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

Would more lights on bike enhance safety?

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!

Would more lights on bike enhance safety?

Old 11-15-21, 08:49 PM
  #1  
Rstyle
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 55
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 5 Posts
Would more lights on bike enhance safety?

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!
Rstyle is offline  
Old 11-15-21, 09:07 PM
  #2  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,502

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1187 Post(s)
Liked 851 Times in 413 Posts
Yes.
I had Five Dinotte's on my Trike. Ran them on Strobe.
Stopped ALL Traffic FIVE times on a 4 lane divided 45 mph limit road.
Went back to Just TWO.
One Front One Rear.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Likes For 10 Wheels:
Old 11-15-21, 09:13 PM
  #3  
OmegaWolf
on your lawn
 
OmegaWolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 173

Bikes: 1995 Trek 370, 1997 Trek 800 Sport, 2013 Specialized Crossroads Elite, 2016 Trek Emonda ALR5, 1991 Fuji Roubaix

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 10 Posts
A few years ago driving my car I almost hit a cyclist because he had too many lights in back. It was dark, I was going up a big hill with an S curve when I saw at least 8 lights of various shapes and sizes. Some lights were flashing in different patterns and others weren't. He was going very slow in a 50 MPH zone. From the angle I saw it it looked like some type of construction project all the way at the top of the hill on the other side of the road. I was almost on top of him before I realized it was a bike.
OmegaWolf is offline  
Likes For OmegaWolf:
Old 11-15-21, 10:18 PM
  #4  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 1,568

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 608 Post(s)
Liked 1,303 Times in 667 Posts
I sometimes use two flashing red lights on the rear. One attached to my saddlebag and the second on the back of my helmet. I tilt the helmet light to be more visible to vehicles on my left.

I also use a daytime running strobe light on the front fork.

If I am hit and survive at least the talking orifice can't say they did not see me if LEO arrives and the lights are still flashing.
CAT7RDR is offline  
Likes For CAT7RDR:
Old 11-15-21, 11:07 PM
  #5  
Russ Roth
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Shore of Long Island
Posts: 2,078

Bikes: 2010 Carrera Volans, 2015 C-Dale Trail 2sl, 2017 Raleigh Rush Hour, 2017 Blue Proseccio, 1992 Giant Perigee, 80s Gitane Rallye Tandem

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 785 Post(s)
Liked 629 Times in 477 Posts
It'll get you run over by a Tesla Apparently they have a habit of running into parked cop cars that are on the side of the road, having two flashing rear lights might make you look like a cop car to them. On the other hand, I've also heard anecdotally that people at night tend to run into stopped flashing cop cars as well. Its happened at least three times on one parkway alone just in the last 4 years I've lived on LI and I even knew one of the state troopers involved in one of the incidences. So more than one could have a negative effect though still not as bad as none.
Russ Roth is offline  
Old 11-15-21, 11:26 PM
  #6  
rsbob 
Sniveling Weasel
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 2,252
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 813 Post(s)
Liked 1,420 Times in 835 Posts
Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post
It'll get you run over by a Tesla Apparently they have a habit of running into parked cop cars that are on the side of the road, having two flashing rear lights might make you look like a cop car to them. On the other hand, I've also heard anecdotally that people at night tend to run into stopped flashing cop cars as well. Its happened at least three times on one parkway alone just in the last 4 years I've lived on LI and I even knew one of the state troopers involved in one of the incidences. So more than one could have a negative effect though still not as bad as none.
The majority of those are DUIs/DWIs

Two seems better than one but more seems redundant. Just my opinion.
__________________
Immoderate Cyclist “No regerts”



rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 11-15-21, 11:30 PM
  #7  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,502

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1187 Post(s)
Liked 851 Times in 413 Posts
How bout Three.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Likes For 10 Wheels:
Old 11-15-21, 11:37 PM
  #8  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,502

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1187 Post(s)
Liked 851 Times in 413 Posts
I have Four Single led head lights. Pic all on Bright.
I only run One on Low when I ride.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Likes For 10 Wheels:
Old 11-16-21, 12:35 AM
  #9  
Calsun
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Posts: 455
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 186 Post(s)
Liked 102 Times in 81 Posts
Many years ago the feds mandated reflectors on bikes and these were put on the pedals and in the spokes of the wheels. As these reflectors moved the made the bicycle much more noticeable to motorists. A few years ago I was driving home on a dark country road and the light from my car's headlights was reflected back for reflectors that were moving up and down. The rider was wearing black pants and a black top and was in the roadway. But for the pedal reflectors I would have hit him.

Motorcycles now have tail lights that have a string of LED lights that make it appear that the light is moving from side to side. These are also more effective as our eyes are primed to look for movement.

The only place I have ever felt safe riding my bike was on city streets that were brightly lit and where cars could average less than 30 mph with the stop lights. Anywhere else and some inattentive motorist is going to hit you and then tell the cops it was your fault.
Calsun is offline  
Likes For Calsun:
Old 11-16-21, 03:17 AM
  #10  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,186
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1285 Post(s)
Liked 1,116 Times in 682 Posts
3M makes black colored reflective tape that I apply to the rims and frame. I also put silver 3M reflective tape on the crank arms and wear reflective leg bands at night, in addition to a reflective vest.

Does anyone else find the flashing strobe light of an approaching cyclist to be nauseating? I run my front light on steady during the day.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Likes For GhostRider62:
Old 11-16-21, 05:26 AM
  #11  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 1,709

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 651 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 298 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
3M makes black colored reflective tape that I apply to the rims and frame. I also put silver 3M reflective tape on the crank arms and wear reflective leg bands at night, in addition to a reflective vest..
'Be Seen' lighting is a case where more is not always 'better' You want to call attention to yourself, but not cause confusion. Like mentioned earlier, pedal and wheel reflectors make a pattern of movement that is quickly and readily identified as 'Bicycle"
I'm not surprised that 10 Wheels 'Mothership' stops traffic. It certainly doesn't look like a bicycle, and if other road users have to figure out what you are, they don't know what you're going to do next.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Does anyone else find the flashing strobe light of an approaching cyclist to be nauseating? I run my front light on steady during the day.
On an MUP, yeah, running your 'anti-collision' lights is usually overkill. On the road, however, most bike headlights aren't bright enough or have large enough reflectors to stand out in daylight. A flashing light draws the eye better in low-contrast conditions like that. I've seen a couple lights that have a low-low-high pattern that's really effective.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Likes For Ironfish653:
Old 11-16-21, 05:33 AM
  #12  
Pratt
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2019
Posts: 655
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 243 Post(s)
Liked 241 Times in 156 Posts
Lights are obviously a good idea, but their use means you are relying, to some extent, on the vigilance of others to avoid you. The (rare) reports of motorists running into stopped patrol cars, with their light flashing, shows that lights are not a cure all.
One place lights can help is, counterintuitively, on nice, lightly travelled, country roads on nice sunny days. As a car in the sun approaches a nice shady stretch, the driver's light adapted eyes will not be able to pick out a cyclist in the shade. Nor will he be expecting other traffic on this lightly travelled road. There, lights could help, if the driver is alert. Just something to stoke our paranoia.
Pratt is offline  
Likes For Pratt:
Old 11-16-21, 05:34 AM
  #13  
GhostRider62
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2021
Posts: 2,186
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1285 Post(s)
Liked 1,116 Times in 682 Posts
Originally Posted by Ironfish653 View Post
'Be Seen' lighting is a case where more is not always 'better' You want to call attention to yourself, but not cause confusion. Like mentioned earlier, pedal and wheel reflectors make a pattern of movement that is quickly and readily identified as 'Bicycle"
I'm not surprised that 10 Wheels 'Mothership' stops traffic. It certainly doesn't look like a bicycle, and if other road users have to figure out what you are, they don't know what you're going to do next.



On an MUP, yeah, running your 'anti-collision' lights is usually overkill. On the road, however, most bike headlights aren't bright enough or have large enough reflectors to stand out in daylight. A flashing light draws the eye better in low-contrast conditions like that. I've seen a couple lights that have a low-low-high pattern that's really effective.
Some are concerned with aesthetics and would not put reflectors onto their spokes. The black reflective tape keeps the bike pretty.

I'd like to see studies about flashing front lights. I doubt I am alone on that. If I am in a paceline in night riding, my tail light is on steady mode and the blinky one is turned off.
GhostRider62 is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 05:47 AM
  #14  
Branko D
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 612
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 259 Post(s)
Liked 324 Times in 192 Posts
I prefer steady front light, and rear flashing if solo or steady in a group; flashing front light bothers me.

Anyway, in traffic I'd shy away from the unexpected - tons of lights in confusing patterns and so on might be (it's a good question if it is) worse for safety than one good, strong light.
Branko D is offline  
Likes For Branko D:
Old 11-16-21, 06:23 AM
  #15  
Bald Paul
Senior Member
 
Bald Paul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 793
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 373 Post(s)
Liked 681 Times in 319 Posts
I ride with three lights. One white in front, flashes during the day (I seldom ride at night, as my 'night vision' isn't what it used to be.) Two in the rear, one under my saddle, one on the back of my helmet, both flashing during the day. I think if I had to ride after dark, the front light would be on steady for obvious reasons, and I would have one rear light on steady, and the other flashing.
Bald Paul is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 06:34 AM
  #16  
livedarklions
High Performance Noodler
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 12,377

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Giant OCR A1; SOMA Double Cross Disc; 2022 Allez Elite mit der SRAM

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6460 Post(s)
Liked 6,122 Times in 3,461 Posts
As a driver, I find that flashing lights can cause more trouble than they help if they're not done right. Rear red gets to be a problem if you have lights flashing at a high rate--it interferes with the ability to determine where you are and where you're going, especially if it's coupled with another flashing light.

One solid red and a relatively slow blink rate on another seems to work pretty well. Fast strobing makes no sense to me whatsoever either on front or back. I don't believe it really is significantly more effective at
drawing attention, and it just adds an element of confusion. Confused drivers make big mistakes.
livedarklions is online now  
Likes For livedarklions:
Old 11-16-21, 06:43 AM
  #17  
OldTryGuy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: SW Fl.
Posts: 5,339

Bikes: Day6 Semi Recumbent "FIREBALL", 1981 Custom Touring Paramount, 1983 Road Paramount, 2013 Giant Propel Advanced SL3, 2018 Specialized Red Roubaix Expert mech., 2002 Magna 7sp hybrid, 1976 Bassett Racing 45sp Cruiser

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 963 Post(s)
Liked 578 Times in 376 Posts
Red helmet Road ID flashing, red flashing under seat, red flashing left handlebar end.

Front solid white for road and flashing on bar

Left and right below knees and wrapped around legs lighting the outside of leg a BLUE flashing strap.

Most of my riding is night after midnight.
OldTryGuy is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 07:04 AM
  #18  
TiHabanero
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 3,787
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1415 Post(s)
Liked 839 Times in 445 Posts
10 Wheels, is that Mrs. Armitage's trike?
TiHabanero is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 07:46 AM
  #19  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 6,794
Mentioned: 65 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2252 Post(s)
Liked 1,305 Times in 852 Posts
I have a NoxGear vest for night running.

https://www.noxgear.com/tracer2
seypat is offline  
Likes For seypat:
Old 11-16-21, 08:06 AM
  #20  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 1,709

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 Softride

Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 651 Post(s)
Liked 478 Times in 298 Posts
Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
Some are concerned with aesthetics and would not put reflectors onto their spokes. The black reflective tape keeps the bike pretty.
I don't have reflectors on my spokes or my pedals, either. When I was doing a lot of commuting, I ran tires with the reflective strip on the sidewalls, and yellow reflective ankle bands (keep your pant legs out of the chain, too)
I've also used colored reflective tape to do graphics on Motos, race cars, and helmets too.

Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I'd like to see studies about flashing front lights. I doubt I am alone on that. If I am in a paceline in night riding, my tail light is on steady mode and the blinky one is turned off.
It's a known thing that some people are sensitive to fast flashing strobe lights; epileptics are particularly susceptible. That's why you see warning signs about strobe lights in use; often around attractions or amusement parks, sometimes even music videos.

Strobes would be bad form in a nighttime pace line, blink or steady would be more appropriate; unless it's like a "Night Color Ride" where the point is to look like a rolling discotheque.
Ironfish653 is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 08:08 AM
  #21  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 7,415

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1840 Post(s)
Liked 1,096 Times in 695 Posts
I'm usually happy with two rear flashers; if the batteries run down on one, the other should still work. (And if it doesn't, the steady dyno tail light will have to do the job!) I seem to be visible, as I can usually hear the traffic coming up behind me slow down and/or move over.

Dyno headlight is my primary. I have a helmet light that's usually on low (when it's on), but I'll turn it to obnoxious flashing if I'm going through "event" traffic. The flasher is good to point at idiots' faces who think they don't need to stop for me coming out of a side street or parking lot.
pdlamb is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 08:11 AM
  #22  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 27,204

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4495 Post(s)
Liked 2,096 Times in 1,435 Posts
Originally Posted by Rstyle View Post
yes. here in MA there is no limit
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 08:14 AM
  #23  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 27,204

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 106 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4495 Post(s)
Liked 2,096 Times in 1,435 Posts
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Yes.
I had Five Dinotte's on my Trike. Ran them on Strobe.
Stopped ALL Traffic FIVE times on a 4 lane divided 45 mph limit road.
Went back to Just TWO.
One Front One Rear.
I like the gas grill on back. you go "tailgating" w/ that? ;-)
rumrunn6 is offline  
Likes For rumrunn6:
Old 11-16-21, 08:31 AM
  #24  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,342

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 478 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 167 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
As a driver, I find that flashing lights can cause more trouble than they help if they're not done right. Rear red gets to be a problem if you have lights flashing at a high rate--it interferes with the ability to determine where you are and where you're going, especially if it's coupled with another flashing light. . . . .
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.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 11-16-21, 08:41 AM
  #25  
livedarklions
High Performance Noodler
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 12,377

Bikes: Serotta Atlanta; 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Giant OCR A1; SOMA Double Cross Disc; 2022 Allez Elite mit der SRAM

Mentioned: 56 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6460 Post(s)
Liked 6,122 Times in 3,461 Posts
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.

I'm not going to spend a lot of time digging up multiple cites, but I think this is the general consensus for flashing and solid lights no matter what they're attached to:

Flashing lights will be perceived as having higher brightness than steady-burning lights, up to a flash frequency of about 15 flashes per second. Such brightness enhancement can aid in conspicuity, and several rear lighting systems have been designed to have a flash rate between 5 and 9 flashes per second in order to maximize their perceived brightness. While conspicuity may be greater with such configurations, an observer’s ability to make accurate judgements of relative speed or distance may be compromised when flashing or strobing lights are used. Croft observed that the judgments required in tracking an object were difficult to make under strobing conditions, yet very easy in steady-lighting conditions. Observations made during a study of service vehicle lighting for maintenance operations similarly pointed out that strobing and flashing systems designed for maximum conspicuity can at the same time reduce one's ability to judge relative speed and distance. Periodic sampling of the field of view in another study resulted in deterioration of one's motion-tracking ability that increased as the distance to the object of interest decreased.


I've definitely noticed this effect of flashing lights at night, but I do think it's somewhat negated if you also have a solid light. Two rapid flashers is a complete mess.
livedarklions is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2021 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.