Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Headlight/Tail Light – Steady or Flash?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Headlight/Tail Light – Steady or Flash?

Old 01-14-21, 11:56 AM
  #26  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 9,641

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 37 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2373 Post(s)
Liked 2,658 Times in 1,621 Posts
Originally Posted by bruce19 View Post
The last I looked a flashing front light for motorcycles was illegal in CT. I don't know if that also applies to bicycles but it seems it would. Does anyone know?

Generally during daylight hours it is legal within certain parameters of modulation. Also note they use modulation rather than true flashing.

https://www.webbikeworld.com/Motorcy...ulator-law.pdf
dedhed is offline  
Old 01-14-21, 12:34 PM
  #27  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 14,001

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6822 Post(s)
Liked 2,135 Times in 1,157 Posts
As I said above, based on personal observation, I can spot a cyclist with a flashing front light more easily in daylight than a cyclist with a steady front light---I assume this is due to the well-understood principle that the eye or rather the brain, associates intermittent light levels with motion and thus assigns more importance to something moving.

These observations were e not part of controlled test, with the same cyclist riding the same stretch of roads repeatedly at the same time of day ... but then, I am not presenting this as scientific evidence.

I nay case, pretty much every one of us is going to whatever he or she prefers, regardless of what else is said. And on top of that, it's only Bike Forum, after all.
Maelochs is offline  
Likes For Maelochs:
Old 01-14-21, 02:32 PM
  #28  
russtopherb
Senior Member
 
russtopherb's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Southcoast MA
Posts: 58

Bikes: 1995 Specialized Hardrock Sport, 2019 Jamis Allegro Sport

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 27 Times in 17 Posts
Count me among the "steady front, flashing rear" riders.
russtopherb is offline  
Old 01-14-21, 03:08 PM
  #29  
gsa103
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: SF Bay Area
Posts: 4,401

Bikes: Bianchi Infinito (Celeste, of course)

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 754 Post(s)
Liked 103 Times in 76 Posts
Originally Posted by Troul View Post
Those optional turn signals that vehicles might come with must really annoy travelers.

Those turn signals would be best to just stay on solid! yarrrrr!
Most BMW drivers don't opt for that feature. I think its a pretty expensive item....
gsa103 is offline  
Likes For gsa103:
Old 01-14-21, 04:01 PM
  #30  
KJ43
Dead but dreaming
 
KJ43's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2020
Location: Bay Area, CA (Peninsula)
Posts: 354

Bikes: 2020 Santa Cruz Stigmata, 2022 Cannondale Synapse

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 133 Post(s)
Liked 264 Times in 152 Posts
Steady front in low light conditions only, flashing back at all times.
KJ43 is offline  
Likes For KJ43:
Old 01-14-21, 05:29 PM
  #31  
BCAC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Central Fl
Posts: 137

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, GF 29er, old Trek Madone

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 31 Post(s)
Liked 46 Times in 29 Posts
Both blinking.
BCAC is offline  
Likes For BCAC:
Old 01-14-21, 06:00 PM
  #32  
jon c. 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 4,387
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1302 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 607 Times in 327 Posts
Headlight, when I use it, flashing at ~300 lumens during the day, steady at 600 or 800 at night. (figures as advertised.) I always use it in the city. On daytime local rides from my house I don't always bother.

Tail light is always flashing during the day. At night I'll flash the lower powered planet bike light or run the brighter cygolite on steady. But I ride only low traffic rural roads at night. A higher power flashing tail light bounces off the trees and overwhelms the road at night. Other conditions might require other choices.
jon c. is online now  
Likes For jon c.:
Old 01-14-21, 06:07 PM
  #33  
DeadGrandpa
Philosopher of Bicycling
 
DeadGrandpa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Carolina
Posts: 1,136

Bikes: Too many, yet not enough.

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 469 Post(s)
Liked 259 Times in 173 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
So what is a flashing front light going to do? Aside from cause problems for other road users and be a general annoyance. My rear light on my touring bike does have the brake light function and that is fine, that makes sense as other vehicles have that as well and it is practical.
I like my flashing front light. It's not blindingly bright, but it's purpose is to attract the attention of the driver in the second car approaching in the oncoming lane. Frequently, that guy is wanting to pass the car in front of him, coming towards me, which requires that he enter my lane of traffic, head-on. A flashing headlight gets his attention better than a constant light. But my fiance rides with me, and her light is constant, so we have both bases covered, whether she is in front or following. Legal or illegal, I've had sheriff's and town police pass us from both directions. They didn't object to my light flashing. I don't think they want the paperwork from a bicycle/automobile crash. Our headlights aren't that bright so as to be blinding to motorists.
Edit: we both use Garmin Varia radar blinky lights, on flash. We only ride during the daylight.
DeadGrandpa is offline  
Likes For DeadGrandpa:
Old 01-14-21, 07:08 PM
  #34  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 11,202

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3438 Post(s)
Liked 2,738 Times in 1,830 Posts
Originally Posted by DeadGrandpa View Post
I like my flashing front light. It's not blindingly bright, but it's purpose is to attract the attention of the driver in the second car approaching in the oncoming lane. Frequently, that guy is wanting to pass the car in front of him, coming towards me, which requires that he enter my lane of traffic, head-on. A flashing headlight gets his attention better than a constant light. But my fiance rides with me, and her light is constant, so we have both bases covered, whether she is in front or following. Legal or illegal, I've had sheriff's and town police pass us from both directions. They didn't object to my light flashing. I don't think they want the paperwork from a bicycle/automobile crash. Our headlights aren't that bright so as to be blinding to motorists.
Edit: we both use Garmin Varia radar blinky lights, on flash. We only ride during the daylight.
I know you like your flashing front light most people who use flashing front lights like them. The problem is other people. It is not really a legal issue it is an issue of sight and being hard to see with flashing lights in your eyes. If it is dim enough to not cause so many issues then what is the point of it in the first place? If it isn't it can cause problems.
veganbikes is offline  
Likes For veganbikes:
Old 01-14-21, 10:42 PM
  #35  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 1,683

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 645 Post(s)
Liked 793 Times in 445 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
I know you like your flashing front light most people who use flashing front lights like them. The problem is other people. It is not really a legal issue it is an issue of sight and being hard to see with flashing lights in your eyes. If it is dim enough to not cause so many issues then what is the point of it in the first place? If it isn't it can cause problems.
So your position is that lights are either bright enough to blind you or too dim to be noticed.......nothing in between?
Litespud is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 01:55 AM
  #36  
Germany_chris
I’m a little Surly
 
Germany_chris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Germany
Posts: 2,140

Bikes: Two Cross Checks and a Karate Monkey

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 569 Post(s)
Liked 1,037 Times in 538 Posts
Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
So your position is that lights are either bright enough to blind you or too dim to be noticed.......nothing in between?
Most bike lights do not have a shaped beam which is the problem and those that do people don't want to pay for. You're a vehicle on the road therefore your lights should be like all other vehicle lights not some random high lumen cree in waterproof case.
Germany_chris is offline  
Likes For Germany_chris:
Old 01-15-21, 08:07 AM
  #37  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 14,001

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6822 Post(s)
Liked 2,135 Times in 1,157 Posts
Originally Posted by Germany_chris View Post
You're a vehicle on the road therefore your lights should be like all other vehicle lights not some random high lumen cree in waterproof case.
Ummmm .... by that logic, my wheels should be like other vehicles' wheels, too?

I say, shaped beam or not, my lights should be adjusted so i can operate safely without endangering others or interfering in their operation.

It is mystifying why anyone should have to even say such things. it is like we get so far into debating we forget reality and common sense.

This stuff is as easy as riding a bicycle. Why do we debate the obvious?
Maelochs is offline  
Likes For Maelochs:
Old 01-15-21, 08:14 AM
  #38  
Germany_chris
I’m a little Surly
 
Germany_chris's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Southern Germany
Posts: 2,140

Bikes: Two Cross Checks and a Karate Monkey

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 569 Post(s)
Liked 1,037 Times in 538 Posts
Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Ummmm .... by that logic, my wheels should be like other vehicles' wheels, too?

I say, shaped beam or not, my lights should be adjusted so i can operate safely without endangering others or interfering in their operation.

It is mystifying why anyone should have to even say such things. it is like we get so far into debating we forget reality and common sense.

This stuff is as easy as riding a bicycle. Why do we debate the obvious?
The problem with adjusting a flood not to blind is you now don't have the right light for riding. Good lights cost good money they're not 20 on Amazon, though those 20 lights are great for helmet lights, lights for changing tubes, packing bags etc.
Germany_chris is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 09:11 AM
  #39  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,314
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 1,112 Times in 657 Posts
This depends on where you ride. Steady lights are not as effective in the city, IMO. There are too many other lights/distractions to compete with.

I flash front and rear when riding on city streets. If I'm out on a suburban road with lower light levels, I'll switch to steady front, but usually leave the rear flashing.
msu2001la is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 09:14 AM
  #40  
msu2001la
Senior Member
 
msu2001la's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Midwest
Posts: 2,314
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1111 Post(s)
Liked 1,112 Times in 657 Posts
On the topic of lighting, I also find it annoying when other cyclists are riding on car-free forest preserve trails with super-high powered headlights that blind oncoming cyclists.
I've encountered oncoming cyclists with headlights so bright that I've had to slow down/stop because I couldn't see anything as they approached.
msu2001la is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 11:55 AM
  #41  
Litho dbh
El Rayo X
 
Join Date: Dec 2020
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 20
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Liked 18 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
This depends on where you ride. Steady lights are not as effective in the city, IMO. There are too many other lights/distractions to compete with.

I flash front and rear when riding on city streets. If I'm out on a suburban road with lower light levels, I'll switch to steady front, but usually leave the rear flashing.
Yes, this me as well. Flash front and rear. I ride city commuting. Street lights are usually good enough for seeing the road. My blinkys front and rear are so others see me. And I'm careful to not point the headlight too high. I want to be ID'd as a bike by that blinking, NOT as a car with one headlight out.
Litho dbh is offline  
Likes For Litho dbh:
Old 01-15-21, 12:53 PM
  #42  
veganbikes
Clark W. Griswold
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: ,location, location
Posts: 11,202

Bikes: Foundry Chilkoot Ti W/Ultegra Di2, Salsa Timberjack Ti, Cinelli Mash Work RandoCross Fun Time Machine, 1x9 XT Parts Hybrid, Co-Motion Cascadia, Specialized Langster, Phil Wood Apple VeloXS Frame (w/DA 7400), R+M Supercharger2 Rohloff, Habanero Ti 26

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3438 Post(s)
Liked 2,738 Times in 1,830 Posts
Originally Posted by Litespud View Post
So your position is that lights are either bright enough to blind you or too dim to be noticed.......nothing in between?
The issue is flashing lights.
veganbikes is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 02:07 PM
  #43  
Litespud
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2017
Location: Chapel Hill NC
Posts: 1,683

Bikes: 2000 Litespeed Vortex Chorus 10, 1995 DeBernardi Cromor S/S

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 645 Post(s)
Liked 793 Times in 445 Posts
Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
The issue is flashing lights.
The point remains - is it your position that there is no middle ground between flashing lights bright enough to blind you and flashing lights too dim to be seen?
Litespud is offline  
Old 01-15-21, 02:25 PM
  #44  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 14,001

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6822 Post(s)
Liked 2,135 Times in 1,157 Posts
Wow .... it's getting so that almost no one takes the bait around here, any more.
Maelochs is offline  
Likes For Maelochs:
Old 01-15-21, 02:48 PM
  #45  
jsilvia
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Fairhaven Ma.
Posts: 127

Bikes: Trek Multitrac 750. Scott Addict . Motobacane La Champion Trek Crossrip, Scott Scale 925 mountain Bike Centry

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 48 Times in 31 Posts
Day time I run flashing lights in the front and back, At night or in low light conditions I run solid on the front light, solid on the Helmet light and fleshing rear lights.
jsilvia is offline  
Likes For jsilvia:
Old 01-15-21, 03:53 PM
  #46  
Sy Reene
Advocatus Diaboli
 
Sy Reene's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Wherever I am
Posts: 8,117

Bikes: Merlin Cyrene, Nashbar steel CX

Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4388 Post(s)
Liked 1,326 Times in 862 Posts
I'm waiting for news stories on car drivers epileptic seizures being triggered by blinky bike lights. Ok, not really, but I have wondered if my Varia could cause something like this, since these lights go kinda crazy when cars approach.
https://road.cc/content/news/13526-e...ng-bike-lights
Sy Reene is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 05:45 AM
  #47  
richardalan1975
Junior Member
 
richardalan1975's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 10
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post
to be visible around drivers: Flashing in daytime, steady at night. That is the smartest way to use them.
Yep for sure!
richardalan1975 is offline  
Old 01-17-21, 01:00 PM
  #48  
prairieguy
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 5
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 2 Posts
flashing rear in daytime important for safety

Distracted driving is the big cyclist killer in this day and age, people. Flashing lights, especially in daytime conditions, can make a big dang safety difference.

In the region around Kansas City, in about a 6-year period we had three separate accidents where very visible cyclists riding in daytime and excellent lighting conditions on flat wide roads with great visibility and no significant traffic were hit from behind and killed by drivers who HAD to have seen them from a long way away. We know that one driver admitted he was texting, one driver admitted he was entering an address in his car GPS device, and the third driver claimed he was arguing with a passenger in his car (bonus points - he hit and killed both a grandfather and granddaughter who were riding on the right side of an empty 4-lane road).

The real point here is that merely being very visible, without more, is not enough. Distracted drivers can see well enough to keep their cars on the road just fine without really "seeing" cyclists. A bright rear-facing strobe, though, will wake drivers up.

An earlier poster mentioned how flashing or changing lights grab our attention. We all know that - emergency vehicles, for just one obvious example, depend on flashing lights. But my favorite example about this is school buses: many across the country have white strobe lights on top. Stop and think about that. Something so huge and visible as a school bus needs a flashing light to help make it visible? The answer is yes, it's obviously very helpful for safety, and to wake drivers up.

I urge powerful rear-facing strobes for daytime riding, though there are lots of choices about the kind of flashing or interspersed flashing and solid that good taillights provide. I have given several good taillights to friends who are cyclists just because I think those lights really will help them be safer on the roads in this age of distracted drivers.
prairieguy is offline  
Likes For prairieguy:
Old 01-17-21, 01:10 PM
  #49  
2WheelsNYC
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2021
Posts: 18
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)
Liked 26 Times in 7 Posts
Front steady (unless battery low), rear flashing.
2WheelsNYC is offline  
Likes For 2WheelsNYC:
Old 01-17-21, 01:17 PM
  #50  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,391

Bikes: Soma Fog Cutter, Volae Team, Focus Mares AL, Nimbus MUni, Trek Roscoe 6, 1987 Centurion SS/FG.

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 697 Post(s)
Liked 1,584 Times in 810 Posts
My commute bike has generator lights on steady in all conditions, front and rear. I add rear blinkie based on lighting and traffic conditions - helmet and frame mount.

My rando bike has the same lighting capability, but i generally turn the dyno lights off in full daylight conditions. I'll use the blinkies if I'm solo and I feel traffic conditions warrant extra visibility, that is if legal where I'm riding.
downtube42 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.