyone that looks at it- but at least they are not blinded.

And on top outer coats that can be seen. I do have a couple of Fluorescant yellow tops but as a Car Driver- I don't really pick riders out with this colour- A bright red or Green one and I spot it a mile away. Yellow just seems to blend in with the dismal foliage at this time of the year. Same at night- It is not the colour I see- but the reflective quality of that coat. My Goretex is red and the light coloured piping is reflective. Not much of it but it does stand out a mile. Even in poor light.

gear 12-09-07 05:22 AM

A Dinotte tail light can be seen in daylight, dusk and no light. It is the brightest tail light manufactured. Add a bright colored reflective vest and reflectors and you'll take away a motorist's "didn't see him" excuse.

freeranger 12-09-07 07:17 AM

Came across this LED Vest while looking for presents, this would surely get you seen!!:

BSLeVan 12-09-07 09:19 AM

I think the name of the game is no longer just visible, it's being conspicuous. Yep, I want to be more than just visible. I want to stand out in ways that make me impossible to not see. My night riding philosophy is to think, "Hey, look at me! Yo, you ain't never gonna see anything more festive than me." So, I say go for the glow-in-the-dark powder coat. But, don't stop there. I use three red blinkies, all at different heights, two mounted lights up front & one on my helmet, and blinkies mounted in the ends of my drop bars. I figure this all add over four pounds to my bike, but this bike only gets used for night rides anymore. I also wear clothing with reflective material built into it (vests, helmet, shorts and/or leg warmers & shoes), and my Drua Ace wheels have reflective markings on the side that make them come alive with headlights. My sons have commented that I'm so conspicuous that I might even be a hazard for someone who is seizure prone.

BikeArkansas 12-09-07 09:41 AM

This may be for another forum, but it also seems to fit in here. On a few night rides in groups I have been behind a rider with a very bright blinking red light. The light is so blinking bright I cannot blanking see. Only choice is to back off or normally pass that bike. Just a thought to consider who you are with and the circumstance.

MulliganAl 12-09-07 09:47 AM

I ride with the following:

NiteriderMinewt - front
Cateye 600 - rear
Planet Bike super flash -rear
and I also have a small rear red blinky on my helmet

I think folks can see me 100 yards away but even with this some still want to get too close at night.

BengeBoy 12-09-07 10:56 AM

Lots of good advice on the Electronics forum. After reading lots of stuff there I got a diNotte set-up, front and rear.

The DiNotte tail-light in particular deserves its reputation; I can hear cars slowing down when they see it and on my particular commuting route I almost feel safer riding in the dark w/my diNotte than I do during the day w/out lighting. I've taken to using it more and more on gloomy or wet winter day rides; the extra visibility is worth it. I can switch it from bike to bike in about a minute.

JanMM 12-09-07 11:03 AM


Originally Posted by cccorlew (Post 5773223)
How about this????

I want to wear that to the disco!

Yen 12-09-07 11:04 AM

As much as I dislike night riding, it's my only choice during the week since it is already dark when I get home from work.

On the back, I have 2 Planet Bike super flash lights and a 3rd light that I attach to my clothing if I can (depending on what I wear)
On the front I have a dual Cygolight mounted on the bar to the left of the stem, and a Blackburn Quadrant on the other side.
My tires have reflective rims
The spokes have reflectors
And I have a reflective vest (the one posted above)

I have ridden with everything but the reflective vest, and cars wait for me to pass a long time before I get to them..... cars pull into the next lane to avoid me or give me room.

Even when I had just the Bladburn Quadrant light, a man told me my lights were very visible.

I dislike night riding VERY much (it's hard to not think about how many cell-phone-talking drivers are approaching from behind) but if I want to keep my legs in shape for long weekend rides, it's my only option this time of year.

dorosz 12-09-07 11:21 AM

I wear a bright red/yellow jacket/pants combo to ride in during daylight hours in cooler weather and a reflective vest for night riding plus reflectors and rear and front lights. I have had several people approach me and comment that I look like a bike rider should, IE visible. Since I live right off of and have to use a busy arterial road (usually in the dark) for my commute, visibility just seems to be the right idea.
People who ride at night in dark clothing scare the dickens out of me...I nearly hit a some kid (both of us on bikes) the other night coming around the corner because he was so darkly clothed I didn't pick him up against the background till he had already gone off into the lawn. Good thing he could see me.

stapfam 12-09-07 11:27 AM

Someone has mentioned about following a flashing rear red light. Flashing lights are one of my bug bears to follow so When we are out group riding- Not very often at night- But on the road the last person in line is the one with the brightest lights and he is the only one with a Flashing one. The one on the front is normally me with the Bright light but In line- we always make certain that the lamps are well dipped.

RalphP 12-09-07 12:20 PM

I have been required to bicycle in the dark recently (commuting while my m/c was in the shop). It's a little scary and I'd rather not do it ever. Still, I am somewhat comfortable with my strategy: A fairly bright, non-blinking green tail light, some green reflective tape around the plastic box on the rear rack, reflectors on the pedals, and light colored clothes and sneakers. I find blinking tail lights annoying and so would never use them. I think it is bad wisdom to intentionally annoy drivers. FWIW, studies for motorcycles have shown that two lights far apart are better than one light

ken cummings 12-09-07 01:31 PM


Originally Posted by dbg (Post 5772548)
There are no bike lights that can present illumination like automobiles. And automobiles only seem able to see their own kind, especially around dusk.

I'll accept, for the sake of this thread, the second part but not the first. You can mount a car headlight or it's equal on your handlebars. I did. If you are willing to carry a big battery. I am using a PAR36 4509 100 watt bulb with a heavy SLA battery that lasts about 1 hour. This bulb is used for things like off-road night racing or Cessna landing lights. System does come in under $150.

Dchiefransom 12-09-07 04:29 PM

The first thing I notice about cyclists coming at me while I'm driving is a blinking front headlight.

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