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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 12-15-14, 03:27 PM
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Zapdaba
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Rear lights: steady or blinking?

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?
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Old 12-15-14, 03:31 PM
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Blinking
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Old 12-15-14, 03:33 PM
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Usually blinking, but steady if you're bunch riding.
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Old 12-15-14, 05:35 PM
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Both. I have a blinking light on my bike and have a halo belt on my waist on steady
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Old 12-15-14, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Phoenix 6.0 View Post
Both. I have a blinking light on my bike and have a halo belt on my waist on steady
I use both also, but in my case it is two small LED lights on the seatpost, like these:

Fietslampjes bedrukt met logo, als relatiegeschenk of promotiemiddel
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Old 12-15-14, 05:44 PM
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Blinking. Harder to confuse the light with a car from a long way away.
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Old 12-15-14, 05:59 PM
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I use a Cateye LD-1100. It features two rows of LEDs, each row individually configurable. I set the top row for steady, and the bottom row blinking. They're still available, online and at LBSes.
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Old 12-15-14, 06:05 PM
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Blinking. My state also allows a blinking white on the front during sunlight hours.
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Old 12-15-14, 06:38 PM
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Originally Posted by znomit View Post
Usually blinking, but steady if you're bunch riding.
+1 on that.

I have noticed a difference in headlights when it comes to blinking vs. steady. Drivers seem to see the blinking headlight much better. I'm sure the same goes for rear lights, but I've never ridden with just a steady rear light before.
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Old 12-15-14, 06:57 PM
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Blinking if riding solo or off the back.
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Old 12-15-14, 07:13 PM
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I go with blinking rapidly front and rear.
The rapid blinking seems more unique to bike riders and pedestrians then a steady light or the slow blinking when. I’m driving a car if I see the rapid blinking I know it’s most likely a bike.

Unless they notice your movement a steady light could be almost anything and the slow blinking light could be the blinker of a car.
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Old 12-15-14, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by KAH View Post
. I’m driving a car if I see the rapid blinking I know it’s most likely a bike.
+1, and the more the merrier. I saw a commuter the other day with about 10 blinkies on the back of his bike... 4 or 5 on his backpack, one on his helmet, 2 more on the frame. Oh yes, I saw him.
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Old 12-15-14, 07:46 PM
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planet bike super blinky!!! it's the bomb!!
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Old 12-15-14, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by rangerdavid View Post
planet bike super blinky!!! it's the bomb!!
Planet Bike Superflash turbo is brighter. 1.0 watt vs .5 watt.
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Old 12-15-14, 08:21 PM
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Both. Blinky attracts attention better, but steady lights are better for judging location/distance.
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Old 12-15-14, 08:47 PM
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Or you could sorta split the difference and go with 'occulting'
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Old 12-15-14, 09:04 PM
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Four tail lights on my night-ride bike. Two PB Superflash, 1 Cygolite Hotshot, and 1 Foxfire. All set to blink. Do not forget to wear a high-viz safety vest with silver reflective panels. Very visible.

Last edited by doctor j; 12-16-14 at 06:52 AM.
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Old 12-15-14, 10:00 PM
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Blinking on my CX and knight rider strobe affect on HT
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Old 12-16-14, 03:04 AM
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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?
Blinking is more visible, and distinguishes you from other vehicles.

Also, don't get one of those fancy tiny silicone things. Get something bright and visible.
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Old 12-16-14, 06:51 AM
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From eons on motorcycles, I've learned that, especially drunk drivers, drive toward steady light. It's called 'target fixation' and it is the reason so many cops and 'pulled over drivers' get rear ended.
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Old 12-16-14, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by hardcharger1 View Post
From eons on motorcycles, I've learned that, especially drunk drivers, drive toward steady light. It's called 'target fixation' and it is the reason so many cops and 'pulled over drivers' get rear ended.
Hah, I got flamed on here several years ago for suggesting target fixation was actually a thing. But of course, I work at the US DOT so what the hell do I know about that stuff?
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Old 12-16-14, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by hardcharger1 View Post
From eons on motorcycles, I've learned that, especially drunk drivers, drive toward steady light. It's called 'target fixation' and it is the reason so many cops and 'pulled over drivers' get rear ended.

"steady light" meaning non-blinking? But cops are blinking, aren't they?
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Old 12-16-14, 09:47 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by hardcharger1 View Post
From eons on motorcycles, I've learned that, especially drunk drivers, drive toward steady light. It's called 'target fixation' and it is the reason so many cops and 'pulled over drivers' get rear ended.
Actually it's the blinking light that attracts drunks and it's called "moth effect" and the reason so many cop cars get hit alongside the road.
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Old 12-16-14, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Both. Blinky attracts attention better, but steady lights are better for judging location/distance.

^^^This guy gets it.
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Old 12-16-14, 10:01 AM
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One of each.
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