Dangerous front lights

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Earl Spool
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Dangerous front lights

Post by Earl Spool »

I was driving along a dark lane this evening and needed to pull into the middle of the road in order to reverse into a driveway. There was a car quite a long way off and coming along slowly, so that was OK. I pulled across - and suddenly a cyclist materialised from nowhere, swerving to avoid me, gave me an earful and rode off. Turned out the two headlights I thought were a car were two lights on his handlebar, bright and set close together so they looked exactly like a car a long way away. (My passenger thought exactly the same). It seems to me that any combination of two front lights is likely to do that, given how many cars go around with one bright and one dim front light. But two the same, and with car-headlight brightness, are especially dangerous.
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Graham
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Graham »

^ Illustrates to me that the roads are ever more perilous.

The guy on the bike probably thinks that he is doing himself and everyone else a favour by using two bright front lights.
Probably never imagining that it could provide a false signal to an onlooker.

People make mistakes. Mistakes on the roads can be fatal.
Lookrider
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Lookrider »

A very good scenario that all us cyclist should be aware of..the driver not complaining but making us aware
I have certainly been aware of that circumstance
I also at times when a cyclist is at the wrong angle and wrong distance at the same time a single solid light can appear like a street light..again you can pull out in front of the bike
A small headlight and/or a flashing light along with the road legal solid light
Be safe
tatanab
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by tatanab »

It is several decades since I read John Franklin's Cyclecraft, but I recall he had something to say about using twin headlights and how they can be misinterpreted. He said perspicuity is important i.e it is important that the vehicle is perceived as a pedal cycle/motor cycle and not a car a way off.
GeekDadZoid
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by GeekDadZoid »

I had someone say the same to myself and friend as we where riding side by side he though we where a car coming towards him, who's as we where on a Cycleway & Footpath concerned him.

However I can see how two stationary lights may be confused but, watching them moving would they not look very different?
Pete Owens
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Pete Owens »

Oh dear, yet another driver not looking properly blames the victim for their own carelessness.

We can add this to the list of lame excuses for SMIDSYs. Lights too dim, Lights to bright, No lights, Too many lights, clothing the wrong colour, time of day too dark, time of day too light....
Pebble
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Pebble »

Pete Owens wrote:Oh dear, yet another driver not looking properly blames the victim for their own carelessness.

We can add this to the list of lame excuses for SMIDSYs. Lights too dim, Lights to bright, No lights, Too many lights, clothing the wrong colour, time of day too dark, time of day too light....

Yep, that is the sum of it. If you are getting confused by what is going on then stop driving until you find out why.

And a warning to other cyclists - drivers may not know what you are, or what you or doing no matter how hard you try.


Usual rules apply - presume everyone else on the road is an incompitant, inconsiderate, idiot.
drossall
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by drossall »

Pebble wrote:Yep, that is the sum of it. If you are getting confused by what is going on then stop driving until you find out why.

But I don't think that the OP realised that he was confused until it was too late. The lights didn't look confusing; they just looked like something else, including to a second person in the car.

If I had two front, or rear, lights, I'd have one flashing and one not. That's much less likely to be misinterpreted. And possibly not on the same level as each other.
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by [XAP]Bob »

Agreed - it’s quite usual to only have two splodges of light in order to see what’s happening.

Two horizontally spaced lights are going to be interpreted as a motor vehicle, the spacing giving an indication of distance... the closer cyclist being indistinguishable from a more distant, but rapid, motorist.

One would hope that the legally required pedal reflectors would... oh, who am I kidding...
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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531colin
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by 531colin »

Earl Spool wrote:I was driving along a dark lane this evening and needed to pull into the middle of the road.....


Highway Code is quite specific .....its your responsibility to make sure the road is clear.
Jdsk
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Jdsk »

Thanks for sharing, Earl Spool.

You may well have saved someone else from doing the same.

Jonathan
rmurphy195
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by rmurphy195 »

Earl Spool wrote:I was driving along a dark lane this evening and needed to pull into the middle of the road in order to reverse into a driveway. There was a car quite a long way off and coming along slowly, so that was OK. I pulled across - and suddenly a cyclist materialised from nowhere, swerving to avoid me, gave me an earful and rode off. Turned out the two headlights I thought were a car were two lights on his handlebar, bright and set close together so they looked exactly like a car a long way away. (My passenger thought exactly the same). It seems to me that any combination of two front lights is likely to do that, given how many cars go around with one bright and one dim front light. But two the same, and with car-headlight brightness, are especially dangerous.


I think I've mentioned on the forum before the likelihood of cyclists effectivley disguising themselves as something else or something distant (in groups or individually) thinking that having lights is being seen - it isn't, its about being seen for what you are, where you are (Did someone use the term "Conspicuity?). Which is not only the way you use lights, but also other aspects of your visibility in the dark.

The problem Earlspool describes is exactly the circumstances in which I had a near miss while driving many years ago - in that case it was a landrover, with its inset headlamps (the reason why they changed the design and put the headlamps into the front wings, much to the purists disgust at the time!).It wasn't in the distance, it was almost on top of ma as I passed a parked car (so close its flapping canvas roof hit my car as it went past!)

If you are going to have 2 front lights, have them really close together, or have them one above the other. This is especially so with some of the front lamps in use today, which are bright enough to be mistaken for a distant motorbike! And make sure the rest of you isn't effectivley hidden behind them.
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Cyril Haearn
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Cyril Haearn »

If one has two lights they could be diagonally aligned, that should confuse anyone seeing them. One hopes
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rmurphy195
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by rmurphy195 »

Cyril Haearn wrote:If one has two lights they could be diagonally aligned, that should confuse anyone seeing them. One hopes


Why on earth would you want to cause confusion and endanger people?
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 !
Cyril Haearn
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Re: Dangerous front lights

Post by Cyril Haearn »

rmurphy195 wrote:
Cyril Haearn wrote:If one has two lights they could be diagonally aligned, that should confuse anyone seeing them. One hopes


Why on earth would you want to cause confusion and endanger people?

Confuse, I did not mention endanger
To get them to slow down, think, look, wait a few seconds
Maybe even stop
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Cycling-of course, but it is far better on a Gillott
We love safety cameras, we hate bullies
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