To flash or not

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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Si
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Re: To flash or not

Postby Si » 4 Nov 2013, 9:46am

PaulCumbria wrote:
Si wrote:As for blinking being annoying - isn't tht what you want - for others to have a reason to take notice of you?

No, it's not what I want. People already have the best reason in the world to take notice of me - that if they don't take notice they might kill me.




If we are relying on that alone then we may as well do away with lights altogether :wink:

IanW
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Re: To flash or not

Postby IanW » 4 Nov 2013, 11:07am

Slowroad wrote:One flashing, one steady, front and rear. Belt & braces?


+1

And to go further:

1) The steady lights should ideally be dynamo-powered
with a "stand" light so that they remain lit when briefly stationary
and comply with German StVZO standard
and are either controlled by a light-sensor or controlled by a single switch that is easily operated from the riding position on the cycle.
and the rear light is combined with a red rear reflector so that it still has some benefit when the wire to the front light / switch fails.

2) The flashing lights are battery-powered
so as to be entirely independent of the dynamo lighting system
and the rear one is combined with a red rear reflector so that it still has some benefit when the battery fails.

And I would like to see these battery-powered take either a single or at most two AA or AAA cells that are mounted horizontally across the bike and the light "remembers" (via a capacitor or light + motion sensor) what state ("on" or "off") in then event of a brief battery disconnect as a result of a bump / knock / jolt so they don't accidentally switch off.

See for instance Cateye Reflex Auto TL-LD570-R / TL-LD570-F
which are in my opinion the best "backup" lights currently available.

Now that is what I call belt'n'braces.

Also regarding pedal reflectors for recumbent cycles:
I have a pair of the Cateye Reflex Auto TL-LD570-F front (i.e. white) instances of this light/reflector
attached to the reverse / "underside" of the SPD pedals on my recumbent (i.e. they face *forward* when in use)
and the "auto" functionality means that they only come on in the dark when I am pedalling.

Mark1978
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Re: To flash or not

Postby Mark1978 » 4 Nov 2013, 11:20am

Picked up a set of these at the weekend http://www.cateye.com/en/products/detail/SL-LD130-R/ front and rear. Really quite small but really bright, pleased with them. No idea how long the batteries last as I've only used them for the test ride home.

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Re: To flash or not

Postby mjr » 4 Nov 2013, 2:42pm

meic wrote:One of those issues with front lights (and the requirements of BS) is that some only point light forwards and offer nothing to the sides to help you be seen.

Are you sure about blaming BS there? I'm using a BS Cateye (HL-500 I think - but upgraded to LED so it's non-BS AIUI - it doesn't quite look like http://www.tredz.co.uk/.Cateye-HL-500-F ... _15490.htm but it's not hugely different) and there are clear panels in the sides that don't see the bulb directly but do glow nicely (with reflected light somehow?) to help it be seen.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Re: To flash or not

Postby MikeF » 4 Nov 2013, 2:46pm

Si wrote:As for blinking being annoying - isn't tht what you want - for others to have a reason to take notice of you?

Absolutely not. Are you expecting to distract and enrage motorists and then expect them treat you favourably? Also a blinking light does not allow your position and speed to be defined easily, and multiple blinking lights from several cycles makes the situation worse.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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Si
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Re: To flash or not

Postby Si » 4 Nov 2013, 4:15pm

MikeF wrote:
Si wrote:As for blinking being annoying - isn't tht what you want - for others to have a reason to take notice of you?

Absolutely not. Are you expecting to distract and enrage motorists and then expect them treat you favourably? Also a blinking light does not allow your position and speed to be defined easily, and multiple blinking lights from several cycles makes the situation worse.


Is there any proof that a flashing light enrages motorists? I've never had any trouble whatsoever with one.

It's also a bit strange that you equate making motorists notice you with distracting them...surely the ultimate aim is to distract them from their car-centric view of the road and make them aware that you are there? My first priority is for them to see me...I'd much rather have a slightly annoyed motorist register that I'm there than a happy motorist totally ignore me as my light has just blended into the back ground...wouldn't you?

As for gauging position and speed....if you'd read my other comment I refereed to a combination of flashing and constant - big light constant, little light flashing, one to attract attention and one to comply with the law and for those who can't gauge distances from a flashing light.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: To flash or not

Postby PaulCumbria » 4 Nov 2013, 7:02pm

Si - have you read Dave McGraw's piece on this?
http://mccraw.co.uk/blinding-lights-reduce-road-safety/

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Re: To flash or not

Postby mjr » 4 Nov 2013, 7:45pm

Dave McGraw's piece is mostly about brighter lights not blinking ones isn't it?
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Si
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Re: To flash or not

Postby Si » 4 Nov 2013, 8:03pm

PaulCumbria wrote:Si - have you read Dave McGraw's piece on this?
http://mccraw.co.uk/blinding-lights-reduce-road-safety/


As mjr says, it's concerned with brightness not flashing.

Furthermore, although not wanting to cause damage to his ego :wink: , I would point out that Dave is just another cyclist and the fact that he writes a lot of stuff on the interweb does not make his views any more or any less true than anyone else's. Indeed, he has somewhat fewer years experience of cycling than quite a few people on this forum, thus, although he's a jolly sensible and thoroughly decent chap, I don't see that him having written something (about a different subject) should get me to change my mind about setting one of my lights to flashing.

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PaulCumbria
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Re: To flash or not

Postby PaulCumbria » 4 Nov 2013, 10:55pm

I wasn't presenting Mr McGraw's opinion piece as conclusive. I just think he explains well the potential for motorists to press on past irritating rear lights (whether too bright and/or flashing), even if that might involve increased danger to the cyclist. As a motorist I've certainly been irritated and distracted by other drivers with their fog lights on unnecessarily, to the point of wanting to get past them for no other reason.

And I wouldn't for a moment expect you to change your mind after reading something either DMcG or I had written - but that's not the point, is it?

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Re: To flash or not

Postby drossall » 4 Nov 2013, 11:04pm

[XAP]Bob wrote:I think the general wisdom is that a flashing light:
a) attracts the eye (our brains are wired to detect motion - which is what flashing is)
b) identifies a cyclist (we're the largest road users permitted flashing lights)

However, a steady light:
a) is easier to keep track of
b) is easier to estimate distance and speed

+1. I never use flashing lights alone. I currently have one steady and one flashing rear. I may do the same on the front more often, though normally it's just a steady one.

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Re: To flash or not

Postby Mark1978 » 6 Nov 2013, 9:31am

I was cycling along here http://goo.gl/maps/T4ASm this morning. Sun was coming up but it was still dark.

Ahead of me I could see a flashing white light, couldn't see anything else, strangely it appeared to be on the right hand size of the road (my left), but really couldn't judge the distance at all, first it looked really close, then it looked like it was a long way off, in the middle of the trees, as I got closer I thought it was a cyclist, on the wrong side of the road, I was about to remonstrate with the rider for being on the wrong side - then I saw it was someone out walking a dog with a flashing light on their head.

The flashing light got my attention right enough, but it was mighty confusing for a while as I just couldn't properly tell where it was coming from.

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Re: To flash or not

Postby [XAP]Bob » 6 Nov 2013, 4:32pm

Mark1978 wrote:I was cycling along here http://goo.gl/maps/T4ASm this morning. Sun was coming up but it was still dark.

Ahead of me I could see a flashing white light, couldn't see anything else, strangely it appeared to be on the right hand size of the road (my left), but really couldn't judge the distance at all, first it looked really close, then it looked like it was a long way off, in the middle of the trees, as I got closer I thought it was a cyclist, on the wrong side of the road, I was about to remonstrate with the rider for being on the wrong side - then I saw it was someone out walking a dog with a flashing light on their head.

The flashing light got my attention right enough, but it was mighty confusing for a while as I just couldn't properly tell where it was coming from.

Worth telling the dog - the owner probably wouldn't listen
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Re: To flash or not

Postby MikeF » 9 Nov 2013, 10:10pm

PaulCumbria wrote:I wasn't presenting Mr McGraw's opinion piece as conclusive. I just think he explains well the potential for motorists to press on past irritating rear lights (whether too bright and/or flashing), even if that might involve increased danger to the cyclist. As a motorist I've certainly been irritated and distracted by other drivers with their fog lights on unnecessarily, to the point of wanting to get past them for no other reason.

And I wouldn't for a moment expect you to change your mind after reading something either DMcG or I had written - but that's not the point, is it?

+1
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master

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Re: To flash or not

Postby samsbike » 10 Nov 2013, 3:10pm

drossall wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:I think the general wisdom is that a flashing light:
a) attracts the eye (our brains are wired to detect motion - which is what flashing is)
b) identifies a cyclist (we're the largest road users permitted flashing lights)

However, a steady light:
a) is easier to keep track of
b) is easier to estimate distance and speed

+1. I never use flashing lights alone. I currently have one steady and one flashing rear. I may do the same on the front more often, though normally it's just a steady one.


+1 although I havent got the front flasher yet and am not sure if it should be bike or helmet mounted.