Flashing LEDs - again

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Pdannyd, Jan 30, 2003.

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  1. Pdannyd

    Pdannyd Guest

    Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second light a leave that one
    on steady.

    In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist) I have always found riders
    with steady rear lights to be more visible and much easier to get a visual lock on than riders with
    a flashing read light.

    When you set your rear lights to flashing mode you keep disappearing and reappearing in a
    distracting and confusing manner which is dangerous to only yourself. Sure, it may be eyecatching if
    someone hasn't seen you but you also need something solid with which to be accurately seen.

    Here's what I've found, in general: motorists don't like flashing LED rear lights because it makes
    cyclists harder to see and locate though they are initially more eyecatching. Cyclists seem to think
    a flashing rear light makes them more visible and telling them to leave their lights on steady mode
    usually results in a barrage of abuse. Who do you believe regarding your visibility - your own
    prejudices or the actual experiences of motorists?
     
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  2. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second
    light
    > a leave that one on steady.
    >
    > In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist) I have always found riders
    > with steady rear lights to be more visible and
    much
    > easier to get a visual lock on than riders with a flashing read light.
    >
    > When you set your rear lights to flashing mode you keep disappearing and reappearing in a
    > distracting and confusing manner which is dangerous to
    only
    > yourself. Sure, it may be eyecatching if someone hasn't seen you but you also need something solid
    > with which to be accurately seen.
    >
    > Here's what I've found, in general: motorists don't like flashing LED rear lights because it makes
    > cyclists harder to see and locate though they are initially more eyecatching. Cyclists seem to
    > think a flashing rear light makes them more visible and telling them to leave their lights on
    > steady mode usually results in a barrage of abuse. Who do you believe regarding your visibility -
    > your own prejudices or the actual experiences of motorists?
    >
    >
    ...and I take it you don't think we're also motorists ? From personal experience, I'm sticking with
    flashing things, thanks for the thought though ;-) Dave.
     
  3. Pdannyd

    Pdannyd Guest

    "Dave" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second
    > light
    > > a leave that one on steady.
    > >
    > > In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist) I have always found
    > > riders with steady rear lights to be more visible and
    > much
    > > easier to get a visual lock on than riders with a flashing read light.

    Tsk! That should have been **rear** light.

    >
    > ...and I take it you don't think we're also motorists ? From personal experience, I'm sticking
    > with flashing things, thanks for
    the
    > thought though ;-)

    You're welcome. Flashing LED's to me are the same as bib shorts to the Paving Slab Fairy. Grrrrrrrr
     
  4. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On Thu, PDannyD <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Who do you believe regarding your visibility - your own prejudices or the actual experiences of
    > motorists?

    Personally, I believe my own actual experience, as a motorisat and a cyclist.

    Incidently, does it not occur to you that sometimes a cyclist might (shock!) see another cyclist,
    and even were they not also a motorist would be well aware of what various lights setups look like
    on teh road.

    Also, as a cyclist, can I advise you to forget about your prejudices and SWITCH OFF YOUR FLAMING
    FOGLIGHTS.

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  5. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Thu, 30 Jan 2003 21:10:15 -0000, "PDannyD"
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Flashing LED's to me are the same as bib shorts to the Paving Slab Fairy.

    Oh dear, you'd hate this then

    http://www.reallite.com

    But the guarantee is second to none :)

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  6. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    You said:

    >Here's what I've found, in general: motorists don't like flashing LED rear lights because it makes
    >cyclists harder to see and locate though they are initially more eyecatching.

    Our survey said:

    Flashing LEDs are between three and five times more visible than a steady light of the same
    brightness. Strangely, though, the DfT report to this effect has been replaced by one showing that
    flashing lights are no better or worse than steady ones - but recommending that flashing ones should
    be allowed anyway.

    So I use both. This has the advantage of making batteries last longer, if nothing else.

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  7. Peter B

    Peter B Guest

    "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message > You're welcome.
    > Flashing LED's to me are the same as bib shorts to the Paving Slab Fairy. Grrrrrrrr

    I agree with you, flashing lights are fine if supported by a steady. Whilst on the subject some of
    the front LED lights are near useless, on a par with cars using sidelights in poor visibility.

    While some cyclists who are also motorists may like flashing rear lights I think they ought to
    appeal to the wider world of motorists. SMIDSY is bad enough, don't give 'em any excuses.

    Pete
     
  8. Msa

    Msa Guest

    "Peter B" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message > You're welcome.
    > > Flashing LED's to me are the same as bib shorts to the Paving Slab
    Fairy.
    > > Grrrrrrrr
    >
    > I agree with you, flashing lights are fine if supported by a steady. Whilst on the subject some of
    > the front LED lights are near useless, on a par with cars using sidelights in poor visibility.
    >
    > While some cyclists who are also motorists may like flashing rear lights I think they ought to
    > appeal to the wider world of motorists. SMIDSY is bad enough, don't give 'em any excuses.
    >
    > Pete
    >
    >

    I use two Cateye LED rear lights. I have one on constant, one on flashing. My front set up is an
    EL200 on constant and a small Cateye flashing which I keep on the bike just in case the EL200 gives
    up the ghost. I feel safer knowing that I have 2 fronts and 2 backs should 1 die on me.

    --
    Mark
    ______________________________________

    "Just ask yourself: What would Scooby Doo?"
     
  9. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Thu, 30 Jan 2003 21:16:45 +0000 (UTC), Ian Smith <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Incidently, does it not occur to you that sometimes a cyclist might (shock!) see another cyclist

    And, even more radically, one or two of us might occasionally drive a car!

    Guy
    ===
    ** WARNING ** This posting may contain traces of irony. http://www.chapmancentral.com (BT ADSL and
    dynamic DNS permitting)
    NOTE: BT Openworld have now blocked port 25 (without notice), so old mail addresses may no longer
    work. Apologies.
     
  10. Pdannyd

    Pdannyd Guest

  11. Dave

    Dave Guest

    "Peter B" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message > You're welcome.
    > > Flashing LED's to me are the same as bib shorts to the Paving Slab
    Fairy.
    > > Grrrrrrrr
    >
    Do you find that a strange red mist across your field of vision obscures the pretty red lights ?

    > I agree with you, flashing lights are fine if supported by a steady. Whilst on the subject some of
    > the front LED lights are near useless, on a par with cars using sidelights in poor visibility.
    >
    > While some cyclists who are also motorists may like flashing rear lights I think they ought to
    > appeal to the wider world of motorists. SMIDSY is bad enough, don't give 'em any excuses.
    >
    > Pete
    >
    If I use a steady rear red light, then I merely blend into the sea of red lights out there. As mine
    isn't as strong as the ones on cars / traffic lights and just about anything else out there, I am
    less likely to be *noticed* <---- This is the important bit to me. As long as they notice me, I'm
    happy. If they then choose to get upset by the method I use to attract their attention, I'm quite
    happy to discuss with them, although, to date, I've never had an issue (touch wood / formica,
    rather than tarmac!). I use this approach regards my front light too. Used to have a quality
    halogen with rechargeables, bright but unbelievably unreliable, bulb contact problems & battery
    memory problems. It really was russian roulette. Now got a new fangled blue/white led that I use in
    flash mode. I *know* they've seen me, that's all that matters *to me*. ....and the battery life is
    expected to be something around 300 hours. Also, as I wear hi-viz gear, the motorists have more to
    focus on for tracking than just a flashing light. cheers, Dave
     
  12. Troll away they will bite this is a top topic at the moment
     
  13. Pdannyd

    Pdannyd Guest

    "Ian Smith" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > On Thu, PDannyD <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > > Who do you believe regarding your visibility - your own prejudices or
    the
    > > actual experiences of motorists?

    Maybe I shouldn't have written that last line.

    >
    > Personally, I believe my own actual experience, as a motorisat and a cyclist.
    >
    > Incidently, does it not occur to you that sometimes a cyclist might (shock!) see another cyclist,
    > and even were they not also a motorist would be well aware of what various lights setups look like
    > on teh road.

    Did I say that cyclists don't drive? Don't read more than I have written.

    >
    > Also, as a cyclist, can I advise you to forget about your prejudices and SWITCH OFF YOUR FLAMING
    > FOGLIGHTS.

    I don't have foglights or prejudices.
     
  14. <snip>
    > > > In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist)
    I
    > > > have always found riders with steady rear lights to be more visible
    and
    > > much easier to get a visual lock on than riders with a flashing read
    light. <snip>

    Don't agree at all - wee flashing red light means BIKE loud & clear nowadays. Instantly
    recognisable. Constant rear red (on its own) could be anything from a reflection of a car's light on
    a shop window or a puddle to an all-weather prostitute ;-) Just blends into all the other red
    lights, as has been pointed out in another reply.

    I use a big old Duracell filament light & a flashing LED at the back, plus little flashing LED at
    the front, together with a Cateye RC200 Daylite rechargeable. Add on a sh!tload of reflective tape,
    reflectors, reflective tabs on my shoes & helmet, and a Karrimor City Limits jacket which has
    reflectives & is 'traffic-cone orange'. SMIDSY is not an issue - I'm the loudest thing on the road
    with all that lot, especially the jacket (excellent bit of kit, BTW).

    On a different tack, when I used a weedy battery filament light at the front, you could guarantee
    that oncoming cars would NEVER dip their lights. Now with the Cateye (even in 7W mode), instant
    dipping of headlights.

    <CYNIC>Do they think I'm a motorbike at first glance, and hence a "legit road user", and therefore
    dip their lights?</CYNIC> <NON-CYNIC>Do they just see a brighter front light a lot quicker (or at
    all) & act accordingly / courteously?</NON-CYNIC>

    There is of course always the odd w*nker who thinks that cyclists don't merit dipping lights to
    avoid blinding them. Y'know all that physical effort involved in raising hand to the light stalk and
    clicking it back - bit too much hard work innit? Still, it does allow me to make a
    bizarrely-satisfying 'hand-shandy' gesture in their general direction, complete with verbal
    confirmation. Not that they'd hear me of course...

    So everyone get 2 rear lights - one constant, one flashing.

    ChrisB
     
  15. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of "PDannyD"
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second light a leave that one
    > on steady.

    I just bought a new LED light; used it for the first time on Monday night - twentysomething miles in
    the dark+drizzle, partly urban (Plymouth) but largely up here on Dartmoor. I used it in flashing
    mode, along with the dynamo-powered thing and the bright yellow stripe. From the behaviour of the
    motorists, I think they found me extremely visible, and I felt safer than I did on the same roads
    without the flasher.

    > In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist) I have always found riders
    > with steady rear lights to be more visible and much easier to get a visual lock on than riders
    > with a flashing read light.

    I tend to think of the yellow stripe as my best visibility-aid.

    > Who do you believe regarding your visibility - your own prejudices or the actual experiences of
    > motorists?

    I think we're relatively fortunate in the southwest: fewer major dickheads (no grossly overpaid jobs
    to attract them), and less congestion leads to better-tempered drivers.

    --
    Wear your paunch with pride!
     
  16. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Dave <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >
    >I use this approach regards my front light too. Used to have a quality halogen with rechargeables,
    >bright but unbelievably unreliable, bulb contact problems & battery memory problems. It really was
    >russian roulette. Now got a new fangled blue/white led that I use in flash mode. I *know* they've
    >seen me, that's all that matters *to me*. ....

    Don't bet on them having seen you......

    I think using a flashing front like this a really bad idea.

    Recently I was driving the cage home in the evening about 6 pm, and raining to boot. Waiting to pull
    out on a main road at a junction, into two lanes of steady moving but heavy traffic. When I had the
    scary moment of almost SMIDSY-ing a cyclist (approaching from my right). Except in this case I
    really hadn't seen him. I had no awareness at all that he was there until he got rather to close for
    comfort and I was just preparing to pull out.

    And this was when I was if anything was taking extra care because of the rain impairing the
    vision through the side window. And (like most cyclists when driving I guess) was actively
    looking for a cyclist.

    I don't think it coincidence that he was using a front flashing light as his sole light. (and seemed
    to be one of the newer ones of decent brightness, not one of these feeble jobbies.) I can only
    assume that against the background of many headlights, reflections from the body work of cars etc.
    in the rain and on the car window his flashing light just did not stand out at all. It was only when
    he came near enough to be seen as a cyclist that I seemed to spot him.

    The new LED headlights do seem pretty effective in being noticed by other road users, but not in
    flashing mode.
    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  17. Tim Dunne

    Tim Dunne Guest

    "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second
    light
    > a leave that one on steady.

    I modified my Cateye rear LED light (normally steady) so that it maintains normal brightness 80% of
    the time, and becomes twice as bright for the remaining 20%. It flashes about 1.5Hz, and has lasted
    18 months (surprising, really) - I've had a lot of positive feedback, as I no longer disappear, and
    it's quite eyecatching.

    I'd be interested on the legality of this (although one of the positive comments was from a member
    of the old William!) because the light never actually goes out.

    I also put a momentary switch on my front lights, near the brake, so I can flash in daylight anyone
    who doesn't appear to have seen me. That seems to work too. Quite often I will light up in the day,
    especially when negotiating islands.

    Tim

    --
    Sent from Brum, UK... ...scheduled completion Sept 2003 'God's electrician sparked up the heavens
    once again, heading northbound on the 7:10. And the lord said let there be commuters...' - Thea
    Gilmore Look, mum, an anorak on a bike! Check out www.nervouscyclist.org
     
  18. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    PDannyD <[email protected]> wrote:
    > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second light a leave that one
    > on steady.
    >

    I'm with you. I find flashing lights on their own much more difficult to spot. I find a bright
    steady one plus a slow flashing one the most noticeable.

    Tony

    http://www.raven-family.com

    "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place" George
    Bernard Shaw.
     
  19. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

  20. Stephen \

    Stephen \ Guest

    "PDannyD" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Please. Turn your LED rear lights onto the steady mode or fit a second
    light
    > a leave that one on steady.
    >
    > In my many years as a motorist and motorcyclist (as well as a cyclist) I have always found riders
    > with steady rear lights to be more visible and
    much
    > easier to get a visual lock on than riders with a flashing read light.
    >
    > When you set your rear lights to flashing mode you keep disappearing and reappearing in a
    > distracting and confusing manner which is dangerous to
    only
    > yourself. Sure, it may be eyecatching if someone hasn't seen you but you also need something solid
    > with which to be accurately seen.
    >
    > Here's what I've found, in general: motorists don't like flashing LED rear lights because it makes
    > cyclists harder to see and locate though they are initially more eyecatching. Cyclists seem to
    > think a flashing rear light makes them more visible and telling them to leave their lights on
    > steady mode usually results in a barrage of abuse. Who do you believe regarding your visibility -
    > your own prejudices or the actual experiences of motorists?
    >
    Drivers see what they want to see. Red light = amber = go. Someone waiting at a zebra crossing = go.
    Bus lane = car lane, Yellow box at junction = waiting zone, bloke on bike on footpath with front
    light on full = dazzle hazzard your honour, small fine and pathetic ban please.
     
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