Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
martinn
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Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby martinn » 16 Dec 2020, 4:22pm

Head Torches....does anyone else have a gripe about people using them?

I think they have their place, but not on a road or a path. Off-road when there is no one who will be coming towards you on technical descents, yep great idea, I can really see the advantage.

If someone is coming towards you with a head torch, I find that I am often dazzled by the light.
Almost worse than that is when you pass someone with a head torch, and you let them know you are there, and they look at you, I was completely blinded, when someone did this to me the other day!

slightly worryingly, I do find myself drifting towards the light when I get dazzled

This also applies to runners as well, why do they need such a bright light, on lit roads, what's wrong with a waist position for the light, pointing down wards to light the ground 5m in front of them?
I've had to stop for a couple of runners recently, as I just could not see (I don't mind stopping, slowing down to walking pace, wide passing, and sharing facilities, but I do object when i have to adjust my behaviour significantly more due to some else's (in my view) selfishness. ie not sharing)

I am assuming that the head torch users are unaware of the effect of their lights?

Or am I just being a grumpy old git about this?
Martin

Jdsk
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Re: Head torches

Postby Jdsk » 16 Dec 2020, 4:25pm

I wear one for many purposes, including walking on roads at night.

I'm aware of the risk of dazzling other people and try to avoid that.

Jonathan

peetee
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Re: Head torches

Postby peetee » 16 Dec 2020, 5:13pm

I think a torch that illuminates the body of the user would be a good move. I was considering this when I used to commute by bike, perhaps a light attached to the top tube and pointing up. If done carefully I think it would be possible without dazzling the user. However, I can see how it would be a bit more tricky to locate it for a runner.
Reflective gear is all very well but it needs a light pointing at it. Vehicles emerging from a side turn, for example, would not illuminate it.
Sorry, gone a bit off-topic there. :oops:
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

9494arnold
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Re: Head torches

Postby 9494arnold » 16 Dec 2020, 5:54pm

Nightmare . Local Mountain Bikers have the ones that illuminate the woods at night.
Absolutely Blinding if you are driving towards them , dangerously so.
And it's quite off putting when they ride part the house and shine the light into the living room.
I agree, lighting the body is a good call, it's something I have done with a yellow lamp on the bars pointing upwards rather than forwards. Also illuminating the rear of the trike into the bargain.

Oldjohnw
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Re: Head torches

Postby Oldjohnw » 16 Dec 2020, 5:59pm

I only use for camping.
John

thirdcrank
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Re: Head torches

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Dec 2020, 6:50pm

peetee wrote: ... Reflective gear is all very well but it needs a light pointing at it. Vehicles emerging from a side turn, for example, would not illuminate it. ...


Dead right, there, and it's something I always tried to emphasise in discussions about bike lighting. It's especially important riding in a stream of motor traffic where a gap in the car headlights may be wrongly interpreted as an inviting gap in the traffic.

IMO, the need to be seen does not extend to needing to dazzle other road users. I've patiently waited while a dolt on a full sus mountain bike rides round a roundabout flailing what looks like a 12" gear at 2mph, shining a powerful flashing headtorch in my face.

paddler
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby paddler » 16 Dec 2020, 7:05pm

I use a head torch when running around town at night. I only need it in the areas where there are no street lights, and have only recently started using it as I'm ageing and my legs are not so strong. Mine shines about six feet ahead so I don't see how it could dazzle anyone without me really lifting my head up, unless the beam spread is pretty wide. No comments from anyone yet though.
Incidentally, before I started using one I never had a problem as my eyes adjusted reasonably well, and I recovered pretty well from the odd stumble.

Someone I walk with always brings a torch so if we finish in the dark he can see where he's going - the only problem is, if I'm behind my eyes are constantly trying to adjust between too much light and not enough! Generally have to hang back a bit to keep out of it.

offroader
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby offroader » 16 Dec 2020, 7:40pm

99% of the cyclists who blind me are using a bar mounted light. Probably because 99% of other cyclists I encounter are using bar mounted lights. So I don't believe it's related to choice of light mounting, more complete ignorance and/or lack of courtesy

For what it's worth I use a semi shaped beam fairly tight spot head torch. This means I can actively "dip" the beam with a slight head movement down and left as well as dimming output. I'm aware of a vanishingly small number of handlebar mounted supernovas with a dip facility.

Personally I think head torches offer far more anti-dazzle potential if used considerately. Being much higher mounted means far more declination, and hence the potential for less glare, for a given light projection

iandriver
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby iandriver » 16 Dec 2020, 8:05pm

In the winter I always wear something with a small peak on, so I can slightly dip my head so the direct source of the blinding light is hidden from my direct view. I can still see the road directly in front until the light has passed.
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

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foxyrider
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby foxyrider » 16 Dec 2020, 9:03pm

i have far more issue with bike mounted lights aimed at my face, a particular issue with urban riders who don't use the light for seeing but to be seen.

Head torches used as primary lighting on a bike - well offroad okay but on road its technically illegal not that anyone, the forces of law and order included, seem to be bothered.

Whilst i generally agree with the OP's sentiments i can't see that there's anything that can be done to mitigate things.
Convention? what's that then?
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millimole
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby millimole » 16 Dec 2020, 9:10pm

As a driver, yes.
They move around much more than a bike mounted light which can make it difficult to 'place' the oncoming rider. I also find they have a tendency to be aimed at traffic, and thus dazzling.
I'm sure they have a use off road.
Leicester; Riding my Hetchins since 1971; Audaxing on my Dawes; Riding to work on a Decathlon Hoprider

pwa
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby pwa » 16 Dec 2020, 9:39pm

If you can be confident that you will keep the beam on the road surface and not shine it in the face of someone else, whether they be a driver, a cyclist or a pedestrian, you are doing no harm by using one. But I would not be confident about that if it were me using one. Where would the beam go when I look over my shoulder before turning right? Would I have the discipline to keep the beam on the road while doing that? I doubt that I would.

For me a head torch would be a tool for use on forestry tracks only.

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andrew_s
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby andrew_s » 16 Dec 2020, 10:14pm

The trouble with head torches is that looking at people is one of those things that you do automatically, before you've got round to starting to think, and a head torch points where you look, so by the time your mind gets into gear you've already dazzled them, regardless of your intentions. "I always look down so I don't dazzle" is more wishful thinking than fact.

Head torches are also terrible lighting in fog too. You couldn't possibly come up with anything that made seeing where you were going more difficult.

martinn
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby martinn » 16 Dec 2020, 10:14pm

In the winter I always wear something with a small peak on, so I can slightly dip my head so the direct source of the blinding light is hidden from my direct view. I can still see the road directly in front until the light has passed.


I do as well, still didn't help the other day

i have far more issue with bike mounted lights aimed at my face, a particular issue with urban riders who don't use the light for seeing but to be seen


Yes agree with you there I also find that's a problem, but less of a problem.

I do wonder if its a genuine lack of awareness that there might be a problem?
I also wonder if my light is dazzling, but as its a dynamo light, its difficult to check....

Pragmatically I accept there is nothing that can be done about this, (If it is a real problem rather than just my perception) but wanted to ask and check that its not just me...

thanks

Martin

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Syd
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Syd » 16 Dec 2020, 10:23pm

My head torch can easily be set at an angle appropriate for where it is being used and is normally used in a mode where it reacts to oncoming, of other ambient light, by auto dimming.