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Would more lights on bike enhance safety?

Old 11-16-21, 08:52 AM
  #26  
livedarklions
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Originally Posted by Nachoman View Post
Personally I've never seen a cyclist with flashing lights and felt that I was unable to determine where they were or where they were going.
I would also love to see some study regarding the effects of multiple lights, different levels of lumen, flash versus solid and rate of the flash.

Yes, such a study would be great, but probably somewhat impractical. I suspect also the answers as to optimality are going to be different on differing kinds of roads and atmospheric conditions.
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Old 11-16-21, 08:57 AM
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plus there's environment. are we riding thru a busy city w/ lots of other lights or a quite suburban road where we are the only thing on the road?
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Old 11-16-21, 09:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rstyle View Post
As I read about close calls with cars on this forum and had 3 friends in serious accidents in the past 15 months, I am starting to worry more about safety and getting a little paranoid
I use bright colors and flashing lights in front and back but was wondering if there is any benefit (or any studies) to having 2 red flashing lights in the back.
One under the seat and maybe another in the lower part of the seat stay on the road side. Does anybody do this?
Seems to me that if I am driving and see one light I think bike......but if I see 2 flashing lights, I would be wondering what the heck is that.....and pay more attention.

Probably makes no difference if the driver of the car is on the phone texting............ Just looking for ways to improve my chances!
in a word, yes
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Old 11-16-21, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I like the gas grill on back. you go "tailgating" w/ that? ;-)
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Old 11-16-21, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
plus there's environment. are we riding thru a busy city w/ lots of other lights or a quite suburban road where we are the only thing on the road?

Even within the city, ambient lighting and traffic is going to vary wildly street to street.
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Old 11-16-21, 10:31 AM
  #31  
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All my bikes have front and rear flashers. A few years ago I started wearing front and rear flashers on my helmet at night. And a couple of years ago I started running the helmet lights during the day. THat made a big difference. I feel as if cars are more deferential, of course I have no scientific data.

Having lights up high helps you bee seen in traffic...And having a front flasher that points where you are looking, means cars off to the side can see you better, too.

My front helmet light was $18 at Wal-Mart. It's bright enough to be seen flashing during the day. The rear was $15 at REI, although It's more like $25 now. The rear has side-facing LEDs.




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Old 11-16-21, 10:43 AM
  #32  
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I run one flashing front and one flashing rear during the day. Front is solid at night and rear is still flashing although I have a second light on order that is yellow so I can run one flashing one solid on the back. At night I have a hub light mounted on the front for side visibility. I also have my original reflectors in place however a co-worker once told me that he couldnt see them until I was almost out in front of him so I've relied more on active lighting than passive reflectors. Additionally I try to wear bright colored shirts.

In the end though, if the driver isnt looking at the road, nothing you do will prevent them from hitting you. I work on utilities and when I train my new road crews it's the first thing I tell them. All the lights on big trucks and bright reflective clothing doesnt stop an inattentive driver from running you down.
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Old 11-16-21, 11:42 AM
  #33  
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I commuted in the deadliest urban are in the nation for 15 years using cheap battery-powered lights (because the only alternatives were dynamo lights, the hub for which cost way more than any three bikes I rode) which often dimmed out or died during my ride because lights and batteries (and primitive rechargeables) sucked so hard back in the day. I often didn't know I was riding ninja until I got home. (Obviously i knew when the headlight died, but that was more for seeing, not being seen.)

The worst was when the shift ended early and I ended up on the road in the death hours (shortly before and an hour or so after bars closing on a weekend night.) Nothing adds to the excitement factor like sharing the road with drunks who might see me but lack the fine motor control not to hit me anyway.

The idea that a certain combo of lights is the magic bullet is like most magical thinking ...

Yes, two fast flashers makes it hard for a driver to estimate closing speed---but increases the odds that s/he knows there is Something there .... but as others have noted---if you driver isn't looking or doesn't care, you can have 100 lights and still get hit.

A couple years back, I was coming from a well-lit intersection down a multi-lane divided highway with few side streets. I had full, modern lighting, so anyone paying attention could have seen me coming the whole quarter-mile from when I turned onto the road until I reached a car on the side, in a small driveway, sitting with interior light on.

Because I was of mixed mind---I was going pretty fast and enjoying it, but I am Very reluctant to pass cars in that scenario, because I have had other drivers pull in front of me---sometimes after making full eye contact and smiling (Ignorance or malice? Maybe they knew who I was on these forums. ) I moved to the center lane and kept coming and was almost past when the driver launched out of the side road at NASDA moonshot speed, trying to (as far as I can tell) cut right across the highway to the opposite set of lanes.

I came within six or fewer inches from getting completely run over.

I realize that while the driver had the inside light on, s/he might not have been able to see out the windows (reflection) and likely wasn't looking. However, I was in the center lane---where a driver Should look before crossing three lanes of traffic---and had a perfectly bright headlight blazing away. What ai figure is the driver studied his/her map or phone or whatever, decided which way to go, and completely ignored the fact that there were other people on the planet.

As with drivers who plow into parked emergency vehicles .... sometimes drivers forget they share the planet with other life forms.

If a driver can hit a cop car or a fire truck, in broad daylight or at night, while said vehicle has full flashers on .... there is nothing you can mount on your bike which will really change the odds.

As I have said elsewhere .... head up, eyes moving, try to anticipate .... and even then stuff happens.

I recommend and use lights, but I am realistic.
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Old 11-16-21, 12:56 PM
  #34  
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fwiw I use 2 rear facing lights. 1 on the rear rack & 1 on my left drop bar. this has proven to provide a little extra courtesy room from passing vehicles. once they pass my rear light, they still have the drop bar light as a reminder that it's not yet time to move over. it really cut down if not eliminated getting buzzed. I might still get a close pass, but no one really cuts back over in front of me prematurely
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Old 11-16-21, 04:27 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Rstyle View Post
...Probably makes no difference if the driver of the car is on the phone texting.
There are more than a few places I just don't ride. Now days I rarely ride at night or dusk but when I do I have a head light on my helmet, clear flashing light on my front fork, and a red flasher on my seat. I also wear a loose reflective vest. The other day I got slowly and carefully passed by a young woman in a nice car. As I glanced sideways I also noted she had ear buds in and a cell phone in her lap... Go Figure...

Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
...If a driver can hit a cop car or a fire truck, in broad daylight or at night, while said vehicle has full flashers on .... there is nothing you can mount on your bike which will really change the odds.
Well maybe a spotter and a Quad Fifty...
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Old 11-16-21, 04:35 PM
  #36  
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Don't forget the reflectors in places that drivers can make out your shape.

I have a reflector vest, a reflector strip on the back of my helmet and where my rear helmet light is, ankle and wrist reflectors as well as a tail light.

Sometimes, I think a white light illuminating my back may help drivers see me.
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Old 11-16-21, 06:59 PM
  #37  
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I think most important is good lights, with good beam patterns that are visible. More lights is not a bad concept but using a bunch of dinky lights just isn't a good substitute for good quality lights. Always a solid beam at the front and ideally something solid at the rear with a red beam (no white lights) but at least something with a strobe/flash whatever that isn't going to cause harm. You want people to see you and know you are there but not be dazzled by it so they end up getting distracted and hit you or you cause issue for other cyclists. You goal is visibility and safety not being a rolling rave/discotheque.

Ideally if you can swing it, a full dynamo system is ideal because you don't have to charge anything you generally have good lights with good beam patterns and in some cases you can have brake lighting. A lot of stuff is made StVZO compliant which makes for a cut off of the beam so it is hitting the road where you need it and not just being bright and blinding people.

Reflective gear is not a bad thing either but again most important is good lights first and then other stuff. Certainly having back ups and passive gear is not terrible but make sure your number one lighting is good stuff.
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Old 11-16-21, 07:10 PM
  #38  
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One issue with too many lights is target fixation. People become so focused on the object they inadvertently run into it. This is why people run into the back of garbage trucks and buses with lots of lights.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Target_fixation
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Old 11-16-21, 07:46 PM
  #39  
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I have dynamo powered headlight and tail light I am adding a rear fender mounted reflector. I put on reflective ankle straps, and have reflective velcro wheel reflectors, andreflective velcro strips here and there on the bike. All that is a little above what is required by state law.
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Old 11-16-21, 08:01 PM
  #40  
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If you are regularly riding in the dark, nothing beats these wheel mounted LED lights:
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Old 11-17-21, 07:17 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
Sometimes, I think a white light illuminating my back may help drivers see me.
Something like ....a headlight? On a car?
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Old 11-17-21, 09:05 AM
  #42  
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I haven't finished reading the thread. Lots of good and interesting ideas. I don't really ride at night anymore. I might get caught at the end of the day especially now that our day is getting SHORTER AND SHORTER.

But I think some riders need to examine their lights from the rear (and front). I've been behind bike riders at night where, frankly, their lights are not all that effective. They (yes, rear lights) are poorly aimed and might occasionally show as the dip or curve but in the main are rarely seen. Or their helmet lights are aimed too high and don't show as their head is tilted down in front and up in back.
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Old 11-17-21, 09:10 AM
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Originally Posted by cubewheels View Post
I think it is still safer to use red or amber colored light at the back for night riding.

I only use rear white light during the day because red light is harder to see in the bright noon time sun.
You misunderstand me. In addition to the rear red taillights, I mean to have a white light at the back of the bike aiming towards me so the back of my body is illuminated when it's dark.
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Old 11-17-21, 09:43 AM
  #44  
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Wear a reflective construction safety vest. Drivers have been conditioned to look for them...
Along with your lights.
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Old 11-17-21, 09:50 AM
  #45  
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At night, I use one rear blinky, and one headlight (as bright as is needed to see the road ahead of me and no more) and a Nathan reflective vest and a reflective helmet (in addition to a few other reflective bits on my clothing, bike bags, etc). The reflective materials provide a higher degree of safety than additional lights. At night, they are extremely visible to approaching motorists, have much larger surface areas, and unambiguously communicate "human" to approaching motorists.

Example vest (not me)

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Old 11-17-21, 10:48 AM
  #46  
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Iíve understood that blue lights are generally limited to police vehicles (motorcycles) and cannot be installed on civilian motorcycles.

But are they legal on bikes and is there any advantage?

I donít ride at night anymore and years ago just rode with a red strobe in the back; just wondering.

John
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Old 11-17-21, 11:07 AM
  #47  
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Some drivers slow down when dazzled by bright lights that hinder their vision. Some just speed on through hoping they miss whatever is impairing their view of the road. So if you know which ones you are going to encounter. Then you might be more safe.

As a cyclist and as a motorist, I'd rather just have lights that make me recognized easier and understand what I am and which way I'm traveling, but allow the other to see well enough to pass me.
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Old 11-17-21, 11:14 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Yes, two fast flashers makes it hard for a driver to estimate closing speed---but increases the odds that s/he knows there is Something there .... but as others have noted---if you driver isn't looking or doesn't care, you can have 100 lights and still get hit.
I don't know of any studies of this, but I find that if the two flashing lights are facing me, the interference of the two blinking patterns with each other can be blinding and disorienting, especially if they're both bright white. It plays havoc with your pupils, that's for sure..
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Old 11-17-21, 11:43 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Daniel4 View Post
You misunderstand me. In addition to the rear red taillights, I mean to have a white light at the back of the bike aiming towards me so the back of my body is illuminated when it's dark.
This is why I will only ride with a trio of lighting drones illuminating me from three overhead angles.
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Old 11-17-21, 11:44 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by mihlbach View Post
The reflective materials provide a higher degree of safety than additional lights. At night, they are extremely visible to approaching motorists, have much larger surface areas, and unambiguously communicate "Target" to approaching motorists.
Fixed that for you.
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