What is the point of flashing lights?

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hjghg5
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby hjghg5 » Thu Nov 01, 2012 21:03 pm

I used to think that steady was best, but once I started commuting to work by bike from time to time I started paying more attention to what made other cyclists visible on the days when I take the car. The one thing that really helps me spot a cyclist filtering through traffic is a flashing light.

If something is ahead of me or coming towards me I can usually work out what it is. If I'm in a stream of slow/stationary traffic with a stream of lights behind me it helps me pick out cyclists if their lights are flashing. They are usually moving faster than I am but it can be hard to keep track of a single steady light and work out what it is. If it's flashing it's different and I can work it out.

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springtide9
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby springtide9 » Fri Nov 02, 2012 09:21 am

As a car driver, I find that although flashing lights do draw attention to the cyclist, a flashing light makes it very hard to judge distance.

I personally think a very bright rear light is preferable, with maybe a flashing light as a second light.

I don't think you can beat high power lights for safety, but they are obviously more expensive.
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Thebigbee
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby Thebigbee » Mon Nov 05, 2012 00:03 am

springtide9 wrote:As a car driver, I find that although flashing lights do draw attention to the cyclist, a flashing light makes it very hard to judge distance.

I personally think a very bright rear light is preferable, with maybe a flashing light as a second light.

I don't think you can beat high power lights for safety, but they are obviously more expensive.


OP is obviously a troll but this post makes very little sense.

You are in a car - you can see that there is a cyclist as they are making themselves visible. They possibly don't know you are there as they are cocentrating on the road in front and potholes in our excellent roads.

Their distance is completely irrelevant. You can clearly see them. Most cyclists don't have mirrors unlike cars, to see behind them.

The responsibility is wholly yours if you can see them.

If you complain about being able to see a cylists lights, but can't see exactly how far they are ahead may I suggest that you either have inadequate eyesight to even be driving a car or are driving your car so danegrously fast that you shouldn't be driving anyway?

My pet hate is cyclists with NO lights or full High Viz but NO lights!!

Any lights - that have power - are infinitely better than no lights.

I see plenty of people with NO lights, No reflective clothing - riding i black. Bell ends like this give sensible cylists a bad name.

But so do people that complain about whether lights are flashing or not!!

Stop feeding this obvious troll!!!!

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CiB
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby CiB » Mon Nov 05, 2012 00:44 am

springtide9 wrote:As a car driver, I find that although flashing lights do draw attention to the cyclist, a flashing light makes it very hard to judge distance.

I personally think a very bright rear light is preferable, with maybe a flashing light as a second light.

I don't think you can beat high power lights for safety, but they are obviously more expensive.

So what if you can't judge the distance? Presumably you aren't confused enough to imagine that a cyclist that appears to you to be 300 yards away is actually 4 feet from your bonnet. The fact that you've seen him is enough. Once you know he's there you know not to run him over. It might go against the grain a bit but just by moving your head and looking rather than just glancing, you can easily work out the distance.

Flashing lights are the best thing ever for cycling in the dark, and their prevelance means that only the most dim-witted drivers fail to make the connection between a slower moving flashing light and cyclists. Add a bright solid light at each end and no-one has an excuse for failing to spot a cyclist, even though they will continue to do so.

BigLights
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby BigLights » Mon Nov 05, 2012 15:34 pm

I'm also firmly a believer of lighting oneself up like a Christmas tree...I've got a Maxx D on teh bike (flashing generally, aimed down at the road) and a Joystick on my helmet (flashing, which I can point at cars at crossroads etc). On the back I've got 2x Redeyes (constant), 1x Flare (flashing). You cannot see a solid light in front of a bus or a truck, or even a car, with its headlights on.

Also, you can't judge speed or distance on 1 light alone, solid or flashing. You need 2 points of reference, hence 2 lights much safer than 1. This is why we have 2 eyes, not 1.

karlth
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby karlth » Mon Nov 05, 2012 16:57 pm

Until such time as most motorists appreciate how fast cyclists actually go (not to mention how slow uphill) I'm not sure I want them accurately judging distance - better they have to stop and think.

h34e0f
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby h34e0f » Wed Nov 07, 2012 13:46 pm

...

Fr Howie
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby Fr Howie » Wed Nov 14, 2012 11:26 am

Flashing is obviously better for attracting attention - you will notice that police cars have flashing lights on them!

Steady light obeys highway code, but also means it is easier to see exactly where you are. In the dark it is vary difficult to see how far away a flashing light is (particularly if it is moving), where a constant beam is much easier to place.

I now use a flashing and a constant beam light at both ends.

Ricey83
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby Ricey83 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 13:49 pm

@TheBigBee commenting on trolls. This made me laugh! Classic denial.

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Dellsinho
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby Dellsinho » Wed Nov 14, 2012 15:30 pm

Pross wrote:When I use my main front light on flash in an urban environment all the reflective street lights start flashing and you see drivers (and pedestrians) looking about to work out where it is coming from which to me shows it is doing its job.


Sadly the drivers and peds are more likely looking around to see where the roar of thunder is coming from as you fly past them at an unmeasurable speed :)

The way reflective surfaces or reflectors work relies on a very narrow entrance and observation angle which means that for drivers or peds to see the effect of your flashing light on signs/lights etc they need to effectively be within 1.5°(?) of your beam of light, which pretty much means being directly behind you or right next to you.


On to the subject of flashing lights; Why does your washing machine light flash when the cycle has finished? Why does your laptop battery light flash when it's running out of juice? Why do mobile phone screens flash for an incoming call? I could go on...

It's all to do with what many others have said on here, a change in the state of your immediate environment draws attention.

The only problem with flashing lights is that they distort the signal between my sensor and cycle computer, which tries to tell me I'm maintaining a steady 36.4mph even when on an incline. Which sadly I can't.
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keef66
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby keef66 » Wed Nov 14, 2012 16:33 pm

"Flashing is obviously better for attracting attention - you will notice that police cars have flashing lights on them!"

Although it is often amazing to see just how long it takes some drivers to notice the fact that their rear view mirror is full of brightly coloured police car and that the interior of their car is intermittently lighting up bright blue. Little wonder then that they sometimes fail to observe the odd cyclist.

mikebikemike
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby mikebikemike » Wed Nov 14, 2012 17:31 pm

johnny5alive wrote:As a cyclist myself I have been reading these threads cropping up all over the place recently and had to chip in;

I'll be blunt, and say that flashing lights in MOST cases are just damn right dangerous. The problem is, lights these days are far superior to the older style dim flashing lights. They have gone from being accompanied with a nice steady light simply for a bit of attention, to outrageously annoying/distracting.

I have to say that 95% of these flashing lights I see on bikes are VERY dangerous to not only them, but motorists! Imagine if drivers all went around with flashing high beams on?! I hear you say "but those are far brighter".... I'm afraid that's no longer true at all. Even IF cars high beams were brighter, we surely can't agree that drivers should drive around bashing the button to make it go on and off just to get some attention can we..?

I have been dazzled multiple times by other cyclists recently and have wanted to get off my bike and smash it over their heads. I've even heard excuses like "I don't care if it's dangerous and dazzles people, if they notice me i'll continue to use it". I'm afraid you won't be saying that too long when an old lady drives past (who probably shouldn't be on the road anyway) and steers right into you.

It's insane that this law has been passed, but what's more confusing is how many seem to just bolt one huge light on the front, point it forwards, and blind everyone with brightness that can be compared to that of the sun.

It's really quite simple:

One large steady light ideally angled down a touch
One small, quite dim flashing light angled down
Yellow reflective jacket

Job done!

The front flashing light also makes no sense because all you're doing is blinding traffic on the other side of the road in most cases. A flashing rear light would make more sense as once drivers are past they are generally on their way. Rear flashers should be made to comply with certain laws so that it also isn't too bright, however.

Use some common sense guys and stop giving us cyclists a bad name..


Absolutely right. It might not be the cyclist with the overbright lights who gets hit by a blinded motorist but it could be a pedestrian etc.

cougie
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby cougie » Thu Nov 15, 2012 00:41 am

Has this been posted yet ? http://www.londoncyclist.co.uk/raf-pilo ... -cyclists/
Flashing lights make a lot of sense.

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Bustacapp
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Re: What is the point of flashing lights?

Postby Bustacapp » Thu Nov 15, 2012 19:01 pm

I have to say I think the very bright horizontal line of non flashing lights are very noticable. Especially on the rear.


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