Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Rear lights: steady or blinking?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Rear lights: steady or blinking?

Old 12-16-14, 10:17 AM
  #26  
kingston 
Jedi Master
 
kingston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Lake Forest, IL
Posts: 2,633

Bikes: http://stinkston.blogspot.com/p/my-bikes.html

Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1083 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 16 Posts
Looks like I'm in the small minority, but when I'm cycling I find other cyclists' blinking lights to be incredibly annoying, with the possible exception of the L&M vis 180, which is really more of a pulse than a blink. I ride a lot of miles in the dark and never use blinking lights.
kingston is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 10:37 AM
  #27  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 18,220
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Both. Blinky attracts attention better, but steady lights are better for judging location/distance.
this is what I do too. I figure that a steady taillight doesn't tell people I'm riding a bicycle, so the blinky helps with that as well as being noticable from a distance
unterhausen is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 10:50 AM
  #28  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 14,951

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

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 338 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
Two rear lights sounds like a good idea, but one already sufficiently annoys everyone I ride with.
I put it in a low, constant, always on, mode, that strobes.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:07 AM
  #29  
nhluhr
John Wayne Toilet Paper
 
nhluhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Roanoke
Posts: 1,951

Bikes: BH carbon, Ritchey steel, Kona aluminum

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When I lived in Seattle, I made a long commute of about 21mi each direction that started before dawn every day. I would typically run one solid light and one blinking light. I tend to feel that the blinking is unmistakable and impossible to miss visually but the solid light is easier to identify distance/movement etc. Of course, I also had reflective mudflaps on my fenders and some reflective patches on my light-colored bag and jersey.
nhluhr is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:23 AM
  #30  
bconneraz
Senior Member
 
bconneraz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: So Cal
Posts: 707

Bikes: Cimarrons 1835, 0836, 1767, 3517, 0768, 3408, a LHT, and a couple others

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have lights on my helmet and bicycle; all blinking.
bconneraz is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:38 AM
  #31  
Fox Farm
Senior Member
 
Fox Farm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Posts: 2,546

Bikes: Merlin Extra Light, Orbea Orca, Ritchey Outback,Tomac Revolver Mountain Bike, Cannondale Crit 3.0 now used for time trials.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 58 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Looks like I'm in the small minority, but when I'm cycling I find other cyclists' blinking lights to be incredibly annoying, with the possible exception of the L&M vis 180, which is really more of a pulse than a blink. I ride a lot of miles in the dark and never use blinking lights.
I agree with you about this. Yes, the blinky does stand out quickly but the LM Vis 180 that I also have seems to provide the motorist with the ability to judge distance. I use both. The 180 i very bright at 100 lumens.
Fox Farm is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:53 AM
  #32  
pallen 
Descends like a rock
 
pallen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 4,022

Bikes: Scott Foil, Surly Pacer

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ideally two lights, one solid, one blinky.
pallen is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 12:21 PM
  #33  
KonaRider125
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Central Coast, California
Posts: 613

Bikes: Niner RLT 9 4 Star, Kona Splice, Nashbar Carbon road bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've got a Dinotte 400 R red taillight(Extremely blight). I've tried the slow flash, constant on and rapid flash modes. Without a question cars give me more space on the rapid flash mode, draws much more attention.

The difference in motorist behavior having a daytime bright tail light is noticeable. The light was $250 but whats your life worth?
KonaRider125 is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 07:26 PM
  #34  
vasuvius
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Jersey
Posts: 153

Bikes: Workswell WCB-R-066 Ultegra 6800, LOOK 675 Light Ultegra Di2

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have the Dinotte 300R as I commute from NJ to NYC with a good sized group most days.
In a group I keep the light steady and blinking while alone.
Blinking lights at that intensity are quite distracting and when there's a few in a line it's hard to see the road.

The Dinottes are the brightest tail lights out there and are visible in bright sunlight from a fairly long distance

Originally Posted by KonaRider125 View Post
I've got a Dinotte 400 R red taillight(Extremely blight). I've tried the slow flash, constant on and rapid flash modes. Without a question cars give me more space on the rapid flash mode, draws much more attention.

The difference in motorist behavior having a daytime bright tail light is noticeable. The light was $250 but whats your life worth?
vasuvius is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:01 PM
  #35  
Zapdaba
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Zapdaba's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 67

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix Expert 2012, Specialized Stump jumper HT comp carbon, Swobo Sanchez custom build single speed freewheel.

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It looks like bright blinking is the way to go. I only wonder if a slow blink is maybe the best of both worlds?
Zapdaba is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:08 PM
  #36  
bt
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 2,664
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
target
bt is offline  
Old 12-16-14, 11:25 PM
  #37  
KLiNCK
Optically Corrected
 
KLiNCK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Posts: 533

Bikes: 2012 Specialized Sirrus , 2012 Specialized Roubaix Comp

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 91 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 9 Posts
Blink mode in daylight (front and back)
Constant beam at dusk/dark (front and back)
KLiNCK is online now  
Old 12-17-14, 01:30 AM
  #38  
coasting 
Still can't climb
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Limey in Taiwan
Posts: 23,024
Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
always blinking. it cannot be missed by a tired driver.
__________________
coasting, few quotes are worthy of him, and of those, even fewer printable in a family forum......quote 3alarmer

No @coasting, you should stay 100% as you are right now, don't change a thing....quote Heathpack
coasting is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 02:36 AM
  #39  
Long Tom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Go Ducks!
Posts: 1,549
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
The whole point is to be 100% noticed. Blinking.

Plus that gives my Serfas T-Bolt a fighting chance to last the whole ride.
Long Tom is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 08:24 AM
  #40  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 20,404

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 110 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1698 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 43 Posts
In much of Europe, blinking rear lights are illegal.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 08:31 AM
  #41  
nhluhr
John Wayne Toilet Paper
 
nhluhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Roanoke
Posts: 1,951

Bikes: BH carbon, Ritchey steel, Kona aluminum

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
In much of Europe, blinking rear lights are illegal.
I'm not positive but that might actually be the case here in USA as well, since blinking red lights are technically for emergency response vehicles, but it doesn't seem to be an issue for most of us.
nhluhr is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 08:37 AM
  #42  
wphamilton
Senior Member
 
wphamilton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Alpharetta, GA
Posts: 14,535

Bikes: Nashbar Road

Mentioned: 65 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2506 Post(s)
Liked 55 Times in 33 Posts
Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
I'm not positive but that might actually be the case here in USA as well, since blinking red lights are technically for emergency response vehicles, but it doesn't seem to be an issue for most of us.
I think that you're right, but I put my rear light on blink anyway.

I don't know that the blinking light is more "visible" (I kind of doubt it actually) but people know what it is. It's common on bikes, so people think "bicycle ahead" and that's enough reason for me.
wphamilton is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 08:49 AM
  #43  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Got a castle in - er, Minneapolis, that's where I dwell!
Posts: 24,849

Bikes: 2016 Diamondback Haanjo, 2018 Trek Domane SL5 Gravel

Mentioned: 298 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8890 Post(s)
Liked 139 Times in 83 Posts
Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
I'm not positive but that might actually be the case here in USA as well, since blinking red lights are technically for emergency response vehicles, but it doesn't seem to be an issue for most of us.
It's certainly not universally against the law - there are some jurisdictions that require both blinking and steady lights for cyclists.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 09:53 AM
  #44  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,869
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1088 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
as a car driver, I can certainly attest to the blinking gets you to notice a bike better than steady.
I use a rear blinky, and my front white light I attach to my helmet and use in blinky mode and it is incredibly effective when a side approaching car doesnt notice me---and I turn my head towards them. Being able to effectively aim my white blinky means that they suddenly see me.

I commute a lot at night in this city and blinkies front and back are the way to be noticed. The number of times over the years cars have not seen me in plain site (usually cars coming from a side street) when I had older style bike lights front and back always surprised me, and made me realize that the newer style ones (like the Planet bike turbo etc) and using my white front blinky as an aim-able light on my helmet has dramatically reduced folks in cars just not seeing me.
djb is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 10:03 AM
  #45  
KonaRider125
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Central Coast, California
Posts: 613

Bikes: Niner RLT 9 4 Star, Kona Splice, Nashbar Carbon road bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 47 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by nhluhr View Post
I'm not positive but that might actually be the case here in USA as well, since blinking red lights are technically for emergency response vehicles, but it doesn't seem to be an issue for most of us.
I think your technically not supposed to have a blinking red tail light in California(likey many other states), but its not enforced in my area. Never had a cop pull me over while riding over and tell me to turn my light off.

Bottom line I don't want to get hit by a car. Always wear red jerseys and jackets, and always use my tail light.
KonaRider125 is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 04:45 PM
  #46  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,439

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 130 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2872 Post(s)
Liked 72 Times in 51 Posts
Originally Posted by Zapdaba View Post
This MUST have been discussed to death, but I can't find it. Also not sure if this is the best forum (Road Cycling as opposed to Commuting). I've been told by both bicyclists/motorists and just motorists that rapidly blinking rear lights are a distraction and incite the reflex to drive toward the light. On the other hand, a blinking light gets attention. I'm thinking that a steady red might be more ignored. I have a Planet Cycle Turbo with a blink pattern that could cause seizures in borderline cases and I have a Light & Motion that has a slow pulse. Both also have full steady red.

Obviously, I want by back protected while I look into the souls of the motorists ahead of me. Has there been a consensus of opinion as to the "best" red pattern?
Choose whichever you like when you're riding by yourself ... choose non-blinking when you're riding with other cyclists.


And always red in the rear and clear, white, or yellow in front.
Machka is offline  
Old 12-17-14, 05:07 PM
  #47  
1991BRB1
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 101

Bikes: 1986 Fuji Del Rey, 1990 RB-1, 1995 (?) Coppi Reparto Corse

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by kingston View Post
Looks like I'm in the small minority, but when I'm cycling I find other cyclists' blinking lights to be incredibly annoying, with the possible exception of the L&M vis 180, which is really more of a pulse than a blink. I ride a lot of miles in the dark and never use blinking lights.
+1. From a daily commuter in an urban setting, my opinion is that blinking lights are annoying to ride (and drive) behind.

Also people: Tilt your headlamps toward the road, not toward people's eyes.

Worth noting: Rules for brevets and randonnees, where riders ride in day/night light/dark conditions and who must deal with sleep deprivation, blinking lights are verboten. Jan Heine I think mentions the moth effect of the blinker causing fixation on you (remember, we go where our eyes go, bike handling 101) and personally, I'd rather be "missed" by a car than not.

Last edited by 1991BRB1; 12-17-14 at 05:11 PM.
1991BRB1 is offline  
Old 12-18-14, 07:27 PM
  #48  
hardcharger1
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: Massachusets
Posts: 14

Bikes: Mongoose ledge 2.1 with road tires and cruiser bars

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
First of all target fixation has been a fact of rear enders since at least the early 1970's.
It is the steady tail light that attracts, because the person believes they are following the car in front of them and they crash into them.

Cop cars having steady tail lights are the victims, it doesn't matter what blinking lights they have.
Steady lights does absolutely nothing for judging distance at night, for all anyone knows you can be following 2 motorcycles and have no idea how far away they are.

Moth effect? I've never heard of moth effect for humans, but moths are attracted to steady light!

I have been driving motorcycles on the road since 1958, including every day through 3 New England winters with a sidecar and chains and NEVER BEEN IN AN ACCIDENT.

It's target fixation!

Keep most drivers honest and run as many lights and reflectors as you want because, when it comes to drunk or tired drivers, it doesn't matter what your running for lights, your going to get rolled up like your grandmothers old carpet.

Last edited by hardcharger1; 12-18-14 at 07:34 PM.
hardcharger1 is offline  
Old 12-18-14, 08:44 PM
  #49  
djb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Montreal Canada
Posts: 8,869
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1088 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 38 Times in 30 Posts
charger, as someone who rode motorcycles a lot also (not as much as you) but importantly, much more than cars when i was young, I agree completely with you. Would add that our constant danger on two wheels is that a lot of times, car drivers are only looking for other cars, and so just dont see us. A bicycle or a Harley.

remember in I think the early 80s there was a kit you could get to make your front headlight flash all the time?

In any case, I pretty much still assume people dont see me, even in a car, have kept my old bike (motor and pushbike) habits very much as instinct.

touch wood
touch wood
djb is offline  
Old 12-19-14, 09:14 AM
  #50  
2manybikes
Dog is my co-pilot
 
2manybikes's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 17,558

Bikes: 2 many

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 999 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by djb View Post
charger, as someone who rode motorcycles a lot also (not as much as you) but importantly, much more than cars when i was young, I agree completely with you. Would add that our constant danger on two wheels is that a lot of times, car drivers are only looking for other cars, and so just dont see us. A bicycle or a Harley.

remember in I think the early 80s there was a kit you could get to make your front headlight flash all the time?

In any case, I pretty much still assume people dont see me, even in a car, have kept my old bike (motor and pushbike) habits very much as instinct.

touch wood
touch wood
This is totally true, I did motor cycles starting in 1968. I would have been hit many times if I thought all the cars at an intersection would see me. In addition to all that, drivers don't see cars and huge trucks once in a while. Once in a while a cyclist will not see a car or a ped. One time on my beautiful Triump Bonnevile a woman looking to her left for cars, while her car was cold, and, on very high idle, slowly pushed me into the intersection with the car.
2manybikes is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.