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Helmet mounted lights and safety

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Helmet mounted lights and safety

Old 11-07-18, 05:48 AM
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taz777
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Helmet mounted lights and safety

I'd like to augment my single bar-mounted front light with a helmet-mounted light. However, I have a concern about the safety aspect in the event of an accident causing a significant impact to the helmet, causing the light and/or its mount to force itself through the helmet shell.

Are these needless concerns?
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Old 11-07-18, 07:10 AM
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The concern is valid. Having something attached to the helmet does add risk. I feel like the safety of a light on the helmet outweighs the risk of having it there. This is my opinion.

I'm using the Light & Motion Vis Pro.

https://www.lightandmotion.com/vis-360-pro

$130 street price but it is available for as little as $100 if you shop around.


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Old 11-07-18, 07:17 AM
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I'd say it's a needless concern. If you're in a crash where there was enough force to force the mount/light through the helmet then likely the damage is already done. Mount the light and it may save you from the collision in the first place.
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Old 11-07-18, 07:22 AM
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Most collisions are fairly low speed. In a high speed crash, you have to worry about many kinds of injuries. Brain injury is bad. So are severe internal injuries. So are spinal injuries. But we're all riders, aren't we?

I wear a helmet light in addition to my bike-mounted light. When I consider the amount of force it would take to push my light through the plastic shell and the foam under layer and into my head, I'm thinking that my spine will have suffered more serious damage well beforehand. I simply can't see this is a highly likely risk. Certainly no greater than the risk of catastrophic injury/death from the collision anyway (with or without the helmet light).

I agree with Tim, the benefits outweigh the risk of injury. By a wide margin.
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Old 11-07-18, 07:35 AM
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In traffic, helmet mounted lights stand head-and-shoulders above bike-mounted lights...literally.


Last edited by BobbyG; 11-07-18 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 11-07-18, 07:41 AM
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Thanks for the advice, all. I'm contemplating this one, which is readily available here in the UK:

https://brightside.bike/product/topside-helmet-light/

It's reasonably priced and has some decent reviews. I'll also check out the L&M Vis 360 Pro, but L&M isn't widely available here.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:23 AM
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While technically it is a risk, it's a 'golden bullet' type of risk, where under the most perfect of conditions, it's possible, but we're talking about a bicycle crash, where you're a long way from perfect conditions.
@taz777 The light you linked has an O-ring mount, some use Velcro or double-sided tape. They'll get knocked off by far less severe forces than a land-on-your-head crash. I've had some that wouldn't stay put, just riding along; In a crash situation, they'd probably be the first thing to fly off; long before I end up on the ground.

Don't think you have to spend mega-$$ either, One of my favorite lights is a $9 worklamp from the hardware store. It has a nice 'pencil' beam, and ~100 hour run time on 2 AAA batteries. I had to make my own mounting strap, and it's a little bulky, but I'm having a hard time justifying a replacement, because it works so well.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:37 AM
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Another thing to consider is where you are likely to hit if you fall. The most common strike will be to the side of the helmet, not the top. What I would not want to have on a helmet is something that could get pushed into the temple area, which is also the most fragile point of your skull.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:41 AM
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I believe that a force strong enough to push a camera into the helmet will be the least of your concerns.
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Old 11-07-18, 08:45 AM
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Retroreflective tape is another battery-free, nearly-weightless option. Perhaps not as easily visible as a light, but certainly better than nothing at all.
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Old 11-07-18, 09:57 AM
  #11  
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Helmet mounts tend not to be excessively strong.
At anything but a near perfect strike, I imagine the light would go shooting off instead of being pushed in.
While not impossible, I would not rank the probability very high.
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Old 11-07-18, 11:47 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
Thanks for the advice, all. I'm contemplating this one, which is readily available here in the UK:

https://brightside.bike/product/topside-helmet-light/

It's reasonably priced and has some decent reviews. I'll also check out the L&M Vis 360 Pro, but L&M isn't widely available here.
That looks like a low lumen light which won't really give you much ability to see, I am not going to worry about it adding safety because low lumen lights tend to be poor at that anyway. The Light and Motion light is actually bright enough for someone to see but really the main feature is allowing you to see because that is really what a helmet mounted light is for. People need to see where your bike is going first and foremost because your head is on a swivel as is anything attached to your body but your bike is going where it is going.

Certainly having more lights isn't a bad thing but I would rather have fewer high quality, higher lumen or lux lights that have great visibility. Having a ton of dim lights doesn't really do it for me but a good bright white (and always solid) front light and preferably a rear red light that isn't a blinding flash and better yet is solid or a slow fade, works wonders.

I would also highly recommend a good dynamo set up which is probably easier to find over there. It does at some cost but you have lights powered by your pedaling and they can be on all the time to increase visibility and you can still supplement them with other lights if you wanted. Plus the lights can just stay on your bike, so you won't lose them or forget to charge them or anything like that.
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Old 11-07-18, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
That looks like a low lumen light which won't really give you much ability to see,.
+1

30 lumens isn't much. It isn't going to help a cyclist to see but it will increase cyclist visibility to motorists.
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Old 11-07-18, 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
Retroreflective tape is another battery-free, nearly-weightless option. Perhaps not as easily visible as a light, but certainly better than nothing at all.
Only barely better. Tape is passive and depends on another light source to be useful. While it is good to be seen, if you can see by an active light, you’ll be seen as well. Add in the directionality of a helmet light it’s hard to beat a helmet mounted light.

Originally Posted by taz777 View Post
Thanks for the advice, all. I'm contemplating this one, which is readily available here in the UK:

https://brightside.bike/product/topside-helmet-light/

It's reasonably priced and has some decent reviews. I'll also check out the L&M Vis 360 Pro, but L&M isn't widely available here.
Others are correct that this light’s output is too low to be of much use. There are better lights out there.

That said, I have crashed with a helmet light on. The mounts are plastic on most all lights. The plastic breaks without much force. In fact, it will probably break in a number of places.
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Old 11-07-18, 03:59 PM
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A built in camera helmet is sold, and another one builds in Be Seen lights.
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Old 11-07-18, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Only barely better. Tape is passive and depends on another light source to be useful.


I don't know.

I have Orafol (formerly Reflexite) conspicuity tape on my wheels. This is the same tape they put on emergency services vehicles. It is really bright when just about any light source shines on it. I'm not talking about subjectively bright but actually stand-out bright.

Side visibility is something many light manufacturers try to address and some do better than others. Passive or not however, having reflexite on the wheels almost instantly identifies my vehicle as a moving bicycle.

It is just one portion of my lighting and visibility system but I would not characterize it as slightly better than nothing. The product is quite amazing actually. I have quite a bit of it and would be happy to send you enough to do a wheelset if you PM me your address.



-Tim-






Last edited by TimothyH; 11-07-18 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 11-07-18, 04:26 PM
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I have 3M Scotchlite/Scotchcal on all of my wheelsets-- the tape that's kind of dark grey in color, but very bright white when hit by a light source. It works. I can't be bothered with a helmet light, because the only time I've seen them actually be effective to my eyes is at night, when any light on the bike will work, and retroreflective tape will work as well. Helmet lights are barely visible in daylight, because the light is constantly moving relative to the viewer unless the cyclist is holding their head very still.
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Old 11-07-18, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
I don't know.

I have Orafol (formerly Reflexite) conspicuity tape on my wheels. This is the same tape they put on emergency services vehicles. It is really bright when just about any light source shines on it. I'm not talking about subjectively bright but actually stand-out bright.

Side visibility is something many light manufacturers try to address and some do better than others. Passive or not however, having reflexite on the wheels almost instantly identifies my vehicle as a moving bicycle.

It is just one portion of my lighting and visibility system but I would not characterize it as slightly better than nothing. The product is quite amazing actually. I actually have quite a bit of it and would be happy to send you enough to do a wheelset if you PM me your address.



-Tim-
This thread is about helmet lights. While reflective material may have some utility on the bike, I’m not convinced and neither is the CPSC. Or, I should say, the CPSC thinks they have some utility but actual research says otherwise, especially if from the side.

But I think even the most ardent reflector advocate wouldn’t say that reflectors are more useful than active lighting nor that putting reflective tape on a helmet would do much. Unless you happen to be riding a recumbent, light from headlights isn’t going to light up reflectors on a helmet. Additionally, reflectors aren’t going to provide any illumination for actually seeing the road which is the point of a helmet light.

Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I have 3M Scotchlite/Scotchcal on all of my wheelsets-- the tape that's kind of dark grey in color, but very bright white when hit by a light source. It works. I can't be bothered with a helmet light, because the only time I've seen them actually be effective to my eyes is at night, when any light on the bike will work, and retroreflective tape will work as well. Helmet lights are barely visible in daylight, because the light is constantly moving relative to the viewer unless the cyclist is holding their head very still.
I’m having problems following your logic. The only time reflectors are useful is at night. They don’t do diddily during the day. But, if you ride at night, all states require at least as front light at night. Just plain common sense suggests that you should use a light at night. Depending on reflectors at night is a good way to get squished.

And reflective material on a helmet is mostly useless because it is out of line of sight for automobile lights
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Old 11-07-18, 06:12 PM
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+1 on the 3M Scotchlite products. I have taken and custom cut pieces for my shoes and helmets. I have gotten lots of good comments on the high quality reflective products. I wouldn't recommend anything else other than 3M. When we park aircraft outside at night outside the hangar, the Scotchlite wrapped pylons are excellent. Along with the safety vests and the hats line service personnel wears. The foul weather gear I have on my boat is covered with 3M Scotchlite 3150A SOLAS Grade Reflective Conspicuity Tape. It is multi directional at reflecting and is very effective.
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Old 11-07-18, 06:54 PM
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Another concern with stuff mounted on your helmet is that it can "catch" on road imperfections rather than allow the helmet to slide smoothly along the road surface. If your helmet catches, it can cause a twisting force on your head that could cause neck injury. I've chosen to keep my helmet clean and put good lights on my bike. Just my preference.

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Old 11-07-18, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
I have 3M Scotchlite/Scotchcal on all of my wheelsets-- the tape that's kind of dark grey in color, but very bright white when hit by a light source. It works. I can't be bothered with a helmet light, because the only time I've seen them actually be effective to my eyes is at night, when any light on the bike will work, and retroreflective tape will work as well. Helmet lights are barely visible in daylight, because the light is constantly moving relative to the viewer unless the cyclist is holding their head very still.
Again, I don't know.

As one who rides 100+ miles/week at night I can't say I agree with you about helmet lamps. Perhaps the helmet lamps you have seen are just not powerful enough. I see riders with helmet lamps occasionally in Atlanta. They are very visible as the light moves around with their head.

My helmet lamp is a Light & Motion Vis Pro and it is extremely bright. It is certainly enough to ride down a trail or light up the road while riding. My Light & Motion Urban 900 came with a helmet mount if I wanted to use that.

My next helmet light will be an 1800 lumen Lupine. 4 hours burn time @ 650 lumens. 8 hours @ 350 lumens.

Anyway, the OP is talking about augmenting his bar light with a helmet light. Having both bar and helmet lamp together is the way to go - a bar lamp to see where the bike is going and a helmet lamp to see where you want to go.


-Tim-
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Old 11-07-18, 09:14 PM
  #22  
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IMO, helmet lights on the rear are no problem, however for headlights they are the STUPIDEST most dangerous idea around.
You need lights to light up the road, not blind oncoming drivers or cyclists in the dark. What the hell good are they 6 feet off the ground anyway??
The beam will follow you eyes. What will you be looking at on a narrow 1 lane road or MUP?? Probably the drivers eyes.
In total darkness the ONLY thing the other guy sees is your damn light. When you turn your head to look at what is coming, it will look like you are going to turn across their path.
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Old 11-07-18, 09:30 PM
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Helmet lights probably did more to increase my safety than anything else. I get significantly more room from passing cars than I do without the light. It’s stopped at least one serious left hook and several probable right hooks.

There’s something about the beam swinging around as I ride and look around that makes drivers react in a different way than just a bike mounted light.

Blinding drivers is nonsense, if I, as a cyclist have never been blinded by another cyclists light then there’s no way drivers are out here getting Magoo’d.
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Old 11-07-18, 09:39 PM
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Lots of ignorance in this thread.

Some of the comments indicate little or no actual experience riding at night. Not having experience is fine but it is very arrogant to tell those of us who do what works and what doesn't. Please go ride at night for a few months and then come back and educate everyone.

Anyway, here are a few photos of a Light & Motion Vis Pro mounted on an older Giro Aeon helmet. 1.5 hours burn time on high but turning it down when the high beam isn't needed can easily extend runtime to 3 hours.

I used this light on a 46 mile ride last night.












-Tim-
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Old 11-08-18, 05:45 AM
  #25  
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I actually have crashed with a GoPro (housed in an aluminum case) on my helmet, so not a light, but same concept. While not at a excessively high speed, I railed it in a XC race at about 25mph when my front wheel went out from under me. The impact areas were my left shoulder and helmet initially (followed by a pretty cool tumble and lot's of groaning ). Point being, the camera was basically just torn off, taking a small portion of the outer shell with it. Later while going over the helmet, at no point does it appear the camera was ever in danger of "pushing through". There was a thumbnail sized dent, but that's about it. The EPS used in helmets is pretty damn durable for what it is. I run a helmet light most of the winter, not worried about it.
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