Tricks for being seen on the road.

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
alicej
Posts: 1301
Joined: 14 Oct 2010, 10:16pm
Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby alicej » 31 Oct 2010, 6:40pm

The little LEDs in the link above are available for about 50p each on Ebay - search for mini LED bike light. I just wrap them around every available bit of bike, as at 50p each I don't feel I need to remove them when I leave the bike.

Replacement batteries 10 for 99p also on ebay, the white lights tend to take two batteries and the red ones 1.

kwackers
Posts: 15290
Joined: 4 Jun 2008, 9:29pm
Location: Warrington

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby kwackers » 31 Oct 2010, 10:33pm

I've ridden around over the years in varying states of "being seen-ness" and I've never found it to make much difference whether I've got 10W of expensive LED lighting or a tenners worth of Halfords finest flashers.
Ditto clothing, I've been caught out and ended up coming back in the dark with a plain t-shirt or I've used good quality hi-vis.
They still do stupid things, lets not forget motorists crash into other cars and motorcycles so it's not just bicycles.

In my experience not being seen is pretty much always a 'pulling into your path' type of accident, I've never not been seen from the rear simply because drivers coming up to you from the rear are travelling in the same direction, looking forward and have much more time to spot you.
There's always some warning that a driver who pulls out into your path is going to do so, I had one the other day on a roundabout, the giveaway was no reduction in speed approaching the island and the driver staring in a fixed view straight ahead. If they don't look they're not going to see. It's even quite possible that they're aware there's a bicycle on the island out of the corner of their eye (given away by the flashing light) but underestimate it's speed.

By far the biggest issue is having been seen and they then do something stupid, like left hook you or try to get to the island/junction before you get there, or cut in front coming up to traffic lights/islands etc etc.
For every episode where someone "doesn't see" me I have half a dozen where they know I'm there but do something stupid and misjudge it.
As I've said before I'm convinced that most SMIDSY's are nothing of the sort, just an excuse because it sounds better than "I knew the cyclist was there, but figured I could race to the junction and turn left before they got there".

thirdcrank
Posts: 30558
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby thirdcrank » 31 Oct 2010, 11:03pm

I think some drivers make unconscious assumptions about the speed that anything which might be there but they cannot see will be travelling. There was a bit of a fashion around here a few years ago for equipping traffic island with a series if vertical plastic planks which together formed a screen decorated with reflective chevrons. No big deal on the central island of the roundabout but we had one particularly bad set on the roundabout underneath the M62 at J 28 (Tingley.) These were across the full width of the central reservation on the approach, along the edge of the roundabout carriageway. This had the effect of masking all traffic (except high vehicles) on the roundabout to the right of a driver preparing to enter. Whatever the designer's intention, the effect was that some drivers who had not seen anything disappearing behind this screen, assumed that after a very short time nothing was hidden, presumably on the basis that anything that was hidden would be travelling at 30+ mph and would quickly emerge. I know from experience that a slower moving vehicle such as a cyclist did not fit in with this assumption. IMO roundabouts are bad enough in that they expect drivers to look in at least two directions simultaneously. Erecting any sort of screen, armco barrier or direction sign without considering whether it will mask a cyclist is bad news.

snibgo
Posts: 4604
Joined: 29 Jun 2010, 4:45am

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby snibgo » 31 Oct 2010, 11:26pm

In many places, roundabouts have often had barriers so approaching drivers couldn't see if the roundabout was clear until they were very close. The intention was to slow the traffic. The obvious downside was that a motorist might still take the roundabout at speed and be able to claim that he really couldn't see any traffic already on the roundabout.

They seemed to be cleverly angled so when I was driving or riding round the roundabout, I could see approaching traffic but was uncertain if it could see me.

I've never seen any info on how many accidents have been caused or prevented by these, but I note they no longer seem fashionable.

thirdcrank
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Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Nov 2010, 9:46am

thirdcrank wrote: ... I emailed the Department of Transport and solicitors RJW about (daytime bike lights) some three weeks ago, but neither has acknowledged my enquiry. ...
I've just had this

Thank you for your email of 2 October to the Department for Transport, about lights on bicycles.

We are currently discussing this with our legal department and will come back to you as soon as possible.


So, watch this space but continue to breath normally. :wink: Still nothing from RJW :(

Edwards
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Joined: 16 Mar 2007, 10:09pm
Location: Birmingham

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby Edwards » 2 Nov 2010, 9:55am

TC that could set the cat amongst the pigeons at the Dept of Sir Humphrey. The answer could be a classic Yes Minister script. :lol:
Keith Edwards
I do not care about spelling and grammar

Cranks
Posts: 49
Joined: 30 Apr 2009, 5:07pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby Cranks » 2 Nov 2010, 1:13pm

I have just purchased these handlebar lights that fit into the end of your drops, they have a window which helps with side on view as well.
handle bar lights

irc
Posts: 4828
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby irc » 2 Nov 2010, 3:43pm

thirdcrank wrote:
thirdcrank wrote: ... I emailed the Department of Transport and solicitors RJW about (daytime bike lights) some three weeks ago, but neither has acknowledged my enquiry. ...
I've just had this

Thank you for your email of 2 October to the Department for Transport, about lights on bicycles.

We are currently discussing this with our legal department and will come back to you as soon as possible.


So, watch this space but continue to breath normally. :wink: Still nothing from RJW :(


So if the D of T and a firm of lawyers specialising in cycling accidents don't know the answer without researching it what hope is there for the rest of us. As a matter of interest has anyone ever heard about any cyclist, anywhere, getting charged with using non compliant lights or this being raised as an issue in a civil claim?. I've not.
No one believes more firmly than Comrade Napoleon that all animals are equal. He would be only too happy to let you make your decisions for yourselves. But sometimes you might make the wrong decisions, comrades, and then where should we be?

zerobuttons
Posts: 75
Joined: 1 Dec 2010, 6:30pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby zerobuttons » 28 Dec 2010, 10:31pm

thirdcrank wrote:
snibgo wrote:... Perhaps someone could ask a friendly police officer or PCSO whether they can book a cyclist who has no lights fitted during poor daylight....


The trouble is, of course, that they may think they can, when I am pretty sure they cannot. We had a thread a few months ago about PCSO's giving out leaflets about unlawful cycling to cyclists who were apparently not breaking the law. IIRC, we had another where PCSO's were dishing out tickets mob-handed for something that was not illegal. If they are issuing tickets, the recipients will often accept the situation to avoid any fuss. That's also when you can end up with one of those escalating situations when somebody stands on ceremony.
.....

Didn´t anybody go to CTC to get help trying their case?
We have had a few of these misunderstandings here in Denmark, where case trying has been the cause of changes in law texts, because it turned out they were written clumsily (I can remember two instances). Our DCF offers help (advice from lawyers and such) to members being fined for tings they shouldn´t have been fined for.

szegerely
Posts: 5
Joined: 23 Feb 2007, 10:34pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby szegerely » 30 Dec 2010, 12:10am

I have a bike trailer and in it sits a german shepherd dog. We go every where together, and i get no trouble from passing motorists. So I ride in the middle of the road, seriously, right in the middle, and the people ahead of me, turning across my path or out of junctions, see me too. I haven't had a smidsy in 10 years, not a single one.
Better still when I park up, I just leave her in the trailer, it is like her second home. How many bikes have I had stolen? Do I use a lock?
She is the solution to so many problems.
Get a dog, guys and girls.

barbelfisher
Posts: 258
Joined: 5 Sep 2009, 6:54pm

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby barbelfisher » 30 Dec 2010, 9:13am

I purchased a small set of xmas tree lights for £1.99 from IKEA, they are red and I put them around my rackbag on the back of my bike, they are battery and incredibly bright; together with two back lights, one blue (yes I know) I can now be seen from outerspace. I also use small winking lights as well on my helmet with more than adequate front lights.

Happy New Year and safe riding.

barbelfisher.

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Trigger
Posts: 1459
Joined: 6 Aug 2010, 11:54am
Location: Derby/Notts

Re: Tricks for being seen on the road.

Postby Trigger » 30 Dec 2010, 1:11pm

I think steady lights (especially super bright ones on the front) may give the impression to the casual motorist that they may be turning in front of something more substantial than a bike, hence not giving it much respect.

This is why I think blinking lights have more effect, it's because we don't automatically have anything associated with flashing lights much other than for warning/alerting.

I use a Hope Vision 1 on the front for lighting the road up and two frog blinkers for attention grabbing, on the back I just have a single Blackburn Mars 4 set to blink. I usually only need the one pannier when commuting so I make sure I use the road side one so as to provide a bit of extra width, plus it's reflective. I think the pedals have orange reflectors in but I can't remember off the top of my head, there is also one on the back mudguard.

As for clothing, I'm afraid I don't wear anything hi-viz, in fact most of it is black or dark blue :oops:

I'm more convinced that roadcraft is the main thing that will keep you alive and that goes for cycling or driving, being able to see what's going to unfold and predict peoples actions is a lot more important that just relying on somebody seeing you and hoping for the best. Seeing as the average standard of driving is not very good I'd wager neither is the average standard of cycling.