I'm back! Lighting questions!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Eric Babula, Apr 8, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Eric Babula

    Eric Babula Guest

    Hi, all!

    I'm back, after being a lazy bastard 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
     
    Tags:


  2. Tim Cain

    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.
     
  3. Kevin

    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 bastard 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)
     
  4. Bill

    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 bastard 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
     
  5. Slider2699

    Slider2699 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.

    What's the burn time on these HID lights?
     
  6. Jon Isaacs

    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
     
  7. Jay

    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)
     
  8. Robin Hubert

    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
     
  9. Robin Hubert

    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
     
  10. Tom Keats

    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
     
  11. 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]
     
  12. Slider2699

    Slider2699 Guest

    "Jon Isaacs" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > >What's the burn time on these HID lights?
    >
    > I think around 4 hours and about $400.
    >
    > Jon Isaacs

    Well, the 4 hours isn't a problem, but the $400 is.... :)
     
  13. Mike Kruger

    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.
     
  14. Bernie

    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
     
  15. H. M. Leary

    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
     
  16. Fritz M

    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
     
  17. Fritz M

    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
     
  18. Eric

    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 bastard 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!!!
     
  19. Jay

    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.
     
  20. Mike Z

    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
     
Loading...
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
Loading...