A tail light with a switch and an indicator on the handle bar



Al Luminum

New Member
Jun 13, 2020
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My commute takes me on both bike trails and heavy traffic, so I'd like to be able to switch a tail light on and off during the ride, and to have some kind of indicator on the handle bar that tells me whether it's on or off. Where can I find that?

Thank you, I'm new here so I don't get into arguments, I only spread joy. :D
 

dabac

Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2003
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AFAIK none exists. Closest thing I can think of is a bottle dynamo setup. Both lights wired to the dynamo. When one is lit, the other should be too. Although while bottle dynamos can be engaged while riding, I don’t think I’ve seen one that disengages easily while riding.
There are a couple of fairly good reasons why your dream system doesn’t exist:
-an indicator isn’t proof. As a cyclist you're expected to be able to monitor traffic behind you anyhow. If you can do that, you can check if your rear light is working. Turning your head is more reliable and require less installation on the bike.
- the power consumption of LED-based rear lights is so low that there’s very little practical benefit from toggling them on/off mid-ride.
-cabling. Unless you want a wireless system, you’d need to run several wires back & forth along the bike. And given the low voltage most likely used on bicycle lights, the contact resistance at every point becomes important. And somewhat difficult to control.
Overall easier to run a rear LED, turn it on at the start of the ride and then leave it on for the duration.
 

Al Luminum

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Jun 13, 2020
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... Overall easier to run a rear LED, turn it on at the start of the ride and then leave it on for the duration.

The reason I want to turn it off and on while riding is because the seller told me it shouldn't be "on", when I'm on a bike path because it's annoying to other cyclists and pedestrians.

Currently, I need to stretch my hand out back to press a push-button, and then look way down between my legs to see if my hand reflects the light. I probably look silly doing this, and it takes my eyes off the road ahead for almost 2 seconds.

Apparently cars don't have them either. I rarely see one used.

What I mean here is that in a car, the driver knows from the dashboard whether headlights (including rear lights) and signal lights are on or off. So the idea is simply to have a small LED on the handle bar, in series with the rear flasher, that indicates whether it's on or off.

I'm generally new to serious biking, but it seems like a main electronics cable running from the handle bar to the seat post, as a standard feature, would allow a whole lot of interesting engineering.
 

dabac

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Sep 16, 2003
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The reason I want to turn it off and on while riding is because the seller told me it shouldn't be "on", when I'm on a bike path because it's annoying to other cyclists and pedestrians.
Generally, if you need a light to be visible to car drivers, then a light will be beneficial for cyclists too. But maybe you’ve bought one of those really high-powered ones intended to promote visibility in daylight?
Either way, I suggest an experiment. Prop your bike up against something suitable. Turn on the light. Approach bike from rear. Does your light annoy YOU?
If ”no”, feel free to use it is even on bike lanes and MUPs.
I’m far more likely to be annoyed by blinking fronts, or poorly aimed fronts than any rear light.
Currently, I need to stretch my hand out back to press a push-button, and then look way down between my legs to see if my hand reflects the light. I probably look silly doing this....
You’re on a bike, despite being of legal driving age. Perhaps even wearing the dreaded lycra. A significant number of people have already decided that you look silly by definition. Reaching around won’t change their opinion.
..it takes my Eyes off the road ahead for almost two seconds
... which is why I suggest you leave it on.
 
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Al Luminum

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Jun 13, 2020
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It's a "Bontrager Flare R Tail light" (65 lumens), so yes I think it fits in as "one of those really high-powered ones intended to promote visibility in daylight".

I recently moved to a more populated area, so maybe I'll just get a dimmer one for this new environment. Just got a saddle bag, so one with a clip would do just fine.

I'll keep the bright one for when I ride away from the city.
 
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Mr. Beanz

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Aug 18, 2015
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Straight off the Bontrager description. Why not find one that works? o_O

Three day-time visibility modes and two night modes

I have 5 or 6 on my Cygolite at well. At least 2 are annoying proof! :p One mode is solid red light display.


Apparently cars don't have them either. I rarely see one used.

I think jhuskey was being facetious because so many drivers are idiots and too lazy to use their signals.
 
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Froze

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Jul 13, 2004
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I don't see the point, I turn the dang things on by stopping the bike for 15 seconds, turn it on just before I hit the street and go. For Pete's sakes, I stop longer at red lights.
 

Al Luminum

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Jun 13, 2020
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I don't see the point, I turn the dang things on by stopping the bike for 15 seconds, turn it on just before I hit the street and go. For Pete's sakes, I stop longer at red lights.

Roughly half of my commute is bicycle paths and the other is with cars. So I just it turn on halfway.

I still think a handlebar/dashboard indicator would be cool!
 

artemidorus

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Mar 10, 2004
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If you want a very long-life, high quality solution then: https://www.klite.com.au/

This system uses a hub dynamo, which means that you need to get a new front wheel as well as the system itself. Turns on and off with a switch on your handlebar. The indicator is the front light, or remembering which way the switch has to point for "on". The handlebar switch means that I can alternate between charging my Garmin and turning on the lights depending on conditions.

I've had the system on my commuter for 4 years and it has never needed one jot of maintenance.