I'm back! Lighting questions!



Status
Not open for further replies.
E

Eric Babula

Guest
Hi, all!

I'm back, after being a lazy ******* and not riding all winter! To all you winter riders - I
apologize!

Anyway, I have some questions about lighting:

I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's a
bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
judge their distance and speed, even with the lighting I have! We talked for a couple minutes, and I
thanked her, and we parted.

Now, I thought I was pretty well lit up! I have a VistaLite NightStick 15 (one 5-watt, one 10-watt)
on the front of my bike. On the back of the rear rack, I have a Vistalite Super Nebula 5. On the
back of my helmet, I have another 3-bulb red blinkie. And, I have all the normal reflectors (front,
rear, wheels). I thought that would be more than sufficient, given what I've seen others have, or
not have! Now, I'm concerned that people in cars can't really see me that well.

I have noticed one commuter who I can see from about 1/2 mile away! He's lit up like a Christmas
tree!! He has his normal headlight, plus at least two (maybe four!) white/yellow blinkies on front,
and at least 3 blinkies on the rear. I can see this guy at quite a distance - it's great! I think I
wanna have my bike more lit like his.

So, anyway, what do you commuters all think? Is my lighting setup ok? Insufficient? Maybe those are
rhetorical questions, as I'm mostly convinced that I don't have enough light. I was thinking of
getting something like the Nashbar Photon Blinkie Light for the rear of my bike. Maybe two more on
the rear of my bike (attached to the panniers???).

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1068
&brand=&sku=2149&storetype=&estoreid=

And, maybe a couple lights similar to the Nashbar Mini Light on the front.

http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1067
&brand=&sku=7634&storetype=&estoreid=

Of course, I'll go to my LBS and buy them there, rather than Nashbar. I found that one of my LBSs
has similar lights to these (but, PlanetBike or Cateye, I think), for pretty much the same prices.

So, how can I attach the Photon blinkies to my panniers? And, how do I affix the Mini Lights to the
front of my bike (I was thinking lower than the headlights - just above the fender, about 12"-18"
apart, maybe)? Any suggestions on how to rig this up?

TIA!!!

--
Smile!!

__O _-\ <,_ Eric Babula (_) / (_) Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
 
T

Tim Cain

Guest
"Eric Babula" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi, all!
>
> I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
> her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's
> a bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
> judge their distance and speed, even with the lighting I have! We talked for a couple minutes, and
> I thanked her, and we parted.
>
> Now, I thought I was pretty well lit up! I have a VistaLite NightStick 15 (one 5-watt, one
> 10-watt) on the front of my bike. On the back of the rear rack, I have a Vistalite Super Nebula 5.
> On the back of my helmet, I have another 3-bulb red blinkie. And, I have all the normal reflectors
> (front, rear, wheels). I thought that would be more than sufficient, given what I've seen others
> have, or not have! Now, I'm concerned that people in cars can't really see me that well.
>
>

Was her guide dog steering the car?

Tim.
 
K

Kevin

Guest
Eric, you are doing above average with what you have.

The short answer is a Niterider Blowtorch. Light & Motion make one and so does Cateye. You won't
like the price. I have others lights but nothing quite as bright. Actually I have lots of others. I
am partial to the NightSun I run off a regulated power supply and battery. It is bright and heavy.
And the battery is big. But the Blowtorch is small, simple, long burn time and BRIGHT.

I also have a yellow reflective vest, and reflective jacket, reflective strips in my night helmet,
ankle reflectors, panner and brief case with reflective strip, and so forth.

Kevin Otis, OR USA (home of the Otis Cafe and a flashing yellow traffic warning light)

"Eric Babula" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi, all!
>
> I'm back, after being a lazy ******* and not riding all winter! To all you winter riders - I
> apologize!
>
> Anyway, I have some questions about lighting:
>
> I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
> her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's
> a bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
> judge . . . . . (snip)
 
B

Bill

Guest
I have used an assortment of lights but I believe the most effective tool is a reflective vest. When
I wear it cars move to the other side of the road well before overtaking me. I am clearly more
vixible or more imposing with the vest and lights than with lights alone. It was purchased at a
running store, mesh with large yellow reflective stripes. I also use white reflective bands at my
ankles. Bill Brannon

"Eric Babula" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> Hi, all!
>
> I'm back, after being a lazy ******* and not riding all winter! To all you winter riders - I
> apologize!
>
> Anyway, I have some questions about lighting:
>
> I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
> her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's
> a bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
> judge their distance and speed, even with the lighting I have! We talked for a couple minutes, and
> I thanked her, and we parted.
>
> Now, I thought I was pretty well lit up! I have a VistaLite NightStick 15 (one 5-watt, one
> 10-watt) on the front of my bike. On the back of the rear rack, I have a Vistalite Super Nebula 5.
> On the back of my helmet, I have another 3-bulb red blinkie. And, I have all the normal reflectors
> (front, rear, wheels). I thought that would be more than sufficient, given what I've seen others
> have, or not have! Now, I'm concerned that people in cars can't really see me that well.
>
> I have noticed one commuter who I can see from about 1/2 mile away! He's lit up like a Christmas
> tree!! He has his normal headlight, plus at least two (maybe four!) white/yellow blinkies on
> front, and at least 3 blinkies on the rear. I can see this guy at quite a distance - it's great! I
> think I wanna have my bike more lit like his.
>
> So, anyway, what do you commuters all think? Is my lighting setup ok? Insufficient? Maybe those
> are rhetorical questions, as I'm mostly convinced that I don't have enough light. I was thinking
> of getting something like the Nashbar Photon Blinkie Light for the rear of my bike. Maybe two more
> on the rear of my bike (attached to the panniers???).
>
> http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1068
> &brand=&sku=2149&storetype=&estoreid=
>
> And, maybe a couple lights similar to the Nashbar Mini Light on the front.
>
> http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1067
> &brand=&sku=7634&storetype=&estoreid=
>
> Of course, I'll go to my LBS and buy them there, rather than Nashbar. I found that one of my LBSs
> has similar lights to these (but, PlanetBike or Cateye, I think), for pretty much the same prices.
>
> So, how can I attach the Photon blinkies to my panniers? And, how do I affix the Mini Lights to
> the front of my bike (I was thinking lower than the headlights - just above the fender, about
> 12"-18" apart, maybe)? Any suggestions on how to rig this up?
>
> TIA!!!
>
> --
> Smile!!
>
> __O _-\ <,_ Eric Babula (_) / (_) Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
 
J

Jon Isaacs

Guest
>She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's a
>bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
>judge their distance and speed, even with the lighting I have! We talked for a couple minutes, and
>I thanked her, and we parted.

I haven't seen you so I can't really say but it seems to me that you have plenty of lighting both
front and rear.

I suggest seeing for yourself how visable you are. When it is dark, either get someon else to ride
you bike and you look at it or you set up your bike and just look at it from a variety of distances
and angles.

Then decide what to do.

jon isaacs
 
J

Jay

Guest
>>"Eric Babula" <[email protected]> wrote So, anyway, what do you commuters all think? Is my
>>lighting setup ok? Insufficient? Maybe those are rhetorical questions, as I'm mostly convinced
>>that I don't have enough light.<snip> So, how can I attach the Photon blinkies to my panniers?
>>And, how do I affix the Mini Lights to the front of my bike (I was thinking lower than the
>>headlights - just above the fender, about 12"-18" apart, maybe)? Any suggestions on how to rig
>>this up?

There may be laws in your area about what is required or not allowed. For example: In Ontario It is
a white front headlight and red rear reflector (1/2 before sunset and after sunrise) Blinking lights
are illegal here (but based on research- I use them)

Lights serve different needs:
- to be seen
- to see with

Consider having lights at all heights and angles. Most car/bike accidents happen at the front of the
bike- light accordingly. Maybe get a friend to set-up and for you to observe how well it works.

I am a year round transportational cyclist. Lit like a UFO- Look like a Christmas tree... but
definitely seen.

Many options are available to be seen. I use a variety of different lights at different times.

REFLECTIVE STRIPS Extra reflective strips sewn on panniers and bike bag (up to 10yds) Reflective
straps (two to each lower leg and arms) Extra reflective straps (elasticised) to add to bags for
extreme situations Stick on strips on all fenders

BLINKIES RED for back - sets of 4-8 LED blinkies with different patterns and efficacy WHITE for
front - sets of 4-8 LED blinkies with different patterns and efficacy

GENERAL LIGHTS Generator lights for front and back with capacitors. White 10W headlamp White 2x 10W
handlebar lamp

I attach lights to fenders (black tape, cut like an H) to back of helmet (black tape, cut like
an H). I also sew extra webbing straps to all bike bags to facilitate tying on loads and
attaching lights.

FUN LIGHTS (Parades, etc) Tireflys (valve lights) Hokey Spokes (LED Light patterns) tiny LED (on
flag poles, etc)
 
R

Robin Hubert

Guest
"Kevin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> Eric, you are doing above average with what you have.
>
> The short answer is a Niterider Blowtorch. Light & Motion make one and so does Cateye. You won't
> like the price. I have others lights but nothing quite as bright. Actually I have lots of others.
> I am partial to the NightSun I run off a regulated power supply and battery. It is bright and
> heavy. And the battery is big. But the Blowtorch is small, simple, long burn time and BRIGHT.

Overkill, I think, but too much is better than too little. I think 30W available is plenty. For the
most part12W looks pretty good in even city lights.

>
> I also have a yellow reflective vest, and reflective jacket, reflective strips in my night helmet,
> ankle reflectors, panner and brief case with reflective strip, and so forth.

The reflective stuff is highly under-rated. $10 worth of this stuff will do more for you than $300
worth of lights. I'm not saying to forego the headlight and tail light though.

Robin Hubert
 
R

Robin Hubert

Guest
"Slider2699" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> "Kevin" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
> > Eric, you are doing above average with what you have.
> >
> > The short answer is a Niterider Blowtorch.
>
> What's the burn time on these HID lights?
>

4 Hours but I'm waiting for them to come out with either a dual system or multi-wattage HID bulb
that'll allow running of a 12W halogen equivalent (in terms of candlepower). That ought to result in
12 hours or so of burn time on "low beam".

Robin (still sold on halogens for their cost-effectiveness) Hubert
 
T

Tom Keats

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
Eric Babula <[email protected]> writes:

> I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
> her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's
> a bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
> judge their distance and speed
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Maybe /that's/ the operative phrase here.

Were your blinkies in flash or in steady mode? I've heard some complaints that flashing blinkies
make it harder for drivers to judge distance and speed.

cheers, Tom

--
-- Powered by FreeBSD Above address is just a spam midden. I'm really at: tkeats [curlicue] vcn
[point] bc [point] ca
 
F

Frank Krygowski

Guest
Eric Babula wrote:
>
> So, anyway, what do you commuters all think? Is my lighting setup ok?

You sound fine to me. I've been spontaneously complimented on my visibility, and I've got much less
wattage than you do.

As Jon says, get a friend to ride your bike while you drive by. Check from different angles and in
different lighting conditions. I've done this many times, with many different friends. A legally lit
bike is quite visible, according to all our observations.

--
Frank Krygowski [email protected]
 
M

Mike Kruger

Guest
"Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have used an assortment of lights but I believe the most effective tool
is
> a reflective vest. When I wear it cars move to the other side of the road well before overtaking
> me. I am clearly more vixible or more imposing
with
> the vest and lights than with lights alone. It was purchased at a running store, mesh with large
> yellow reflective stripes.

A natural experiment (my wife drove up behind me) led to a determination by a recognized expert
(said wife) that by far the most visible thing is my Nathan reflective vest.

The competition included two 3-inch amber reflectors, a yellow helmet, two rear-facing red
blinking lights (one on the helmet, one on the bike), a red reflector, a red jacket, and various
reflective tape.
 
B

Bernie

Guest
Jon Isaacs wrote:

> >What's the burn time on these HID lights?
>
> I think around 4 hours and about $400.
>
> Jon Isaacs

$400 USD sounds like a burn. Bernie
 
H

H. M. Leary

Guest
In article <[email protected]>, [email protected] (Jon Isaacs) wrote:

> >What's the burn time on these HID lights?
>
> I think around 4 hours and about $400.
>
> Jon Isaacs

After removing the $400 from your wallet, gives whole new meaning to the wor ³light²...:)

One thing you can do on a bent:

carry your laptop and cell phone AND post to rec.bicycles*

Try that on a DF..:)

--
³Freedom Is a Light for Which Many Have Died in Darkness³

- Tomb of the unknown - American Revolution
 
F

Fritz M

Guest
"H. M. Leary" <[email protected]> wrote:

> One thing you can do on a bent:
>
> carry your laptop and cell phone AND post to rec.bicycles*

! Gives new meaning to the phrase "Hang up and drive."

RFM
 
F

Fritz M

Guest
Jay <[email protected]> wrote:

> Consider having lights at all heights and angles. Most car/bike accidents happen at the front of
> the bike- light accordingly.

The one time I was hit at night, the driver came out of a side street blowing right through the stop
sign. I had a headlight and tail light but no side lighting other than reflectors and reflective
material. The driver never saw me and didn't even realize she hit me until her kids in the back seat
mentioned something to her.

After that accident I bought automotive side marker lights, put 6 V. bulbs in them, mounted them to
my seat stays and connected them to my generator.

I don't currently have a vest, but I saw a cyclist recently at night with a reflective vest and he
really really really stood out. I watch out for cyclists anyway, but I was impressed at how much the
vest adds to visibility; I definitely plan on getting one when the days start getting shorter again.

RFM
 
E

Eric

Guest
I'm giving up on normal rear blinky lights, and going for the big guns:

http://www.allelectronics.com/pdf/strobes.pdf (The strobe-3R in the upper left corner).

Picked one of these up at a hamfest the other week. Runs forever on 8 (NiMH) AA cells, about an hour
on a regular 9v cell. Very bright, and, more importantly, non-directional. I got mine for $5.00.
Available at electronic shops all over the web. The downside: Color is not quite as red as LED
light, and the large number of batteries adds weight.

Eric

Eric Babula <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
> Hi, all!
>
> I'm back, after being a lazy ******* and not riding all winter! To all you winter riders - I
> apologize!
>
> Anyway, I have some questions about lighting:
>
> I was riding along in the dark (commuting to work), and someone passed me, going the other way in
> her car. She made a point to turn around, and catch up to me, and stop me. She told me that she's
> a bicyclist, too, and that she was surprised at how difficult it is to see a bicycle at night and
> judge their distance and speed, even with the lighting I have! We talked for a couple minutes, and
> I thanked her, and we parted.
>
> Now, I thought I was pretty well lit up! I have a VistaLite NightStick 15 (one 5-watt, one
> 10-watt) on the front of my bike. On the back of the rear rack, I have a Vistalite Super Nebula 5.
> On the back of my helmet, I have another 3-bulb red blinkie. And, I have all the normal reflectors
> (front, rear, wheels). I thought that would be more than sufficient, given what I've seen others
> have, or not have! Now, I'm concerned that people in cars can't really see me that well.
>
> I have noticed one commuter who I can see from about 1/2 mile away! He's lit up like a Christmas
> tree!! He has his normal headlight, plus at least two (maybe four!) white/yellow blinkies on
> front, and at least 3 blinkies on the rear. I can see this guy at quite a distance - it's great! I
> think I wanna have my bike more lit like his.
>
> So, anyway, what do you commuters all think? Is my lighting setup ok? Insufficient? Maybe those
> are rhetorical questions, as I'm mostly convinced that I don't have enough light. I was thinking
> of getting something like the Nashbar Photon Blinkie Light for the rear of my bike. Maybe two more
> on the rear of my bike (attached to the panniers???).
>
> http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1068
> &brand=&sku=2149&storetype=&estoreid=
>
> And, maybe a couple lights similar to the Nashbar Mini Light on the front.
>
> http://www.nashbar.com/profile.cfm?category=101&subcategory=1067
> &brand=&sku=7634&storetype=&estoreid=
>
> Of course, I'll go to my LBS and buy them there, rather than Nashbar. I found that one of my LBSs
> has similar lights to these (but, PlanetBike or Cateye, I think), for pretty much the same prices.
>
> So, how can I attach the Photon blinkies to my panniers? And, how do I affix the Mini Lights to
> the front of my bike (I was thinking lower than the headlights - just above the fender, about
> 12"-18" apart, maybe)? Any suggestions on how to rig this up?
>
> TIA!!!
 
J

Jay

Guest
>> Jay <[email protected]> wrote: <snip> Consider having lights at all heights and angles. Most
>> car/bike accidents happen at the front of the bike- light accordingly.

>Fritz M at [email protected] wrote: The one time I was hit at night, the driver came out of a
>side street blowing right through the stop sign. I had a headlight and tail light but no side
>lighting other than reflectors and reflective material. The driver never saw me and didn't even
>realize she hit me until her kids in the back seat mentioned something to her. After that accident
>I bought automotive side marker lights, put 6 V. bulbs in them, mounted them to my seat stays and
>connected them to my generator. I don't currently have a vest, but I saw a cyclist recently at
>night with a reflective vest and he really really really stood out. I watch out for cyclists
>anyway, but I was impressed at how much the vest adds to visibility; I definitely plan on getting
>one when the days start getting shorter again.

For side lighting, consider things like reflective tape on the frame and panniers, tire lighting
(tireflys, etc), reflective tires, straps on panniers for side LED's and reflective straps for
ankles, arms. None weigh very much.
 
M

Mike Z

Guest
"Bill" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> I have used an assortment of lights but I believe the most effective tool
is
> a reflective vest. When I wear it cars move to the other side of the road well before overtaking
> me. I am clearly more vixible or more imposing
with
> the vest and lights than with lights alone. It was purchased at a running store, mesh with large
> yellow reflective stripes. I also use white reflective bands at my ankles. Bill Brannon

I am considering this vest: http://www.led.net/safetyled/ds/vestled_vst1004/139.htm It appears to be
lightweight and incorporates blinking lights. I wonder if a combination of blinking lights and
constant lights would help in the distance judging. Don't know about visibility, but I like the look
of the "chase" Mode of my new LED - Vistalite Total Eclipse.

Mike Z
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads