news paper nutcase

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Revolution
Posts: 184
Joined: 20 Feb 2013, 3:23pm
Location: North Somerset and Bristol

news paper nutcase

Postby Revolution » 27 Nov 2014, 5:52pm

My local free-sheet arrived today and in the letters column was this :-
I would like to address all cyclists in the area and advise them of the dangers of using flashing lights on their bikes. Flashing lights such as those available for bicycles can cause many reactions to those of us unfortunate enough to come across them. Epileptic fits, migraines, dizziness and disorientation can all be triggered by these lights. It is extremely frightening and unpleasant to find yourself unable to see whilst at the wheel of a car all because a cyclist has gone by with a flashing light. I implore any cyclist reading this to think about other road users and pedestrians before they turn their lights to the flashing setting, especially during the daylight hours. It can cause accidents.
I am in two minds about whether to respond to this or to ignore the anti-cycling, inaccurate garbage that this letter represents. After all, nonsense like this is printed purely to spark a reaction. So - what should I do? Please submit your suggestions :)

Bicycler
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Joined: 4 Dec 2013, 3:33pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Bicycler » 27 Nov 2014, 6:02pm

I'm in two minds. Overly bright flashing lights are a pet annoyance of mine.

You could ask why something would be more likely to dazzle during daylight hours. You could point out that the DfT mandates flashing frequencies which are unlikely to cause epileptic fits. You could ask whether the much brighter flashing lights on emergency vehicles pose a danger and ought to be removed. You could write and ask them to publish a similarly patronising statement addressing all motorists and telling them how to use and adjust their headlights so that they do not dazzle other road users. You could point out that pedestrians are road users...

Or you could put it in the recycling and forget all about it :D

Psamathe
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Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Psamathe » 27 Nov 2014, 6:03pm

Personally I would say respond. More to counter the many who will have read and believed the author. The author will probably never change his/her mind. But those reading and inclined to will accept what was said.

But, if you can I'd respond with as many facts as possible rather than just denials. e.g. epileptic fits from flashing only occur when flashing frequency is x to y and bike lights use a frequency of .... No BS standard lights are readily available so to comply with the law cyclists must use flashing lights ... Cyclists do not use torches but special cycle lights specifically designed ... Would <original author> rather cyclists go unlit and just get crushed under vehicles who cant see them, etc. (I don't know the facts so the e.g's are not suggested ones as they may be wrong).

Ian

Postboxer
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Joined: 24 Jul 2013, 5:19pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Postboxer » 27 Nov 2014, 6:11pm

Two replies, from 'different' people, one just answering the points about flashing lights, the second, a satirical one much like theirs but addressed to ALL the drivers in the area, followed by a long long list of all of the dangerous things they do that causes accidents and murders innocent bystanders.

oldstrath
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Joined: 21 Feb 2014, 2:00pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby oldstrath » 27 Nov 2014, 7:22pm

If he really cannot see because a cyclist has passed by with a flashing light:
He probably should seek medical advice
he probably should not be driving
he surely must be having problems with emergency vehicles, tractors, bin wagons....

He is either lying for effect, has visual problems, or is mad. I doubt there is any point in responding

iviehoff
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Joined: 20 Jan 2009, 4:38pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby iviehoff » 28 Nov 2014, 11:57am

Revolution wrote:My local free-sheet arrived today and in the letters column was this :-
I would like to address all cyclists in the area and advise them of the dangers of using flashing lights on their bikes. Flashing lights such as those available for bicycles can cause many reactions to those of us unfortunate enough to come across them. Epileptic fits, migraines, dizziness and disorientation can all be triggered by these lights. It is extremely frightening and unpleasant to find yourself unable to see whilst at the wheel of a car all because a cyclist has gone by with a flashing light. I implore any cyclist reading this to think about other road users and pedestrians before they turn their lights to the flashing setting, especially during the daylight hours. It can cause accidents.
I am in two minds about whether to respond to this or to ignore the anti-cycling, inaccurate garbage that this letter represents. After all, nonsense like this is printed purely to spark a reaction. So - what should I do? Please submit your suggestions :)

Flashing lights: as a driver you'd never have to put up with seeing those on the road if it weren't for those pesky cyclists. It's lucky that cars turning corners never put their flashing indicators on and emergency vehicles never use their flashing lights. Fortunately since cars don't use their indicators, the driver is not worried by any flashing lights on the dashboard of the car either. And fortunately road repair companies never mark the location of their workings with flashing lights, nor are there any flashing lights at level crossings. Belisha beacons have never been known to flash and the flashing pelican crossing I understand has been abolished.

Government regulations on bicycle lights have the effect of strongly encouraging cyclists to use flashing lights: it is very difficult legally and effectively to light your bike without using flashing lights. If the writer has any complaint about this, they should encourage the government to rewrite the regs, something which cyclists themselves have been unable to achieve despite their own considerable dissatisfaction with the regs.

Bicycler
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Joined: 4 Dec 2013, 3:33pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Bicycler » 28 Nov 2014, 12:22pm

iviehoff wrote:Government regulations on bicycle lights have the effect of strongly encouraging cyclists to use flashing lights: it is very difficult legally and effectively to light your bike without using flashing lights. If the writer has any complaint about this, they should encourage the government to rewrite the regs, something which cyclists themselves have been unable to achieve despite their own considerable dissatisfaction with the regs.

I agree that it is worth pointing out the lack of legal non flashing lights in response to this article.

That said, My bet is on there being more people out there lit legally using non-flashing lights than flashing ones (the number of older and German lights outnumbering flashing lights without a steady mode). I also doubt that the regulations make much of a difference to most cyclists' choice of lights. If there were a large demand more companies would make and stock legal ones. Cateye gave it a try but they didn't fly off the shelves. The apathy of British cyclists and retailers on this issue has played its part as much as that of the government.

iviehoff
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Re: news paper nutcase

Postby iviehoff » 28 Nov 2014, 1:54pm

Clearly cyclists like to use flashing lights because they demonstrably improve the likelihood of being spotted. They became common before they were legal, and then the government messed up the regs to make it much the easiest choice, and now everyone has them. They are as reluctant to give them up as are drivers reluctant to give up their windscreen wipers.

Epileptics who are at risk of having fits are, quite properly, banned from driving. My friend had his driving licence removed for 2 years after he had an epileptic fit, until he had demonstrated he was stable and not having further fits. If merely seeing common sights on the roads like the many kinds of legal flashing lights puts someone at a risk of a fit, then the person in question should surrender their licence.

Bicycler
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Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Bicycler » 28 Nov 2014, 2:14pm

iviehoff wrote:Clearly cyclists like to use flashing lights because they demonstrably improve the likelihood of being spotted. They became common before they were legal, and then the government messed up the regs to make it much the easiest choice, and now everyone has them. They are as reluctant to give them up as are drivers reluctant to give up their windscreen wipers.

Well, as I said, Cateye produced a couple of models which were UK road legal in both steady and flashing modes. Cyclists and retailers weren't clambering over themselves to obtain them and they eventually dropped them (whilst still producing models for countries where people do buy them). Others do produce steady and flashing lights which are legal but few places stock them and we rarely get requests on here to recommend a set. UK Retailers and cyclists by and large are not concerned by the legalities of the lights sold and bought.

D363
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Joined: 23 Aug 2014, 3:03pm
Location: Sheffield

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby D363 » 28 Nov 2014, 3:46pm

Can't see anything to be gained by responding to that tripe.

Bicycler
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Joined: 4 Dec 2013, 3:33pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Bicycler » 28 Nov 2014, 4:01pm

D363 wrote:Can't see anything to be gained by responding to that tripe.

It won't convert those who have formed their opinions but casual readers might take something from a considered response rather than just the purely negative anti-cyclist message they get from the original article. In the past I have found many people are interested when you actually discuss issues like road positioning, pavement cycling, RLJing, cycle lanes, hi-vis and helmets. We can't blame people for thinking these things to be black and white issues if they are always presented as such and we make no effort to challenge that.

iandriver
Posts: 2372
Joined: 10 Jun 2009, 2:09pm
Location: Cambridge.

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby iandriver » 28 Nov 2014, 5:01pm

Suggested response:

"Dear Sir,

Flashing and very bright lights cause problems for all sorts of users. Unfortunately, as long as the legal system continues to accept "I didn't see you" as reasonable, I'm afraid we're all stuck with them."
Supporter of the A10 corridor cycling campaign serving Royston to Cambridge http://a10corridorcycle.com. Never knew gardening secateurs were an essential part of the on bike tool kit until I took up campaigning.....

martinn
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Joined: 1 Dec 2012, 8:20pm

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby martinn » 28 Nov 2014, 6:01pm

Hi Revolution, would this be the same free rag that recently carried the letter and subsequent predictable replies about a father riding to school with his kids and being told to ride on the cycle path? I did think of replying to that one, but apathy got the better of me.
I await to see if they print your reply next week!
I would have thought a combination of the above approaches, indicating that as the flashing lights are completly legal, they "must" have been tested to ensure that do not cause any problems to other road users, or why were they made legal.

Martin

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Revolution
Posts: 184
Joined: 20 Feb 2013, 3:23pm
Location: North Somerset and Bristol

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby Revolution » 28 Nov 2014, 6:56pm

martinn - would this be the same free rag that recently carried the letter and subsequent predictable replies about a father riding to school with his kids and being told to ride on the cycle path?

Yes indeed it is that pinnacle of journalism - The North Somerset Times. They have woken up to the fact that as well as moaning about North Somerset Council, cyclists offer a rich vein of vitriol from the readership too.
I have started drafting a reply but I keep straying into Mr Angry territory :evil: so I have to put it away and think pleasant thoughts until I can continue. I will manage it eventually with the help of many of the suggestions above.

andrewk
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Joined: 20 May 2011, 3:19pm
Location: SW London

Re: news paper nutcase

Postby andrewk » 28 Nov 2014, 7:15pm

It might be useful to point out to the correspondent that people likely to suffer an epileptic fit ( wheather triggered by a flashing cycle lamp or not) are unfit to drive and should have their driving licence revoked.