Have they seen the light?

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Just Zis Guy, Jan 26, 2003.

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  1. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Unexpected email this afternoon:

    > Dear Mr Chapman
    >
    > Following your interest in our previous consultation on proposals to amend the Pedal Bicycles
    > (Safety) Regulations, I believe that you might have an interest in other proposals applying to
    > pedal cycles.
    >
    > I have therefore attached for your information, a copy of our consultation document on proposals
    > to amend the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations to permit pedal cycles to be fitted with optional
    > front and rear position lamps which flash, in addition to the existing obligatory front and rear
    > steady lamps.
    >
    > The proposals will also consider red facing flashing lamps on breakdown vehicles and sirens and
    > blue warning beacons on certain Custom and Excise vehicles.
    >
    > Regards
    >
    > Alison Alleyne VSE4 Department for Transport 76 Marsham Street London SW1A 4DR Tel: 0207 944 2062
    > Fax:0207 944

    I guess the paper is on the DfT website - they usually are; any of you who are interested should
    also be able to comment (this would alos be normal).

    Imagine - flashing lights made legal, perhaps in our own lifetimes. Who would have thought it, eh?

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
    Tags:


  2. Gordon Bp

    Gordon Bp Guest

    Just zis Guy, you know? scribed after much navel searching:
    > Unexpected email this afternoon:
    >
    >
    >>Dear Mr Chapman
    >>
    >>Following your interest in our previous consultation on proposals to amend the Pedal Bicycles
    >>(Safety) Regulations, I believe that you might have an interest in other proposals applying to
    >>pedal cycles.
    >>
    >>I have therefore attached for your information, a copy of our consultation document on proposals
    >>to amend the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations to permit pedal cycles to be fitted with optional
    >>front and rear position lamps which flash, in addition to the existing obligatory front and rear
    >>steady lamps.
    >>
    >>The proposals will also consider red facing flashing lamps on breakdown vehicles and sirens and
    >>blue warning beacons on certain Custom and Excise vehicles.
    >>
    >>Regards
    >>
    >>Alison Alleyne VSE4 Department for Transport 76 Marsham Street London SW1A 4DR Tel: 0207 944 2062
    >>Fax:0207 944
    >
    >
    > I guess the paper is on the DfT website - they usually are; any of you who are interested should
    > also be able to comment (this would alos be normal).
    >
    > Imagine - flashing lights made legal, perhaps in our own lifetimes. Who would have thought it, eh?
    >
    > --
    > Guy
    > ===
    > I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    > about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    > wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
    >
    >
    I was under the impression that flashing lights were already "not illegal" as long as they were
    always used in conjunction with "proper" lights!
     
  3. Bob Flemming

    Bob Flemming Guest

    >Imagine - flashing lights made legal, perhaps in our own lifetimes. Who would have thought it, eh?

    I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    emits a continuous light. Obviously the 'flash' is designed to 'catch the eye' of the driver,
    which is probably does, but I also think that this same flash is also kind of hazardous as far
    as car driving goes. Certainly when I'm behind the wheel and get behind a cyclist who is riding
    with a flashing LED [and another on the back of the helmet, and another on the back-pack :-], it
    has the effect of continually drawing your attention to the light, almost like a strobe, in a
    kind of hypnotic way, that can have the effect of distracting you from what you're supposed to
    be concentrating on - the ROAD and what's in FRONT of you, and that is NOT in the interest of
    the cyclist.

    Point is, as a car driver [always useful to be a car driver when you cycle, IMO], the most important
    thing is 'seeing' the cyclist in the first place. Once you've 'eyed' the cyclist, then you're taking
    him/her into account in your maneuvers right away, you don't need to see them again - just like any
    other traffic 'object' in front of you. I'm not convinced a flashing LED is anymore useful than an
    LED in full light mode. It's about the strength of the light more than anything else. I've also been
    amazed too sometimes, how effective reflectors can be. Quite often I've been behind a cyclist with a
    rear reflector that can glow like a light, only to see it fade as I pass.

    Anyway, just felt like saying it. And no, I don't think everybody should ride in continuous
    LED mode LOL!

    Relax, for heavens sake :)

    bob
     
  4. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Bob Flemming
    <[email protected]> writes
    >
    >>Imagine - flashing lights made legal, perhaps in our own lifetimes. Who would have thought it, eh?
    >
    >I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    >lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    >emits a continuous light. Obviously the 'flash' is designed to 'catch the eye' of the driver, which
    >is probably does, but I also think that this same flash is also kind of hazardous as far as car
    >driving goes.

    <snip>
    >
    I certainly don't like flashing LEDS and no other light showing. Not because I think it is
    distracting, but I think that it can be confusing esp. in a busy road environment. Mostly I think
    the problem is that although you may spot the light the flashing intermittent nature of the light
    makes it hard to place and to be sure of distance.

    There may be some benefit in terms of being noticed as an addition to a fixed light , but I
    certainly wouldn't use it alone. One advantage nowadays is they are so common on bikes, horse and
    runners etc. that a flashing red light has probably acquired the unofficial meaning of indicating a
    'slower' vehicle ahead.

    Personally I'm happy with one or two good fixed rear lights. Though the trailer has 3 LED lights and
    I sometimes put the centre one on flash. Certainly I notice that cars tend to slow down in plenty of
    time before the overetake - possibly because they see all the lights first, and aren't quite sure
    what it is they are aproaching.
    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  5. I'm coming to the conclusion it's not just about lights. I saw a horse last night. Not a light in
    sight but the horse had a fluorescent saddle blanket and the rider was wearing all sorts of high viz
    bits, including helmet. All very visible.

    Conversely you see so many cyclists, whether with or without effective lighting, wearing dark
    clothes which makes them much less visible.
     
  6. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Gordon BP wrote:

    > I was under the impression that flashing lights were already "not illegal" as long as they were
    > always used in conjunction with "proper" lights!

    According to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regs they are not legal, certainly not at the front and I
    think not at the rear either.

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  7. "Bob Flemming" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    > lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    > emits a continuous light.

    I've got a cateye LD600 which has various flashing modes, but I always use a non-flashing mode as I
    think it is safer. I have noticed that these cyclists with just a flashing light it's hard to tell
    the distance ahead they are as easily. Also I think that many motorists see a flashing LED and think
    "slow cyclist ahead - must overtake at any cost". The constant LED light could be interpreted as a
    moped which many motorists would take more care to overtake than a cyclist. My LD600 used to eat
    batteries pretty fast in "constant" mode, so the answer no is to use AAA rechargables like I do for
    my MC200 front light (AA).
     
  8. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 19:37:27 +0000, Bob Flemming <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    >lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    >emits a continuous light.

    The DfT, I think it was, did some research which showed that a flashing light was between 3 and
    5 times more visible than a steady light of the same brightness. Hence I use both. Or rather,
    two of each.

    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.
     
  9. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 21:12:14 -0000, "Graham Harrison" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Conversely you see so many cyclists, whether with or without effective lighting, wearing dark
    >clothes which makes them much less visible.

    That's so cagers can't aim at the so easily.

    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. Simon Mason

    Simon Mason Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Gordon BP wrote:
    >
    > > I was under the impression that flashing lights were already "not illegal" as long as they were
    > > always used in conjunction with "proper" lights!
    >
    > According to the Road Vehicle Lighting Regs they are not legal, certainly not at the front and I
    > think not at the rear either.

    They are legal so long as they are not attached to your bike (i.e OK on your jacket) and your bike
    also has constant lamps fitted.

    --
    Simon Mason Anlaby East Yorkshire. 53°44'N 0°26'W http://www.simonmason.karoo.net
     
  11. In news:[email protected], Adrian Boliston <[email protected]> typed:

    > I've got a cateye LD600 which has various flashing modes, but I always use a non-flashing mode as
    > I think it is safer. I have noticed that these cyclists with just a flashing light it's hard to
    > tell the distance ahead they are as easily.

    I tend to use the steady mode on my LED lamps (front and back) - and the cells still last as long.
    The front LED is more a backup for the 10/2.4W double headlamp in case the storage battery runs down
    in the middle of a ride.

    I find the spillover light from the front LED a bit disorientating in flashing mode anyway, to the
    point of even feeling unwell (perhaps I am just sensitive to this - the same happens with duff
    striplights in the office, and certain frequencies of strobe lights at discos/raves)

    Alex
     
  12. Tim Hall

    Tim Hall Guest

    On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 22:09:18 +0000, "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 19:37:27 +0000, Bob Flemming <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    >>lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    >>emits a continuous light.
    >
    >The DfT, I think it was, did some research which showed that a flashing light was between 3 and
    >5 times more visible than a steady light of the same brightness. Hence I use both. Or rather,
    >two of each.
    >
    I'd be interested to read more on that. Got a url handy?

    My understanding, picked up by osmosis, was that determining the position of the flashing light is
    harder as the brain has to "join the dots". Could be a load of tosh, though.

    Tim
    --
    fast and gripping, non pompous, glossy and credible.
     
  13. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    Simon Mason wrote:

    > They are legal so long as they are not attached to your bike (i.e OK on your jacket) and your
    > bike also has constant lamps fitted.

    Thanks. I knew it was something like that, but my relevant link is at home. You can put whatever
    you like on your person, of course. Well, within reason, obviously (oh bugger, another paving
    slab thread).

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  14. Elyob

    Elyob Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Simon Mason wrote:
    >
    > > They are legal so long as they are not attached to your bike (i.e OK on your jacket) and your
    > > bike also has constant lamps fitted.
    >
    > Thanks. I knew it was something like that, but my relevant link is at
    home.
    > You can put whatever you like on your person, of course. Well, within reason, obviously (oh
    > bugger, another paving slab thread).
    >

    According to CTC ...
     
  15. Elyob

    Elyob Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Simon Mason wrote:
    >
    > > They are legal so long as they are not attached to your bike (i.e OK on your jacket) and your
    > > bike also has constant lamps fitted.
    >
    > Thanks. I knew it was something like that, but my relevant link is at
    home.
    > You can put whatever you like on your person, of course. Well, within reason, obviously (oh
    > bugger, another paving slab thread).
    >
    > --

    Flashers

    Flashing lights are not presently allowed to be mounted on a cycle, except for direction indicators
    (which must comply with the appropriate standards as per motorcycles). However a recent, hastily
    withdrawn edition of the Highway Code directly contradicted this by recommending that cyclists fit
    flashing lights in addition to the legally required ones! So official opposition to flashers appears
    to be crumbling and has always left a few loopholes. The law does not say if a person sitting on a
    vehicle, or luggage attached to it, is part of the vehicle or not. So it’s very much a matter of
    opinion as to whether flashing lights worn by a cyclist (or triangular reflective patches on
    panniers) are legal or not. Police attitudes vary from a ticking off to congratulation upon having
    “such a brilliant flashing light sir”!

    http://www.ctc.org.uk/editorial_display.asp?edname=234.htm&cont_id=5
     
  16. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Tony W wrote:
    > The read LED's I use weigh less than 50g so weight is hardly a consideration. I think it is worth
    > having a couple -- if for no other reason their is some redundancy if one fails.

    I agree, it's perfectly resonable for sensible people to use more than one rear LED!

    I don't bother because....
    1. I think one makes me visable enough (perhaps I'm fooling myself?). I do have a rear
    reflector as well.
    2. I have to rig up special brackets because seatpost is taken up with seatpost rack. Would be
    a pain to do another one with my particular setup.
    3. Extra running cost of batteries. Yes they can last a long time, but I like to change mine
    just as they start getting dim, not linger on with fading batts for ages. (Rechargeables
    might be an option, not sure if a good one).
    4. Cost of light in the first place (not much but then I've always got tons of other cycling
    things to buy at any one time).
    5. One more thing to get in the way and go wrong and take care of. I like the minimal approach
    with my road bike. Perhaps this is the real number one reason. I've got less/no excuse with
    the tourer.
    6. Weight and aerodynamics. Am I joking? ...No comment ;-)

    Small reasons, but they all add up.

    ~PB
     
  17. "Adrian Boliston" <[email protected]> wrote: ( "Bob Flemming" <[email protected]> wrote
    ... ) > I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a ( > longer life from the
    battery lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not ) > convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright
    LED that emits a ( > continuous light. ) ( I've got a cateye LD600 which has various flashing modes,
    but I always use a ) non-flashing mode as I think it is safer. I have noticed that these ( cyclists
    with just a flashing light it's hard to tell the distance ahead ) they are as easily. ...

    It seems that the apparent brightness of flashing LEDs is largely determined by the peak current (so
    long as the duty cycle is not too extreme). This is in part because unlike filament lamps they do
    not need to "warm up" every time they flash. But of course the power consumption is determined by
    the average current. That is why flashing LEDs seem to be brighter than you would expect by
    averaging out the brightness over a cycle. What I do not know, and do not know whether there is
    adequate experimental evidence about, is whether this apparent brightness is reflected in ability to
    draw attention. If it were, then flashing at a higher frequency should ease the problem of making it
    difficult to judge distances - something which is severly limited when the flashing rate is
    significant at the speeds which eyes jump about.
     
  18. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Tim Hall
    <[email protected]> writes
    >On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 22:09:18 +0000, "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >>On Wed, 15 Jan 2003 19:37:27 +0000, Bob Flemming <[email protected]> wrote:
    >>
    >>>I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    >>>lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    >>>emits a continuous light.
    >>
    >>The DfT, I think it was, did some research which showed that a flashing light was between 3 and 5
    >>times more visible than a steady light of the same brightness. Hence I use both. Or rather, two
    >>of each.
    >>
    >I'd be interested to read more on that. Got a url handy?
    >
    Possible research that showed flashing lights are more visible was mentioned in the CTC rag
    recently, but no figures and been published by the Gov.

    >My understanding, picked up by osmosis, was that determining the position of the flashing light is
    >harder as the brain has to "join the dots". Could be a load of tosh, though.
    >
    Certainly that is my feeling from my own observations, but I expect it will vary from person to
    person depending on their visual perception etc.

    Of course both these things are compatible. It's quite possible to notice a flashing light and also
    to be unsure of it's position say, or relative speed etc.
    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  19. Tony W

    Tony W Guest

    "Bob Flemming" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > I use a rear Cateye LED, mostly in flashing mode [mainly to get a longer life from the battery
    > lol...so 'they' say], but I'm not convinced of their effectiveness over a decent bright LED that
    > emits a continuous light. Obviously the 'flash' is designed to 'catch the eye' of the driver,
    > which is probably does, but I also think that this same flash is also kind of hazardous as far as
    > car driving goes. Certainly when I'm behind the wheel and get behind a cyclist who is riding with
    > a flashing LED [and another on the back of the helmet, and another on the back-pack :-], it has
    > the effect of continually drawing your attention to the light, almost like a strobe, in a kind of
    > hypnotic way, that can have the effect of distracting you from what you're supposed to be
    > concentrating on - the ROAD and what's in FRONT of you, and that is NOT in the interest of the
    > cyclist.

    snip

    You make a valid point. Flashing lights do draw the eye. They may also be more difficult to
    precisely locate. But, as cyclists, we have to appreciate that we often do not fit into the standard
    flow of traffic -- we are often slower than the surrounding vehicles and taking a somewhat different
    line to them -- and that we have great difficult putting up an equivalent amount of light to cars,
    lorries and motorbikes with their huge batteries and massive power capabilities.

    As a motorist I like flashing lights on bikes. A flasher screams bike and, once clocked appropriate
    action can be taken.

    Yes, the flashing can distract -- so can a lot of other things (from strange vehicles, drivers doing
    stupid things, advertising hoardings to pretty girls in tight jeans) and road users have to tune
    these out. Much better to know there is a cyclist there than suddenly become aware of a cyclist
    dressed in ninja black, unlit and mysterious until you are about to cream him.

    As a cyclist I will continue to use one steady and one flashing light, front and back, after dark.

    T
     
  20. "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> writes:

    >The DfT, I think it was, did some research which showed that a flashing light was between 3 and 5
    >times more visible than a steady light of the same brightness.

    But much harder to estimate the distance.
    --
    Chris Malcolm [email protected] +44 (0)131 650 3085 School of Artificial Intelligence, Division of
    Informatics Edinburgh University, 5 Forrest Hill, Edinburgh, EH1 2QL, UK
    [http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/daidb/people/homes/cam/ ] DoD #205
     
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