Having headlight at night

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Corzhens, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. Corzhens

    Corzhens Well-Known Member

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    In the news last night was an accident involving a biker and a pedestrian. It was a secondary road that a man was crossing when a speeding bike hit him. The report added that the bike had no light whatsoever that the pedestrian failed to notice it. That is a neat lesson in using a headlight when riding at night because we may be seeing the pedestrian but they may not see us.
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    But is there more to the story then what was told? Was the ped wearing earbuds and jamming to some music, or texting and walking, and thus not paying attention? I almost hit a guy in broad daylight with my car because he was too busy texting and not paying attention to traffic and just walked off the sidewalk and almost in to me.

    I think if you want to attract the attention of someone then you need to get a bright flasher, and hopefully the flash will wake them up.
     
  3. treecko142

    treecko142 Member

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    Could you link the article please? As mentioned, perhaps there is more to this story, although I do agree that you should at least use some form of light when cycling at night to prevent accidents, but make sure it is not too bright which is also a hazard for cars in the opposite lane.
     
  4. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry I'm the guy your responded to, but almost all headlights on bikes use a standard round, or a few use a square beam shape, those will indeed shine into the eyes of cars unless you aim the light low but that defeats it's range. The first shaped beam, shaped like a car or motorcycle light where it cuts the light off at the top, was designed by Philips called the Saferide, I own this light and it can be but on bright, it has a long beam so you can see quite some distance, but it doesn't blind a motorist. B + M is now making lights like this, and I think there are a couple of others as well. The advantage to a shaped beam is that it focuses the light onto the ground instead of everywhere, this allows the light to appear to a lot brighter than it's rated lumens thus you can have the effect of a (for example based on my Philips) 1200 lumen light but only put out about 400 lumens thus saving precious battery life without losing brightness to do so.

    It's too bad that Philips stopped making that light, I really like it, and its very robust. The only weak spot in the Philips design, which could have been easily redesigned, was that they used 4 AA rechargeable batteries, the 4 AA's only allowed the light to run for about 2 hours on high, not bad, but it could have been a lot better. However despite the bad part about the AA batteries, using AA's means a person could very easily replace the batteries which I have done because the originals didn't last long, about 4 useful years is all I got out of them.
     
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  5. ZekeLee

    ZekeLee New Member

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    There must be a head or back light for bikes particilarly at night. It would be better if cyclist would wear reflectors so drivers around would easily see them. It must always be considered when biking at night in order to avoid such incidents.
     
  6. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    My last post was missing a word "not" in the first sentence, it should have read: "I'm sorry I'm NOT the guy your responded to,..."
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Reflectors and reflective clothing cannot be counted on, not saying not to use them because they can work under idea circumstances. What are those idea circumstances you scream? The headlights of the car must hit the reflective item directly, if they don't they won't work, this is why road workers have gone to a safety vest that now has an LED array in the vest along with the reflective bands.

    Read this: http://www.visualexpert.com/Resources/pedestrian.html

    https://www.bicycling.com/bikes-gea...of-being-seen-a-guide-to-safer-riding/slide/7

    There was a study that indicated that with older people they could not see the reflective material as well as younger drivers, but they did notice reflective material that wasn't moving, but they did notice the up and down motion of reflective material like reflective ankle bands.

    In what I think is a controversal study is this one out of the UK: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/26/cyclists-high-visibility-jackets-increase-odds-crash/ I'm not sure what to make of that, but I will say this, a rider needs to be using all available means to make themselves visible, that includes passive lighting (reflective stuff), but most importantly active lighting which is the key element.

    I once saw a guy that had 9 rear tail lights, 4 head lights and everything reflected, if you missed him and hit him you needed your drivers license suspended for life!! He looked like a moving Christmas tree. Do I think a person needs to get that radical, probably not but it did show me something, the more lights you have the better you're seen. When I ride at night I use a cheap home improvement neon green safety vest with wide reflective bands (the neon doesn't do anything at night but it does show up during the dim daytime hours), I use a high reflective ankle bands, and some other reflective stuff that really is just banding that probably doesn't work all that well like the helmet, shoes, jacket, and my seat bag, I have a front flasher, a headlight on the bars, and a headlight on the helmet, I then have a tail light on the helmet, and one a bright one on the seat post. I had a another 3rd tail light and put it on the seat stay but it broke so I haven't replaced it yet, butI think I'm fine the way I am.

    The other issue I read about lights is that according to a UK study that flashing lights confuse motorists as to how far they are away from a rider so they outlawed flashing rear and front lights. However a study done in Canada showed that flashing lights attracted the attention of motorists...so what do I thought...I use both flashing and constant, on the rear my helmet light flashes while by seat post light is on constant because that one is a 70 lumen light and the brightest one I have currently. When I get another brighter rear light I will make the brighter one the constant one and the other will be a flasher.

    With people now mind numbed by texting while driving you should be using front and rear flashers during the day. Flashing light will attract their attention faster then a steady light during the day.
     
  8. Gnufrau

    Gnufrau Active Member

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    I actually have one of the B&M headlights mentioned above. It is powered by a dynamo in the front hub, and provides plenty of light to be able to ride safely even with no other light sources (think overcast night on a road or trail with no lighting). The way I see it, there are two kinds of lights: those that allow you to see, or those that allow you to *be* seen. The former covers both bases but are more expensive. The law only requires the latter after dark. I have the former on both of my bikes because I tend to get caught out late at night and want to see what is in front of me. I strongly recomend a light of this type, but you have to do what your budget allows...
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    In todays world of cheap and getting cheaper LED lights there really isn't any reason not to have a to see light. Even if you go brand name stuff the Lezyne Lite Drive 700Xl puts out up to 700 lumens which is more then enough to see with and it only costs $60 on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/Lezyne-Drive-700Xl-Front-Cycling/dp/B0735HB7QJ

    There is even a highly rated generic light called Bright Eyes that puts out a claimed 1600 lumens (which I bet is closer to 800 lumens, but still pretty good) that only cost $50 that comes with a tail light but no word on how bright the tail light is so I wouldn't think it's very good but you could use it as a second or third rear light.
    https://www.amazon.com/Bright-Eyes-Rechargeable-Bike-Headlight/dp/B00X90ZYJ0/?tag=reactual-20

    Why pay $30 for a to be seen light when for $20 to $30 more you can get the real deal?
     
  10. Gnufrau

    Gnufrau Active Member

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    Froze, for a "to be seen" light I would not pay more than $10 to $20. The most likely reason there is no word on the brightness of the bright eyes rear light is that very few ask about that, while almost everyone wants to know how bright the one in front is. I admit I √ľaid a considerabe ammount for my lights (on both bikes), but I feel I got my moneys worth. Headlight that lights up the whole road in front of me (without blinding drivers), and a taillight that responds to sudden changes from the dynamo to act like a brake light. All without using any batteries. Granted, my dynamo hubs are $300 each (SON 28s) and require custom front wheels, but I would have that anyway. The headlights go for about $85 each on ebay and the taillights go for a further $60-$80. But I have lights I can see by, all the time. That I can also be seen adds a further feeling of safety, at least for me. Budget limitations might mean getting a $10 "to be seen" headlight instead, particularly if you do not expect to be out after dark enough to justify paying any more than that. I can underatand that for riders where most, if not all, of their riding is on a boardwalk between 10AM and 3PM...
     
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  11. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    So far the dynamo lights have not been as bright as battery lights that cost half the money (custom wheel not included), now B+M does have a new one out but there have been no beam comparisons of it yet so to say how bright it is without a comparison is just guessing. I know for a fact that my Philips Saferide (which is now 5 years old) is significantly brighter then the newer Supernova E3 Pro 2 because I ran into a guy on a bike path with that light, his was on bright and mine was on the lowest of the two settings and mine was still brighter.

    So until I see a beam comparison of the B+M's newest light against battery jobs I won't recommend them, the cost to light output ratio is far too high...I understand if you are doing all night rides the dynamo light may be the only way to go, but even some battery lights will last 6 to 8 hours on low.

    I even do some touring and I haven't had the need to go with a dynamo system, but I only use a flasher on the front with a run time of about 36 hours, and the rear light has about 18 hours on a high flash, so that's more then enough time for me. My front light is powered by AAA's which are easy to find, and the rear is rechargeable but today you can find outlets anywhere to recharge, but I also carry a portable battery that is a charger.

    A word of caution in regards to generic Chinese made lights that are flooding Amazon, whatever lumens rating they claim you can divide that by at least half and you'll be closer to reality, some of the lights with huge claims you can probably divide by 3 and get closer to reality; and their battery run times are also highly exaggerated with run times of no more then half of the rated claims. But they are cheap, and if you see that a particular light has high reviews like the Bright Eyes at least you get a light that is fairly bright for a low cost, but keep in mind reliability may be suspect with any generic light. I have read some forums where people have bought generic lights and had no problems while others have had quite a bit, so it's mixed bag.
     
  12. Henrywrites

    Henrywrites Member

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    I see that as a careless attitude on the part of cyclists and those that drive one thing or the other on the road. Riding at night is never safe till the headlight is active and shinning as bright as ever. This is just a case of the rider not getting much injured but consider the person walking on leg that must have sustained one injury or the other. There is need to ride safely especially when the night is near.
     
  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    In the city where I live I see a lot, and I mean a lot, of cyclists, both kids and adults, riding without lights or even reflectors and dark clothing at night on public streets. I don't get it, especially since lights nowadays are so cheap, and I don't get why parents let their kids ride without any aids; maybe they'll get it after one of their own children gets hit and killed but then it's a day late and a dollar short situation.
     
  14. divche26

    divche26 New Member

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    There are instances that I get irritated with bikers, most of the times they are driving like crazy on the road, as if you are invincible. Whether it's a bicycle or a motorcycle, they will drive fast or just simply cut you or drive so close to you. My principle is this, in a car accident, even after wearing seat belt, having protection from airbag and steel frame of the car, etc.., can still injured a passenger, then, what more it can do to someone when he only have helmet to protect himself and even most of the times being neglected. We should be extra careful when riding a bicycle or a motorcycle because they are more prone to accidents compared to other vehicles.
     
  15. Lostfreight

    Lostfreight New Member

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    We should not even be debating whether lights are needed. The more the better. I live in Toronto, fourth largest city in North America, and it's extreme sports sometimes just commuting to work downtown. btw, I have a dynamo on the front wheel of my Batavus, classically designed commuter bike, with one of those (German-made) $85 headlamps. Worth every penny, in terms of safety and just peace of mind knowing it's always there when I need it. Yes, it can be too bright for oncomers so I have it angled down somewhat. If I'm on a trail at night, I'll angle it up a bit for more distant illumination, but really it's perfect for my needs.
     
  16. alexisdewford

    alexisdewford New Member

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    I really think that lights, may it be head lights or tail lights, should be present in night driving, even for bicycles. For I, as an example, really feels unsafe when I ride my bike at night without lights. It is like blind-driving. Well, maybe some lights are expensive, but safety has no costs. You may face certain dangers if you don't have proper lighting paraphernalia. Plus, you pose risks to all pedestrians in the road, so as to the drivers.
     
  17. alexisdewford

    alexisdewford New Member

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    I rarely drive my bike in a busy road. I usually drive inside our campus. But still, having a lot of pedestrians here and there, is mind boggling. How much more if you can't see them. The chances are, you might hit one or two. We should also take note of the potholes and impediments in the road. In my case, since it is a school zone, bumps and pedestrian lanes are there. Not all parts of the roads are lit. Some is pitch black at night.
     
  18. snipertrolls

    snipertrolls New Member

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    Headlights should be the most important parts of any car or bicycle especially when you always travel at night. Mostly,accident do happen because bicycle has no tail-light or headlight, or it is blind.
     
  19. reighn

    reighn Member

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    I think the bike driver was really fast and he did not have time to avoid the pedestrian. It's very easy to handle the bike even without the light in that situation. Although having a headlight is really important at night biking. But in that situation. I think they were just looking for something to blame, and yeah, that's the headlight.
     
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