Blinded by the light?

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Blinded by the light?

Postby squeaker » 18 Dec 2007, 9:10am

Am I the only one here getting fed up with being dazzled (to the point of loosing significant night vision) by cyclists using high powered lights with conical flood beams? AFAIK only the Germans seem to take this seriously, as all their front lights appear to have beams with a sensible light distribution, including a sharp horizontal cut-off enabling them to illuminate the distant road without lighting up the night sky at the same time. As a consequence they can also produce a useful road light without using a massive amount of power.
I appreciate the benefits of a broad conical beam for serious off-road use, but on-road such things are becoming a menace! [/rant]

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Postby tatanab » 18 Dec 2007, 11:25am


I use a 5W bulb in a cycle specific headlamp, with a beam shaped as described. For most of my riding it is a far more useful shape than the cone of light designed for use in a bathroom ceiling.

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Postby Si » 18 Dec 2007, 11:41am

Can't say I've noticed. The number without any form of light still seems the major problem.

For my part I tend to use a Lumi 5 or 10w halogen when doing road rides. But a HID when off road. To get between home and the off road I either use only the backup LED or just adjust the HID so that it points straight into the ground just in front of the bike.

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Postby glueman » 18 Dec 2007, 11:52am

Compared to being blinded by car drivers not dipping or those wretched blue bulbs, cycle lights aren't a problem. What can be annoying is riding in a group with very bright rear LEDs that are angled upwards. Add flashing mode for a guaranteed migraine!

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Postby Si » 18 Dec 2007, 11:58am

glueman wrote:Compared to being blinded by car drivers not dipping or those wretched blue bulbs, cycle lights aren't a problem.

Sad but true, my HID is actually brighter than the full headlight on my old VW :roll:

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Postby byegad » 18 Dec 2007, 12:17pm

Around me it's the numpty cyclists in the majority at night.
First there's the bmx kids and their mates on MTBs riding around on the wrong side of the road dressed in black without even a reflector mounted. Then there are a number of fitness cyclists who seem to think that they don't need lights on their bike because they're training!
I recently saw a member of our local road club in all the kit belting through the village at 7pm with no lights.
It's no wonder motorists moan about damn cyclists!

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Postby PW » 18 Dec 2007, 12:25pm

It's nice to have a light which will make the motorists dip! :lol:
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

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Postby p_pitstop » 18 Dec 2007, 12:26pm

I have just bought a rather bright front light and I love it. I use the middle setting on road and the highest setting on unlit cycle paths. It has a slight downwards tilt to light the path. I commute in heavy South East traffic along an A road and frankly I'd rather temporarily dazzle a car driver in a side road and stand out from the cars behind me than not. My light is no less dazzling than looking at a cars headlight - and I tend not to stare at them for prolonged periods either.

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Postby essexman » 18 Dec 2007, 12:33pm

I use a tight beam 20W HID (lumicycle). It gets me respect\space on the road in the same way that a BMW uses its ultra bright lights to blind people till they get out the way.

I dip it , if the driver does.... , i'm afraid pedestrians vision is just collateral damage, but i'm no worse than a car.

To me this is just balancing the scales and keeping me safe.
I hate snow.

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Postby Cunobelin » 18 Dec 2007, 7:52pm

i use a Hope HID backed up by a DInotte 5 watt LED

I can now see the Ninjas at a sufficient distance to take appropriate action.

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Postby Kirst » 19 Dec 2007, 5:05pm

My commute involves a couple of miles on an unlit canal path, which is pitch black at night. It's used by lots of cyclists and lots of pedestrians. Cyclists with lights are easy to see; pedestrians in dark winter coats are invisible until you nearly hit 'em. My dad got me a very bright light for the bike for my birthday - now I can see the pedestrians, but other cyclists complain I dazzle them. What do I do? At the moment I'm compromising by pointing the light to my left when I see other cyclists coming towards me, and then moving it back again once they're past.
I can handle bars and cycle paths but I can't handle cars and psychopaths

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Postby PW » 20 Dec 2007, 10:35pm

Mount it low down, on the lowrider mounts if you have them, and have it skimming the road surface for 30 yards ish. That'll keep it low enough. I have two, on the hack one is set to show the path, the other to dazzle if necessary, though on my current commute I don't need it often.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

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Postby Mrs Tortoise » 30 Dec 2007, 11:08am

I supplement my bike light with a LCD head light, made by Energiser, so at least I can see what I'm looking at, it has the added usefulness of being switchable to red for map reading but could also provide a back up rear light. In very dark conditions it makes the road visible about 15-20 feet ahead. It's also useful if you need to stop to do anything to the bike. Cost £9.99 in Robert Dyas. Only downside leaves a slight mark on forehead for a bit after riding - but so does a helmet.

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Postby willem jongman » 10 Jan 2008, 9:48pm

Unlike in the past, when bicycle lights produced little light, they can now blind. Cyclists now need to ensure therefore that they do not blind others. That needs careful adjustment, and a sturdy bracket.
It is a mistake, moreover, to think that one cannot see and be seen well without blinding others. Quality high performance headlights such as the venerable Schmidt E6 or now the new B&M IQ Fly produce enough light for nearly all circumstances, and do not blind others because they have a very well defined cut off at the top of the beam. The problem is with all those (mostly US) rotation symmetric battery halogene and now also led headlights. They waste much of their output on illuminating the sky and not the road. As a result, people go for brighter and brighter headlights rather than lights with better optics.

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Mick F
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Postby Mick F » 11 Jan 2008, 9:43am

willem jongman wrote:......... people go for brighter and brighter headlights rather than lights with better optics.

I agree.
Better design is what's required.

I used a very bright and poweful dynamo system when I commuted, the beam was wide and flat-topped, with a spot for good distance. I could fly along in total darkness and in total confidence, not worrying if I was going to dazzle.
Mick F. Cornwall