HID Recommendations for Commuting?

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by David Murata, Oct 10, 2003.

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  1. David Murata

    David Murata Guest

    Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?

    My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South SF
    Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride in
    the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist who made a right turn in
    front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a result, maximizing my visibility at
    night is my number one priority right now.

    I'm currently trying to decide between the Cateye Stadium 3, Nightsun SpARC XC, Light & Motion ARC
    or NiteRider Flamethrower handlebar lights. My concerns are reliability, the effectiveness of the
    smart battery charger, and the longevity of the battery itself. Cost is a secondary issue. I do
    realize that I will have to replace the bulb with frequent use but I don't want to have to replace
    the battery every season or the other parts such as the ballast for the lifetime of the light. Does
    anyone have any long term experiences or recommendations?

    Thanks in advance. Dave
     
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  2. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "David Murata" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?

    Probably unnecessary, but...

    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist who made a right
    > turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a result, maximizing my
    > visibility at night is my number one priority right now.

    It seems to me you're probably doing enough to stay visible. The thing is, what else is that driver
    going to say? It's likely he *did* see you, but cut too close anyway. I've had this happen.

    That said, a HID lamp really makes your presence known. From behind, your figure will be clearly
    sihouetted against a lighted area brighter than a car headlight's.

    > I'm currently trying to decide between the Cateye Stadium 3, Nightsun SpARC XC, Light & Motion ARC
    > or NiteRider Flamethrower handlebar lights. My concerns are reliability, the effectiveness of the
    > smart battery charger, and the longevity of the battery itself. Cost is a secondary issue. I do
    > realize that I will have to replace the bulb with frequent use but I don't want to have to replace
    > the battery every season or the other parts such as the ballast for the lifetime of the light.
    > Does anyone have any long term experiences or recommendations?

    I'm pretty sure the Nightsun comes with a true, "smart" charger. I'm not so sure about the others.
    However, of those companies, Nightrider probably offers the best customer service.

    You might ask your question on the Bikecurrent mailing list, where all the real lighting experts
    hang out. They'll tell you more than you ever wanted to know.
    :) You could probably buy any of those systems and be perfectly satisfied, but
    it's a big purchase, so why not get some expert advice?

    Matt O.
     
  3. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    I use Cateye Stadium. It helps seeing and being seen.
    However, the battery on this unit wears out after about 400 charge/discharge cycles. I would expect the same on the other units, as this is what current battery technology gives us.
    Bulbs burn out and are subject to shock.
    I use 3 lights on the front, including a wide angle blinking unit.
    Reflective clothing, vest, helmet tape, ankle bands, helmet lghting fore and aft, wheel reflectors, reflective tire sidewalls, etc. all help. However, many drivers "don't see" bicycle riders, for a variety of reasons.
     
  4. Garyg

    Garyg Guest

    "David Murata" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?
    >
    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was
    still
    > clipped by a motorist who made a right turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't
    see
    > me and as a result, maximizing my visibility at night is my number one priority right now.
    >
    > I'm currently trying to decide between the Cateye Stadium 3, Nightsun
    SpARC
    > XC, Light & Motion ARC or NiteRider Flamethrower handlebar lights. My
    concerns
    > are reliability, the effectiveness of the smart battery charger, and the longevity of the battery
    > itself. Cost is a secondary issue. I do realize that I will have to
    replace
    > the bulb with frequent use but I don't want to have to replace the battery every season
    or
    > the other parts such as the ballast for the lifetime of the light. Does anyone have any long term
    > experiences or recommendations?
    >
    > Thanks in advance. Dave
    >

    You might also need additional rear lighting, to compensate for the effect of city lights and
    oncoming car headlights. An additional rear flasher could help (get one of the super-bright
    xenon models).

    You might also think about getting an "emergency strobe" (check with outdoor or scuba stores). When
    I used to commute by bike, I mounted one of these on the back of the bike (in addition to the
    standard blinkie). It emitted an extremely bright white flash about once every second or two, and
    the effect was pretty dramatic - it was like lightning going off behind my bike. The manufacturer
    claimed it could be seen from over 2 miles away, and I believe
    it. Several times cars pulled up alongside me and commented how I was "lit up like a Christmas
    tree"...just what I wanted to hear.

    --
    ~_-* ...G/ \G http://www.CycliStats.com CycliStats - Software for Cyclists
     
  5. Garyg

    Garyg Guest

    "David Murata" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?
    >
    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was
    still
    > clipped by a motorist who made a right turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't
    see
    > me and as a result, maximizing my visibility at night is my number one priority right now.
    >
    > I'm currently trying to decide between the Cateye Stadium 3, Nightsun
    SpARC
    > XC, Light & Motion ARC or NiteRider Flamethrower handlebar lights. My
    concerns
    > are reliability, the effectiveness of the smart battery charger, and the longevity of the battery
    > itself. Cost is a secondary issue. I do realize that I will have to
    replace
    > the bulb with frequent use but I don't want to have to replace the battery every season
    or
    > the other parts such as the ballast for the lifetime of the light. Does anyone have any long term
    > experiences or recommendations?
    >
    > Thanks in advance. Dave
    >
    >

    This page (http://www.lifesaving.com/shopsite_sc/store/html/page29.html) shows the emergency
    strobe I used to use when commuting. They claim it can be seen from 3 miles away. Unlike some
    other units, it uses a D cell battery, so it will run quite a while on one battery. It is a
    seriously bright light.

    --
    ~_-* ...G/ \G http://www.CycliStats.com CycliStats - Software for Cyclists
     
  6. Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > You might ask your question on the Bikecurrent mailing list, where all the real lighting experts
    > hang out. They'll tell you more than

    Where can this mailing list be found?
    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  7. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

  8. In article <[email protected]>, David Murata <[email protected]> wrote:
    > I was still clipped by a motorist
    > who made a right turn in front of
    > me. The driver claims that she
    > didn't see me

    She may have assumed that you were moving much more slowly than you actually were, and therefore
    assumed that she had passed you when she had not completely passed you. In suburban areas, motorists
    may be conditioned by the child bicyclist population to expect bicyclists to be very slow moving,
    contributing to motorist errors based on misjudging a bicyclist's speed.

    But also be careful about your own lane positioning. If the right lane is a right turn only lane and
    you are not turning right, you want to be to the left of the right turn only lane as you approach
    the intersection.

    --
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Timothy J. Lee Unsolicited bulk or commercial email is not welcome. No warranty of any kind is
    provided with this message.
     
  9. Matt O'Toole wrote:
    > "Per Elmsäter" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    >
    >> Matt O'Toole wrote:
    >
    >>> You might ask your question on the Bikecurrent mailing list, where all the real lighting experts
    >>> hang out. They'll tell you more than
    >>
    >> Where can this mailing list be found?
    >
    > Try http://www.topica.com/lists/bikecurrent/
    >
    > Matt O.

    Thanks. I have joined already ;)
    --
    Perre

    You have to be smarter than a robot to reply.
     
  10. I commute by bicycle 14, 26 or 38 miles round trip, depending on laziness. I used a Light & Motion
    ARC all last winter, and I love it! Recharges fast, can be left on the charger, as bright as I could
    want and easy to mount and unmount. Never ran out of batteries either. I got the helmet adapter so I
    could use it for off-road night rides, but haven't used it yet.

    I've recommended it to my friends who commute in the dark. It's an awesome light. Also, the people
    at the company are friendly and helpful.

    I have had niterider lights in the past and was not impressed with them. I had several lamp
    assemblies come apart internally. I've also used TamTorch, (remember them?) HeadLight (ditto) and
    some of the Cateyes. Light & Motion is the best so far.

    Morgan Fletcher Oakland, CA
     
  11. B.C. Cletta

    B.C. Cletta Guest

    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?
    >
    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist who made a right
    > turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a result, maximizing my
    > visibility at night is my number one priority right now.

    i use a NR Storm (helmet mount) mostly to discourage such buttheads but even tho i've illuminated
    the interior of the car, every now & then they'll still cut me off. it's truly amazing how far up
    the ass they can stuff their head. it's also good for "forcing" a car to give you a wide berth
    -just look down & left at the road. i've heard good things about the Light & Motion.
     
  12. Matt O'Toole

    Matt O'Toole Guest

    "Timothy J. Lee" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...

    > In article <[email protected]>, David Murata <[email protected]> wrote:
    > > I was still clipped by a
    > > motorist who made a right turn
    > > in front of me. The driver
    > > claims that she didn't see me
    >
    > She may have assumed that you were moving much more slowly than you actually were, and therefore
    > assumed that she had passed you when she had not completely passed you. In suburban areas,
    > motorists may be conditioned by the child bicyclist population to expect bicyclists to be very
    > slow moving, contributing to motorist errors based on misjudging a bicyclist's speed.

    This is true. IME, this is one of the leading hazards for cyclists. Over the years, it's probably
    the #1 thing I've had to learn, to watch for and make adjustments for.

    Children are not the only ones who ride slowly. *Most* adults ride slowly too. Most people here are
    enthusiasts, and relatively fast riders. We don't recognize/remember those others because they're
    not our immediate peers.

    Matt O.
     
  13. On Fri, 10 Oct 2003 09:40:10 +0000, David Murata wrote:

    > tail light and ride in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist
    > who made a right turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a

    You do know that this happens in bright daylight as well, right? They will still claim they did not
    see you, even if you are lit up like a Christmas tree.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | It is a scientifically proven fact that a mid life crisis can _`\(,_ | only be cured by
    something racy and Italian. Bianchis and (_)/ (_) | Colnagos are a lot cheaper than Maserattis
    and Ferraris. -- Glenn Davies
     
  14. Steve Knight

    Steve Knight Guest

  15. In article <[email protected]>,
    "David Murata" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?
    >
    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist who made a right
    > turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a result, maximizing my
    > visibility at night is my number one priority right now.
    >
    > I'm currently trying to decide between the Cateye Stadium 3, Nightsun SpARC XC, Light & Motion ARC
    > or NiteRider Flamethrower handlebar lights. My concerns are reliability, the effectiveness of the
    > smart battery charger, and the longevity of the battery itself. Cost is a secondary issue. I do
    > realize that I will have to replace the bulb with frequent use but I don't want to have to replace
    > the battery every season or the other parts such as the ballast for the lifetime of the light.
    > Does anyone have any long term experiences or recommendations?
    >
    > Thanks in advance. Dave

    The problem with bike lights is that they're too small. They're just a dimensionless point of light
    that can be mistaken for a distant reflector or house lamp. The distance can't be judged easily.
    I've been caught off guard by others with bike lights even while I was also on a bike.

    I think the best thing you can do is create a large illuminated surface. Use multiple lights and put
    a fat strip of reflective tape on the front of the bike that will catch the headlights of cars. Give
    your night illumination some dimensions that will catch a brain's attention as an obstacle.

    I'm using a home made lamp that's a carbon fiber parabolic mirror with two 2.5W 228mm CCFL lamps.
    It's only good for about 15 MPH worth of visibility to me but others can see it half a mile away.
    The reflective opening is 2.25 x 10.25 inches of purplish light that's easy for for others to
    recognize as a nearby object. It and the tail light total 550mA @ 12V, which is being supplied by
    NiMH packs. A crummy photo of it is here:

    http://www.pixelmemory.us/Photos/Nerd/Alien%20Bike%20Light%203.0.JPG
     
  16. "David Murata" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > Does anybody have any recommendations for any of the HID lights for commuting?
    >
    > My return trip home is 10mi and usually starts between 8-9pm at night through several busy South
    > SF Bay area intersections. Although I wear reflective clothing, use a head and tail light and ride
    > in the bike lanes for 9 out of the 10 miles, I was still clipped by a motorist who made a right
    > turn in front of me. The driver claims that she didn't see me and as a result, maximizing my
    > visibility at night is my number one priority right now.
    >
    <cut>

    Dave

    I have what I think is the ultimate "be seen" setup.

    Two 12V xenon strobe flashers (white front, red rear), driven by a pack of 10 NiMh batteries.
    Batteries last ages (I don't run them flat so can't give a precise figure, but certainly > 8 hours
    with no reduction in flash rate). Imagine a camera flash, but continuous flashes and you are on the
    right track.

    The xenon strobes I use are well packaged in sealed plastic units, easily mounted, and have
    excellent side visibility too, ideal for right turns and roundabouts.

    I also whated a setup that would work in fog and, crucially, be seen by drivers just setting off in
    the morning with iced up and misted windscreens (is this just a UK problem or does it happen
    everywhere?).

    I know they get me seen from the behaviour/reaction of drivers. My work colleagues point out that
    they are almost certainly not street legal in the UK, but I put visibility above legality here.

    Cost 2x flashers £9.99 each 12 1800Ah NiMh batteries (£12.99) and 65p for battery holder. All from
    maplin.co.uk, I already had a smart charger.

    Andrew Webster
     
  17. Yannik

    Yannik Guest

    On Fri, 10 Oct 2003 22:23:15 -0700, Kevin McMurtrie <[email protected]> wrote:

    >The problem with bike lights is that they're too small. They're just a dimensionless point of light
    >that can be mistaken for a distant reflector or house lamp. The distance can't be judged easily.

    I have the same opinion and expirience, your eyes can not focus on a bright point.

    >I think the best thing you can do is create a large illuminated surface.

    Yep. your body, dressed up in bright clothes should do in lit up areas. In unlit areas you could lit
    up your body with a lamp shining towards you. Mind not to dazzle yourself. (shild off the light that
    is directed to your head) In Belgium lots of motorcycledrivers use this technique to be recognised
    as motorcycledriver, and not as a point of light amongst all the other points of light. I think it
    is not that important to be seen from far away. Fast recognition as a fast moving person and fast
    judging of the distance, direction and speed is far more important in my opinion. The huge lit up
    spot on the ground when HID are used have a simular effect!

    Yannik
     
  18. GaryG <[email protected]_SPAMBEGONE_software.com> wrote:
    >You might also think about getting an "emergency strobe" (check with outdoor or scuba stores). When
    >I used to commute by bike, I mounted one of these on the back of the bike (in addition to the
    >standard blinkie). It emitted an extremely bright white flash about once every second or two, and
    >the effect was pretty dramatic - it was like lightning going off behind my bike.

    What an excellent idea, to make blinding flashes in the face of motorists who may be about to
    overtake. Perhaps you should add an oil slick dispenser as well to help them lose control and
    pile into you.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
  19. Garyg

    Garyg Guest

    "David Damerell" <[email protected]reenend.org.uk> wrote in message
    news:8AA*[email protected]...
    > GaryG <[email protected]_SPAMBEGONE_software.com> wrote:
    > >You might also think about getting an "emergency strobe" (check with
    outdoor
    > >or scuba stores). When I used to commute by bike, I mounted one of these
    on
    > >the back of the bike (in addition to the standard blinkie). It emitted
    an
    > >extremely bright white flash about once every second or two, and the
    effect
    > >was pretty dramatic - it was like lightning going off behind my bike.
    >
    > What an excellent idea, to make blinding flashes in the face of motorists who may be about to
    > overtake. Perhaps you should add an oil slick dispenser as well to help them lose control and pile
    > into you.
    > --
    > David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!

    Well, it wasn't THAT bright...it's only powered by a single D-cell. And, I aimed it mostly at the
    ground. In 3 years of regular usage, I never once had a car or a cop complain about it. I did,
    however, have quite a few occasions where cars pulled alongside me to comment, "Wow...you're lit up
    like a Christmas tree, dude!".

    --
    ~_-* ...G/ \G http://www.CycliStats.com CycliStats - Software for Cyclists
     
  20. GaryG <[email protected]_SPAMBEGONE_software.com> wrote:
    >"David Damerell" <[email protected]end.org.uk> wrote in message
    [Vile quoting tidied up]
    >>>It emitted an extremely bright white flash about once every second or two, and the effect was
    >>>pretty dramatic - it was like lightning going off behind my bike.
    >>What an excellent idea, to make blinding flashes in the face of motorists who may be about to
    >>overtake.
    >Well, it wasn't THAT bright...

    That's odd. A few days ago it was extremely bright, like lightning.
    --
    David Damerell <[email protected]> Kill the tomato!
     
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