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Tips to stay visible while riding?

Old 10-27-19, 08:40 PM
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FlippinFlags
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Tips to stay visible while riding?

Bright colored helmets, shirts, panniers..

What are some other ideas to stay highly visible to others while touring?
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Old 10-27-19, 09:28 PM
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3m reflective tape


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Old 10-27-19, 09:29 PM
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My touring almost always is during daylight hours. I often have one flashing taillight on during daytime. Usually a Planet Bike Superflash or a Planet Bike Superflash 65. Those two taillights each use two AAA batteries, when touring I use rechargeable NiMH batteries, recharge them weekly, even if they are still bright because recharging them before they are dim keeps them bright. If it is foggy, rainy or a dark overcast, I might have both of them turned on, I have both mounted on the back of the bike. On one trip one of my taillights died after too much rain, from now on I always have two mounted on the bike.

I did two trips with ACA. They issue you a brightly colored reflective triangle that they want you to put on the back of your bike. I have started to put one of those on my bike even when I am not riding with ACA.

And on my last trip, one day I put it on the left side of my bike instead of in the center, I might be imagining things but I think that the traffic started to give me a bit more room as they passed. Perhaps they focused on that triangle instead of focusing on the center of my bike as they passed. From now on, that triangle goes on the left side instead of the center if I have a pair of rear panniers on the bike.

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Old 10-28-19, 04:14 AM
  #4  
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I've become a fan of high viz on my moving bits - gloves and socks. A few years ago on an early start group ride I noticed how that stood out even after my mind seemed to filter out the high number of yellow green shirts/jackets.
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Old 10-28-19, 05:08 AM
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Jim from Boston
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Tips to stay visible while riding?
Originally Posted by FlippinFlags View Post
Bright colored helmets, shirts, panniers..

What are some other ideas to stay highly visible to others while touring?
Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
…I did two trips with ACA. They issue you a brightly colored reflective triangle that they want you to put on the back of your bike. I have started to put one of those on my bike even when I am not riding with ACA.

And on my last trip, one day I put it on the left side of my bike instead of in the center, I might be imagining things but I think that the traffic started to give me a bit more room as they passed.

Perhaps they focused on that triangle instead of focusing on the center of my bike as they passed. From now on, that triangle goes on the left side instead of the center if I have a pair of rear panniers on the bike.





FYA, see this discussion on the Advocacy & Safety Forum, including a link to a Touring Forum thread, about this little-used visibility aid:“All hail the [pool] noodle” (link) about using a pool noodle for visibility to shoo away unwanted intruders, even off the Road:
Originally Posted by genec View Post
Well if anybody is still following this thread, and my rant about eyeglass/hemet mirrors and how they don't work for me... here's news...

The dang thing works great in the office as a "who's behind me" mirror at my computer.

I work with my back to the door, due to the office arrangement. Not the best arrangement, to be sure... and on occasion someone pops in and surprises the heck out of me... in a rude way…
Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
What other bike accesories can be repurposed for the office? I immediatly thought of a bell (actually an AirZound airhorn), but I think a "personal pool noodle" to preserve personal space may be most useful.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-28-19 at 05:14 AM.
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Old 10-28-19, 05:19 AM
  #6  
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I don't do anything to try to stay visible, especially for daytime riding. If I am riding at night, which does happen, I will have the headlight and taillight, I generally leave both on blinkie mode as the headlight is more of an attractor of something up ahead than the taillight is. Given the headlight battery has such short battery life keeping it on blinkie mode ensures I can get a whole night of riding in on one recharge.

I look at things the easy way, if someone wants to hit me, no matter what I try to do to make myself more visible...they are still going to hit me. When it's your time to go you will go no matter what you are doing. You can't change your lifespan one single second no matter what you do.

Around home I don't use a headlight overnight most of the year, only when snow in on the pavement or I'm going through an intersection where I know even during daylight it can be problematic. I ride the same area all the time and I know where the bad pavement, broken glass, etc is located. I don't want the drivers to see me. I change the way I ride the bike after dark. I give up my right of way when going through an intersection. I have the right of way but I intentionally slow down as I approach an intersection if I see headlight coming. I let the intersection clear out and then I continue on through an empty intersection. I don't have any cars around to worry about. If there are no cars, I have any cars to hits me. At the same time I don't have to worry about deer hopping out in front of me and freezing while staring into my headlight so I hit the deer. I don't give the deer anything to stare at, only a reason to keep on running. It's all about safety, not legalities. If the laws were looking out for my safety all cell phone towers would be required to be removed across the country. No one needs a cell phone...they haven't been around since the beginning of time, so no one needs them.
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Old 10-28-19, 09:17 AM
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There are several new high tech lights out there like Bontrager's Flare R which are so bright that the red pulsating light can be seen almost a mile down the road even on a bright sunny day. I don't generally use one on tour because it's another item that would need to be recharged on a daily basis but I have friends that tour with them. I do use them on daily rides from home and they are amazing what they can do for your visibility.
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Old 10-28-19, 09:23 AM
  #8  
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Lots of lights, day or night.
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Old 10-28-19, 09:34 AM
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Lights are great at night, but for daytime, that's why you see my bright orange raincoat in pics, attached on top of my sleeping bag bag, on the rear rack. You can see it well from the rear and both sides, so I mostly just need to look where I'm going. 🤔😉
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Old 10-28-19, 09:44 AM
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I resemble a Christmas tree on wheels when I ride. Blinker on the front (NOT a strobe), 3 flashers on the back. Orange safety vest. My rain jacket is high visibility yellow. I've had numerous motorists comment on how visible I am when I stop at gas stations. For nighttime riding, I have two headlights (solid not flashing) and reflective ankle straps.

I know that none of this is absolute protection from careless or impaired drivers, but I figure it will give my husband solid evidence to use to sue the heck out of anyone who happens to take me out.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by FlippinFlags View Post
Bright colored helmets, shirts, panniers..

What are some other ideas to stay highly visible to others while touring?
So FF,
What do you use presently?
As a car driver, I very much notice bright coloured tops, panniers, but on tour I don't take my red blinkie light as some others do.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:36 PM
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Front and rear flashing light. Although, I'm currently investigating a cycle clothing ensemble that looks like a Facebook post My jersey that had a stick figure family on it to represent my family responsibilities got me no quarter.

Last edited by nomadmax; 10-28-19 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 10-28-19, 01:48 PM
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Don't forget that even with unlimited amounts of LED lights front and rear, you can be almost invisible from the side profile at a T intersection. I see a rise in amber side running light options for bicycles.
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Old 10-28-19, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by GadgetGirlIL View Post
I resemble a Christmas tree on wheels when I ride. Blinker on the front (NOT a strobe), 3 flashers on the back. Orange safety vest. My rain jacket is high visibility yellow.

I've had numerous motorists comment on how visible I am when I stop at gas stations. For nighttime riding, I have two headlights (solid not flashing) and reflective ankle straps.

I know that none of this is absolute protection from careless or impaired drivers, but I figure it will give my husband solid evidence to use to sue the heck out of anyone who happens to take me out.
Good strategy, and here’s a real life example (from a thread, "Daytime Lights: Best Thing I Ever Did"):
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Having a bright flashing light on the front & back of your bike ought to negate the "I didn't see him" excuse somewhat.

Why couldn't you see the cyclist wearing brightly colored clothing with flashing lights on his bike?
Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
What I mean is, a distracted driver shouldn't be able to use "I didn't see him" when the cyclist has brightly colored clothing and bright flashing lights.

I hope my daytime lights attract the attention of drivers so they know I'm there, but we all know that all too often "I didn't see him" is what they say because they weren't looking.

So I would hope that a cop would ask the driver, "WHY didn't you see them? What were you looking at which made you not see them?"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
… I was also in a cycling accident three six years ago, that kept me off work for three months and off the bike for five…
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I have had the experience of being hit-and-run, presumably not intentionally, but by a distracted (?inebriated) driver. The police filed charges.
The police were great, and their report at the subsequent trial was spot on and particularly noted my details for visibility, including lights and high vis vest.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I think the police testimony in my accident about lights was favorable to my case, though was in the situation of a rear hit-and-run at night.

Nonetheless, I think that any safety practice, including daytime (front and rear) lights, helmets, FRAP, even if unproved by studies, would be favorably considered by even the non-cyling public, including judges and juries.

The driver got a year in jail.
and we did get a rather hefty settlement from his insurance agency. I even had two different lawyers offer their services to litigate.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 10-28-19 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 10-28-19, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
Don't forget that even with unlimited amounts of LED lights front and rear, you can be almost invisible from the side profile at a T intersection. I see a rise in amber side running light options for bicycles.
Not I, I have multicolored LED lights in my spokes, front and rear. Plus I've put some reflective tape in strategic locations on the frame.
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Old 10-28-19, 04:56 PM
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Nudity...that'll make 'em look....twice!
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Old 10-28-19, 05:27 PM
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I use yellow panniers. I wear (for the most part) yellow, mostly yellow and often a very bright Mavic jersey of safety orange. (I bought 4 of them. Lousy zippers so a local bike chian was seling them for $30. I had a local dry cleaner put good YKK zippers on. $30 a jersey. Total price - a bargain. They are very high quality jerseys that will last many more years.) My cycling jackets are bright yellow. Yellow fenders whenever I can get one of the width I want. (Cursed fender makers that won't make narrow road width fenders in yellow plastic. SKS, Planet Bike.)

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Old 10-28-19, 05:48 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by Secret Squirrel View Post
Don't forget that even with unlimited amounts of LED lights front and rear, you can be almost invisible from the side profile at a T intersection. I see a rise in amber side running light options for bicycles.
Most of my tires have a reflective sidewall. And I have seen lots of bike tires that had reflective sidewalls when I was behind the wheel, they were very visible from the side.
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Old 10-28-19, 07:45 PM
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Hi viz stuff definitely makes a difference. I cycled with a friend who had an obnoxiously bright orange helmet and even when he was far behind me on rainy days I could still pick out his helmet in my mirror. I'm definitely going to think about the color the next time I'm shopping for a helmet.

As far as lights, most of them will be largely useless during the day. It's serious cash money, but if you want a taillight that will make you visible all times of the day and night in any kind of weather you can't go wrong with Dinotte. I have this light and it is a very high quality product. The Planet Bike superflash lights mentioned above are really good value for the money also.
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Old 10-28-19, 09:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Milton Keynes View Post
Not I, I have multicolored LED lights in my spokes, front and rear. Plus I've put some reflective tape in strategic locations on the frame.
I've seen a couple local riders that had Hokey Spokes (AFAIK) spoke lights; very cool looking & really add to esp side visibility though a bit heavy.

NiteFlux 360° lights also look interesting.

For touring a fancy Germany dynohub/light set would seem ideal, no more worries about toting or recharging batteries, can give more flexibility to a tour schedule. Expensive though.
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Old 10-29-19, 03:10 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by FlippinFlags View Post
Bright colored helmets, shirts, panniers..

What are some other ideas to stay highly visible to others while touring?


This is a photo I took on a rainy, gloomy day in Plymouth, UK in 2012. I saw these cyclists and quickly snapped this photo.

You can answer for yourself what some ideas to stay highly visible are ...


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Old 10-29-19, 05:30 AM
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A twist on staying visible while riding and on riding trails versus riding on the road...

I call it the 5/50 rule of traffic flow. I discovered many years back while riding in the evenings with no lighting equipment. I would always try to get home between sunset and dark. This was happening all winter long going on into spring/summer. I was generally always riding home from the library which a couple days a week would close at 8PM the rest of the week it would close at 6PM.

As January moved into February...into March...into April and beyond I was constantly getting home later and later each evening. As spring was coming around and we here stateside had switched into daylight savings time I started noticing a dramatic change in the amount of traffic on the same road as I was riding home later and later each evening. I finally came down and gave the effect the name 5/50 rule of traffic flow. It works during the school year, generally Labor Day to Memorial Day. It doesn't work during the summer months as humans operate differently during the summer months as compared to when they have kids they have to get bed so they can get up and go to school the next day.

The rule is simply...
Take the number of cars that pass by a given point(both directions, unless on a one way road) between 5 and 6 PM.
Each hour after that you cut the expected traffic count by 50% from the hour before it.

Another words say 400 cars pass by a given point 5-6PM.
6-7PM the same location will have 200 cars pass by it.
7-8PM the same location will have 100 cars pass by it.
8-9PM the same location will have 50 cars pass by it.
9-10PM the same location will have 25 cars pass by it.
10-11PM the same location will have 12.5 cars pass by it.
Typically if you are in an area with 3 shift work(factories) you will have a bump up, sometimes quite nicely, between 11PM-midnight and then afterwards you own the road until 4-5AM as 1stc shifters start to head into work.

I've used this concept to save my as in the middle of snow storms and sat out the snow storm at McDonalds surfing the web and didn't ride home until 8PM and had the roads to myself. Last year in late August I headed home around 7:30PM one day and I was spooked by the lack of traffic flow and then it hit me that it was the first day of the school year. I sat there riding, laughing my butt off.

Due to the naturedness of the human population this concept works on any road anywhere in the country. It only works during the school year. Summer months the rule changes but I have never been able to figure out what the equation is. I think it probably is something like 8/50 or 8/75(8-9PM initial traffic count) but I have never really been able to get a real feel for it as of yet.

By riding later in the evening you can avoid the traffic at anytime of the year.
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Old 10-29-19, 06:56 AM
  #23  
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I am sure some (all) of this will be considered heresy by some, but I have come to think there is some merit to it in at least some situations. I try to be pretty visible. I am not convinced that there isn't a possibility of going too far though. I wonder about two possible pitfalls.

I had a conversation with a flagman who was required to wear one of the most incredibly visible outfits I had ever seen. He looked like he could be seen from space. His observation was that he thought that drivers sometimes seemed to unconsciously aim at him due to being caught up by target fixation. Not sure if that is really the case or not but target fixation is a real thing. I observed it in my off road motorcycle racing days where riders tended to get freaked by obstacles and looked at the obstacles rather that the path between them. It tends to be true that when things get out of hand you go where you look. A nodding off or drunk driver is likely to hit the only tree in the county due to target fixation. So I can see some possible merit to his theory. He suggested wearing high vis stuff but not going crazy with it.

On the lights issue. I like to use a blinkie when it is raining, or foggy, or at night, but I don't like those super bright ones except maybe where you are in town and competing with a lot of competing lights to be seen. On tour I am on rural roads 99% of the time and find a little blinkie to be adequate. BTW, I can see the target fixation thing being a factor here as well.

I used to regularly ride a section of road where there were two lanes or traffic, a double yellow line, a close guard rail on one side, and no shoulder the other either. It was a twisty road, but the only choice to get where I needed to go. Cars were used to seeing bikes there. Traffic was such that passing generally involved at most a short delay for a sensible driver and usually if a cyclist was willing to hug the white line a driver could allow 3' and not cross the double yellow. People generally just smoothly rolled by me on most days.

On some days there would be a cyclist with one of those super bright flashing lights. I found that on those days a few drivers would get freaked and wouldn't pass. They'd back up behind him refusing to pass. Then cars behind them would get angry, blow horns, hate on the cyclists, and sometimes try to pass the cars ahead of them and the cyclist despite not really being able to see if it was safe. The drivers of the cars getting angry and trying to pass unsafely were jerks and wrong, but I seldom saw that behavior on the days that the guy with the super bright lights wasn't there. Even the cars coming the other way that were almost hit head on by the unsafely passing driver probably blamed the cyclist and hated on bikes from then on.

It may be that the guy with the bright lights was taking a little more of the lane, but it didn't look to me as if he was. He definitely wasn't obviously out in the middle of the lane "taking the lane". It wasn't a spot where I thought taking the lane was called for since there was enough room for a car to pass allowing me three feet if I hugged the white line.

I was happy that they allowed me 3' and don't want them to allow more space than that. Places where I need more space than that I generally either won't ride or will take the lane. Tactics like having things sticking out the side of the bike or wobbling when cars approach are not things I consider advisable.

I don't think that issue with the super bright light would be the case in town where there are lots of competing lights and my little blinkie is pretty ineffective there.
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Old 10-29-19, 07:54 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
I've seen a couple local riders that had Hokey Spokes (AFAIK) spoke lights; very cool looking & really add to esp side visibility though a bit heavy.

NiteFlux 360° lights also look interesting.
This is the style I bought from Amazon:



They're relatively lightweight, each has a single LED powered by a CR2032 battery and seem to last months on a battery. They're just bright enough to be attention getting but not so bright they're a distraction, IMO. I got a pack of five, two multi-color, one red, one green, and one blue. Put two on each wheel on opposite sides and they seem to balance out OK. I secured them with clear zip ties through the holes in each wing. All you do is squeeze them to turn them on or off.

Before I got the lights I put strips of reflective tape about an inch & a half long around each side of each wheel. Now that I have the lights the tape isn't really needed but I left it on because it would be a bugger to try to remove it all, plus it's not hurting anything having a little extra reflective visibility.

Last edited by Milton Keynes; 10-29-19 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 10-29-19, 07:58 AM
  #25  
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Bikes: Trek 1100 road bike, Roadmaster gravel/commuter/beater mountain bike

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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I wear (for the most part) yellow, mostly yellow and often a very bright Mavic jersey of safety orange.
I do too. During the summer I usually wear brightly colored moisture-wicking shirts in bright yellow, neon orange, or neon green. During colder weather I have a bright yellow cycling jacket with reflective strips on the back. Should help me be seen during the day. Don't know how well the bright colors help in the dark but that's what the lights are for.
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