Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
DevonDamo
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Joined: 24 May 2011, 1:42am

Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby DevonDamo » 16 Dec 2020, 10:33pm

Inconsiderate users of powerful bike lights are a problem which will never be solved by discussions on forums. People are just unaware of the problems they're causing - either because they're new to cycling, or they're on a long ride and have got used to their path ahead being brightly illuminated and have therefore forgotten the fact that they've got their retina-burning lights pointing at the eyes of oncoming riders.

We can discuss it on here until we're blue in the face, but it will make not one jot of difference to what happens out there. Therefore, my approach is to use a 'considerate' light when on shared bike-path (or facing oncoming motor traffic) but keep a retina-burning light in reserve. When a 'dazzler' approaches, I'll always switch on the retina-burning light and then dip it for long enough for the oncoming bike to notice that I've done so. After that, if they continue to dazzle me, I'll angle it back up into their eye-line and let them suffer. This may seem like passive-aggressive nonsense, but it's how the use of blinding main-beam headlights is very-effectively self-policed by motorists. If it works for motorists, then it ought to work for considerate people on bikes.

I do use a powerful head-torch for mountain biking at night, but if I encounter anyone else (on foot, bike or car), I stare down at my front wheel, and I've had a few 'thank you' s for doing so.

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Syd
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Syd » 16 Dec 2020, 10:51pm

DevonDamo wrote:Inconsiderate users of powerful bike lights are a problem which will never be solved by discussions on forums. People are just unaware of the problems they're causing.

Indeed.

A few weeks ago I came across a, completely competent looking, cyclist on my morning commute who, for some reason known only to himself, had a dazzlingly bright white light fitted rearward facing on his seat post!

He got through I set on lights (on dark amber) that I got stopped at and I could see this white light for a considerable distance before he disappeared over a rise.

thirdcrank
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Dec 2020, 11:04pm

I'm not convinced that everybody who rides like this is unaware of what they are doing. On previous threads of this type I can remember somebody saying that they were not bothered and reserved the right to ensure drivers could see them, hence my comment on here about it not being necessary to dazzle somebody to ensure they have seen you.

DevonDamo
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby DevonDamo » 17 Dec 2020, 12:42am

thirdcrank wrote:I'm not convinced that everybody who rides like this is unaware of what they are doing...


I'm sure you're right as I've ridden with people who have seemed totally unconcerned when I've told them they're either dazzling me or people coming from the opposite direction. All the more reason to burn out their retinas - if they don't do consideration, they might at least do self-preservation.

mattsccm
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby mattsccm » 17 Dec 2020, 5:24pm

Not that it really matters and purely out of interest but are people talking about head torches or helmet mounted supplementary lights?
Very different beasts although can have the same effect. The former are rarely a problem as even the very best are not that bright. The latter can be.
This thread is largely pointless as it is preaching to the converted sadly.

Jdsk
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Jdsk » 17 Dec 2020, 5:31pm

mattsccm wrote:... are people talking about head torches or helmet mounted supplementary lights?

I think mostly head torches, but some only about cyclists and some about other users including walkers on roads.

Jonathan

geocycle
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby geocycle » 17 Dec 2020, 6:20pm

I suffer with migraines and find cyclists with head torches on shared paths or narrow roads a problem. Even worse are flashing front lights. Please don’t!

Bonefishblues
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Location: Near Bicester Oxon

Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Bonefishblues » 17 Dec 2020, 6:29pm

I only show a beam when walking in our unlit village if a car is approaching on full beams that they don't dip. The rest of the time my beam is set to illuminate the ground in front of me.

LittleGreyCat
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby LittleGreyCat » 17 Dec 2020, 8:25pm

geocycle wrote:I suffer with migraines and find cyclists with head torches on shared paths or narrow roads a problem. Even worse are flashing front lights. Please don’t!


Strongly agree on the flashing front lights.
https://www.epilepsy.org.uk/info/photosensitive-epilepsy

""Flashing and flickering lights
Different people will be affected by lights at different flash or flicker rates. Lights that flash or flicker between 16 and 25 times a second are the most likely to trigger seizures. But some people are sensitive to rates as low as 3 or as high as 60 a second."

I find it totally bizarre that TV shows and films have to warn about flashing lights yet cyclists on the road have massively bright flashing lights (not talking about the tiny LED ones, but the massive bars and large reflectors).

I find it difficult to deal with these lights and my partner finds it very difficult indeed.
I assume that some are unaware of the risk, and others just don't care.

pwa
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby pwa » 18 Dec 2020, 6:36am

Syd wrote: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.

But that won't help an oncoming pedestrian. You may well be more disciplined and "on the ball" than me (wouldn't be difficult) and genuinely do keep the beam down on the ground when there are oncoming eyes to consider, but I would struggle to get that right if I tried it.

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Syd
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Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Syd » 18 Dec 2020, 7:38am

pwa wrote:
Syd wrote: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.

But that won't help an oncoming pedestrian. You may well be more disciplined and "on the ball" than me (wouldn't be difficult) and genuinely do keep the beam down on the ground when there are oncoming eyes to consider, but I would struggle to get that right if I tried it.

I have two options. Avert my gaze or temporarily and easily adjust the angle of the light further downwards. It also has a red light option which is less likely to dazzle.

The unit I have is from Petzl and, whilst not cheap, is well thought out.

ANTONISH
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby ANTONISH » 18 Dec 2020, 8:49am

I have a small headtorch which I use to read a route sheet when I'm riding an audax - hence it has to be angled down.
One occasionally encounters cyclists with very bright head torches which can be dazzling but not as much as some car headlights.

Jdsk
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Jdsk » 18 Dec 2020, 8:51am

Syd wrote:I have two options. Avert my gaze or temporarily and easily adjust the angle of the light further downwards. It also has a red light option which is less likely to dazzle.

The unit I have is from Petzl and, whilst not cheap, is well thought out.

Yes. SNAP!

Jonathan

Pebble
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby Pebble » 18 Dec 2020, 9:42am

geocycle wrote:I suffer with migraines and find cyclists with head torches on shared paths or narrow roads a problem. Even worse are flashing front lights. Please don’t!

do cars and lorries not affect you ?

I would imagine that the times I have been dazzled by cars vans and trucks outweigh being dazzled by cyclists and pedestrians by 1,000:1

thirdcrank
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Re: Head torches - dazzled by inconsiderate users

Postby thirdcrank » 18 Dec 2020, 10:16am

The question of being dazzled is one of those hardy annuals (perennials?) that came up regularly in the comic CTC Gazette long before cyclists' lights were powerful enough to be seen at any distance, never mind dazzling others.

One handy tip I picked up from those days is to close one eye. It doesn't help you see any better in the glare of headlights but when the offending driver has passed and you open that eye, you will have one undazzled eye.

Times have changed and vulnerable road users can arm themselves with weapons-grade lights. That doesn't somehow make it OK to be ignorant, in either sense of the word. IMO