Front Lights in Daylight

For discussions about bikes and equipment.
User avatar
fausto99
Posts: 628
Joined: 19 Sep 2011, 10:06am

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby fausto99 » 30 Aug 2020, 2:49pm

OldLimey wrote:
mjr wrote:
fausto99 wrote:What I wear is pretty much irrelevant to visibility because my bikes have good German-spec lights, wheel and pedal reflectors and reflective wheel bands and some of them have the rear quarter of the back mudguard painted white. Any driver looking at my bike doesn't need to see the rider. Even so, positioning makes far more difference than the bike, but any of you riding around with substandard lights, black mudguards and no pedal or wheel reflectors don't really have a leg to stand on to lecture about visibility, do you? ;)


The human body is a much larger target for a driver to see, especially if light or fluorescent clothing is worn.

Although motorcycling is a different world, I took the experienced rider course three times in ten years, and it was always emphasized to wear bright clothing. I had a yellow fluorescent over jacket (with sleeves) and it had white reflective strips around the arms, across the back and down the front. I've quit motorcycles, now, but in the twenty-seven years that I rode (in every kind of weather, winter included), I never had a car cross my path to make a turn. Yet that is a major cause of car/motorcycle crashes. Crotch rockets have a small profile and because of the speed of the car and the motorcycle as they approach one another, there is a good chance of being creamed by the driver; less so on a cruiser where the rider is wearing bright colors.

You mention the rear mudguard being partially white. That may help with cars coming from behind, but what about those coming the other way in the dark? The driver is hardly likely to see pedal reflectors, so all you have is a front light, and it had better be a good, bright one. Ever had your battery suddenly go low a mile or two from home? I have! That may be a good reason to have two lights so when one goes out, the other one can be turned on.

Reflective tires are good but not much help when a car is coming the other way and decides to turn across your path. So it still comes back to wearing something bright. Your life may depend on it. I wear bright T shirts (black draws the heat) all the time, and the reflective over jacket at night.

You have messed up with the quote signs. I did not write that. Please correct it.

SA_SA_SA
Posts: 1932
Joined: 31 Oct 2009, 1:46pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby SA_SA_SA » 30 Aug 2020, 8:23pm

thirdcrank wrote:...
SA_SA_SA wrote:Don't you mean constant? ...
....
No - I meant "equal" which is is in the bit of the advice I quoted in the same post but which is omitted here. I put it in quotes here to emphasis that I was quoting. I'd have no trouble believing that the govt's advice I was quoting was wrong - if somebody quoted a statutory source which disproved it.[\quote]
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1994/2280/regulation/4/made

Ahh, sorry, I think I misunderstood you: I thought you meant the on periods had to be equal in length to the off periods, i.e. 50% mark space not that the length of each on(flash) period must be equal to each predecessor, similarly for off periods: i.e. means the same as the phrase I expected: "constant mark-space(on/off period) ratio (or duty cycle)".

Heres the CJ (and me :oops: )
(To me the law seems to use rather obfuscated language)
https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=90906&p=839904&hilit=2005#p839904
------------You may not use this post in Cycle or other magazine ------ 8)

rmurphy195
Posts: 1854
Joined: 20 May 2011, 11:23am
Location: South Birmingham

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby rmurphy195 » 30 Aug 2020, 10:00pm

I use a Cateye Omni 5 on the front, and another on the rear. They aren't designed to blind oncoming road users, mereley to be seen from a fairly wide angle. Batteries last for ages. I have the front one mounted on a bracket made for the rear, attached to the steerer (bracket is upside down!).

Works well in that I've parked my bike and walked 100 yards or so away to see the effect, they work well without dazzling and disguising what/where you are.

A couple of spare AAA batteries take up no room in your pocket/toolbag, and no need to remember to charge the things. Thye last for years and don't have to be thrown away due to failure on internal(nomn-replaceable) batteries. I have one lamp thats a bit bigger, uses AA baterries, and still works after 20 years of use.

Such things increase your visibility most at dusk, or when riding under shade on bright sunny days, or in rain, especially as supplements to light (not necessarily flourescent) clothing and, after dark, steady head and tail lights. Be aware that rears can, from a distance, look like distant roadworks when several riders ahve flashing lamps!

I've seen people with very bright flashing lights, even headlights, which are self-defeating. I've been blinded by oncoming cyclists using such things both when driving and cycling towards them both during the day and at night!

I've also seen people using piddly little things no bigger than my little finger nail - absolutely useless.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

PJ520
Posts: 926
Joined: 23 Mar 2008, 3:49pm
Location: Seattle WA USA

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby PJ520 » 31 Aug 2020, 4:48pm

freeflow wrote:Drivers don't see you because of Saccades. Having a flashing light will make no difference.

https://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pil ... -cyclists/
Interesting article. Something not mentioned is that there are lots of drivers (and cyclists) with damaged brains. I had a mild stroke, over 20 years ago now, and to this day I still have a deficit on my left side. A consequence of that is that I tend not see things to my left and have to take extra care checking that side when either driving or cycling. When I first started mountain bike riding after the stroke I was constantly riding into trees on my left side. Over time I've learned to compensate for this but there's probably lots out there like me who haven't.

The deficit is an interesting phenomenon it's not a loss of peripheral vision, you brain just does not process stuff properly on that side even though your peripheral vision is normal. I had an optician check my peripheral vision and was told it was slightly better than average!

What we can do about it is beyond me other than increasing awareness of brain injury.
You only live once, which is enough if you do it right. - Mae West

hjd10
Posts: 279
Joined: 25 Feb 2010, 9:43pm
Location: Originally from Lancashire but now in Lincolnshire

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby hjd10 » 31 Aug 2020, 9:55pm

fastpedaller wrote:
Pebble wrote:
tatanab wrote:And on the other side of the coin, I find it funny how many riders I spot long before I realise they have a glow worm attached to their handlebars safe in the knowledge that this can be seen from all of 3 feet away. I spot them whether I am driving or cycling.

The people who like powerful daytime lights are in my view damaging cycling because drivers will come to expect to see a light - no flashing light means no cyclist. Also, what do you do if on tour for a month? I asked somebody this question on a camera thread and the answer was "I only commute so that is all I care about".

I too think DRLs (daytime running lights) that are standard on all cars now is a big mistake, they make more vulnerable road users like cyclists even less visible. Cyclists lights are never going to be able to compete with car lights, and some are so stupidly bright now that if you pass someone at dusk who is still driving on their DRLs they virtually burn your retinas out. They are likely to leave other drivers temporarily seeing spots who in turn might just not see that cyclist or pedestrian.


And ROSPA also advised against DRL's but they were forced upon us!


I quite like DRLs now as I remember many years ago in the States noticing now much easier it was to see cars in the desert who had the side lights on.
Its all about being seen or rather conspicuity and how easy is it to notice things against other background objects.
My car has auto lights and they change over when the light level reduces, leaving them on at night time is poor design as I've noticed this a few times with cars on the motorway.
I guess its difficult for the cyclist now as all new cars have DRLs however there are some decent lights about now with long running times. I use dynamo lights on two of my bikes.

Ross K
Posts: 59
Joined: 25 Oct 2013, 8:14pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Ross K » 31 Aug 2020, 10:14pm

willcee wrote: I use a small bright flashing led which lets drivers see from hundreds of yards away on a clear road that there are cyclists in front of him so if he was considering an overtake he would need to take care


This is the best bit of advice to come out of this thread.

All my riding is rural. A flashing front light is immediately visible, whether by the distant oncoming driver trying to decide whether to overtake or not, or the distracted tractor driver rumbling towards you on a single-track with a 25 tonne trailer of manure. Okay, in the latter case I usually need to take evasive action anyway, but the flashing light at least gives me a chance of waking up the grass-chewing teenager behind the wheel so that he just sees me in time to move over a bit!

In a rural setting, a flashing front light is almost always a benefit to your visibility and therefore safety. One of the rare occasions when a front light is useless is when riding with a low sun directly behind you.

User avatar
mjr
Posts: 16233
Joined: 20 Jun 2011, 7:06pm
Location: Norfolk or Somerset, mostly
Contact:

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby mjr » 1 Sep 2020, 12:21am

Ross K wrote:In a rural setting, a flashing front light is almost always a benefit to your visibility and therefore safety.

That's an opinion - one that ignores target fixation, raging cyclist-haters and countless other problems - not my experience and there didn't seem to be much good evidence for it, last time I checked.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

Pebble
Posts: 280
Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Pebble » 1 Sep 2020, 8:42am

Ross K wrote:
In a rural setting, a flashing front light is almost always a benefit to your visibility and therefore safety. One of the rare occasions when a front light is useless is when riding with a low sun directly behind you.

May be our eyes are different but I have found that DRLs and powerful flashing lights help oncoming traffic to be seen when driving into a low sun.

My biggest concern cycling into a low sun is not oncoming traffic (the low sun should make me highly visible) The dangers in these situations is drivers coming from behind - they may not be able to see me. If the sun is very low and blinding I will dismount and get off the road for anyone about to overtake.

It is also worth considering that if you can see your own shadow in front of you, on coming traffic may not be able to see you so IMHO it is worthwhile to get your lights on full and be prepared to take evasive action.

Jdsk
Posts: 2976
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Jdsk » 1 Sep 2020, 8:58am

rmurphy195 wrote:I've seen people with very bright flashing lights, even headlights, which are self-defeating. I've been blinded by oncoming cyclists using such things both when driving and cycling towards them both during the day and at night!

Yes, many bike headlamps are now so bright that checking they aren't set too high should be part of the routine. With that included they're a great improvement.

Jonathan

Pebble
Posts: 280
Joined: 7 Jun 2020, 11:59pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Pebble » 1 Sep 2020, 10:00am

Jdsk wrote:
rmurphy195 wrote:I've seen people with very bright flashing lights, even headlights, which are self-defeating. I've been blinded by oncoming cyclists using such things both when driving and cycling towards them both during the day and at night!

Yes, many bike headlamps are now so bright that checking they aren't set too high should be part of the routine. With that included they're a great improvement.

Jonathan

it would be nice to have a dim/dip feature, I use two cateye volt 800, I cover the one angled higher with my hand for oncoming traffic.

I would guess I'm blinded 10x more often by oncoming traffic than I inconvenience them with my cycling lights - some drivers just don't even dip for cyclists and I'm not sure the modern auto dip systems recognise cyclists that well. And try cycling towards an oncoming logging truck who leaves all their (12+) headlights on full blast :shock:

(i think I did read of a dim dip wireless switch that could be controlled from inside a glove - wonder if it was any good)

Jdsk
Posts: 2976
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Jdsk » 1 Sep 2020, 10:06am

My B+M Luxos has variable pattern and intensity controlled from a switch on the stem or wherever you put it.
https://www.bumm.de/en/products/dynamo-scheinwerfer/produkt/179u.html

I rarely change the setting. Ditto multiple rear modes.

Jonathan

Jdsk
Posts: 2976
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Jdsk » 1 Sep 2020, 10:09am

hjd10 wrote:I quite like DRLs now as I remember many years ago in the States noticing now much easier it was to see cars in the desert who had the side lights on.

I like DRLs on motor vehicles, but not the sometimes associated forgetting to switch on rear lamps. AFAICT this was a genuinely missed problem in the regulations. Some manufacturers still got it right.

Jonathan

User avatar
The utility cyclist
Posts: 3496
Joined: 22 Aug 2016, 12:28pm
Location: The first garden city

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby The utility cyclist » 1 Sep 2020, 11:46am

hjd10 wrote:
fastpedaller wrote:
Pebble wrote:I too think DRLs (daytime running lights) that are standard on all cars now is a big mistake, they make more vulnerable road users like cyclists even less visible. Cyclists lights are never going to be able to compete with car lights, and some are so stupidly bright now that if you pass someone at dusk who is still driving on their DRLs they virtually burn your retinas out. They are likely to leave other drivers temporarily seeing spots who in turn might just not see that cyclist or pedestrian.


And ROSPA also advised against DRL's but they were forced upon us!


I quite like DRLs now as I remember many years ago in the States noticing now much easier it was to see cars in the desert who had the side lights on.
Its all about being seen or rather conspicuity and how easy is it to notice things against other background objects.
My car has auto lights and they change over when the light level reduces, leaving them on at night time is poor design as I've noticed this a few times with cars on the motorway.
I guess its difficult for the cyclist now as all new cars have DRLs however there are some decent lights about now with long running times. I use dynamo lights on two of my bikes.

It absolutely isn't that at all, you are so wrong!
it's about taking the time and having the time (by slowing down) to actually look and see, not expect someone to change their behaviour or what they wear to offset your lack of bothering to look/give a carp about others so that they don't get hurt, that's utterly perverse. Not only that, it's being proven over history not to ever work in terms of safety of the vulnerable. Helmet, hi-vis and light increases for people on bikes and with next to zero increase in cycling journeys since the mid 00s we've seen a massive increase in cycling serious injuries over the same period. That's before you add in DRLs, supposed better safety of motors for those external t o the vehicle. It's done nothing to change safety, in fact the stats bear out that cycling has gotten less safe. Supposed safety interventions have done anything but.

DRLs are yet another intervention that simply implodes and makes matters worse, and people on bikes using lights in the day time are trying to conform but actually help normalise something that is detrimental to cycling overall, something else that detracts away from the real reason/s that people get harmed.

Jdsk
Posts: 2976
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby Jdsk » 1 Sep 2020, 12:35pm

The utility cyclist wrote:... and with next to zero increase in cycling journeys since the mid 00s we've seen a massive increase in cycling serious injuries over the same period.

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 12.31.06.png

Screenshot 2020-09-01 at 12.31.21.png


https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447674/pedal-cyclists-2013-data.pdf

Jonathan

PS: The image quality of those is limited by this site. Might be better if you open them ins a separate tab or window. Failing that try the linked report.

bgnukem
Posts: 479
Joined: 20 Dec 2010, 5:21pm

Re: Front Lights in Daylight

Postby bgnukem » 1 Sep 2020, 12:42pm

How do you teach people to give a cr@p about cyclists, or should it even be necessary? Drivers seem to be significantly more aggressive and impatient than, say, 20-30 years ago, possibly due to the exponential increase in traffic over that time period. More traffic policing enforcement would be a start, but it seems not to be a police priority and is virtually non-existent where I live.

We live in a society of selfish, anti-social, impatient narcissists accustomed to instant gratification of their every need who behave like spoilt toddlers when they don't get their own way and respond with the adult equivalent of a temper tantrum, e.g. road rage, air rage, trolley rage/whatever. A pretty dangerous combination when in control of tons of speeding metal. As the roads (continually) get busier the drivers just get more aggressive and impatient and victimise cyclists when they are themselves the cause of most of their delays.

Having experimented with various front lights over the years and the use of a headtorch on flashing and constant mode I think the flashing light is more attention grabbing and using a bright headtorch allows the direction of the beam to be varied, downwards if required to avoid blinding drivers, or else looking directly at them if they appear not to have noticed me. I use the headtorch as a 'ride home from a night out'' light and dynamo front LED lights for commuting but I'd like a decent flashing front LED battery light for the twilight commutes before the dynohub goes on for the winter.