Night Cycling

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by bioguy, Oct 2, 2003.

  1. beckirk

    beckirk New Member

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    I ride in the dark on my way to work year round (3:30am is when I have to be there) and use a HID. Extremely expensive but when your life could be on the line it is VERY worth it. I also wear a Illuminite jacket that is totally reflective. Check out Nashbar or Colorado Cyclist for them. I also have lots of reflectors and a nice bright rear blinkie. I don't know the statistics, but I would think you stand out more in the dark with all of the above than you do in daylight.
     


  2. franklen

    franklen New Member

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    I give a big recognition to the winter solstice which just took place this past weekend, especially for those of us with fairly regular daytime work schedules. Salute to the sun. Now in only a little more than a months time, it will be daylight again when I leave work at 5 pm for my ride home. Being so, I only really had to put up with quite dark conditions on the way home for about 2 1/2 months of this year. Take the time to celebrate the return of the sun, by eating dinner by candlelight, or taking time to watch the sunrise on a crisp winter morning. Or burn a yule log at your holiday gatherings. Peace.
     
  3. ksturch

    ksturch New Member

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    Hi bioguy,

    I set up a company to erradicate that exact fear.
    At 'safe-and-seen.co.uk' we have utilised flatlite tape into an autonomous garment that can be worn by anyone. It can only increase your personal safety since, for once, the lights are on you. In the perpetual darkness of English winter days, we have had excellent feedback. Our customers include horseriders on dark country lanes to company contracts for road side maintenence.
    Ideally you'd want to wear a lighthouse on your head to be sure your safe-and-seen but thats an impracticality since the battery would be quite heavy?
    We believe we have reached a compromise with the lumin8er garment. Please feel free to send me an email to :

    [email protected]

    Kind regards

    Keith Sturch



     
  4. mrhawk166

    mrhawk166 New Member

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    I hear you on that one. I don't have anything fancy like the EL400 (I've got a cheapie Trek $10 two-C cell headlamp), but I really don't think it cuts it for frontward visibility. I live around a busy commercial district, and there's lots of driveways w/ cars making uncontrolled lefts into them, and uncontrolled rights out of them, w/ me, cycling right inbetween. I worry and wonder if any of those motorists see me - Possible, and possibly not. I need to get a white flasher on front!

    But, have you ever tried getting around at night w/ no frontward lights at all? At stopsigns and such, it's like you're not even there! I was pleasantly surprised, after getting my cheapie Trek headlamp, that people would stop "cutting me off" at intersections. ;)
     
  5. circuitweed

    circuitweed New Member

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    Now imagine you have a HID headlight. People not only don't cut you off, they practically yield to your desires.

    Brighter is better!
     
  6. e_space23

    e_space23 New Member

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    Front and rear lights are necessary to comply with the law but, I find that lights will not keep motorists from doing what bright sunlight in the middle of the day will not keep them from doing.
     
  7. mrhawk166

    mrhawk166 New Member

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    :D I'd love to get one, John, but... I only ride at night occassionally, and at that, can I really justify $400? (I must add that its a 5 minute commute) Maybe if my commute were longer, or I got serious about night riding. As for now, I think a $40 LED flasher will suit the job nicely.
     
  8. gerinri

    gerinri New Member

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    If you ride a lot (on the racing bike) in the dark, let's say a 500-1000 m/yr, I would suggest a SON (Schmidt). It got a low resistance while riding and provides a lot of energy. Enough for 2 frontlights going downhill at 40 m/hr.
    I usually use one frontlight (a Lumotec) and keep the other (Bisy) in reserve.
    For the back I use 2 LED's.
    It's rather expensive, including a complete wheel, around $300.

    If you don't ride that much in the dark a Shimano would be a good alternative.
     
  9. monkey_magnus

    monkey_magnus New Member

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    I use a light&motion halogen light, backed up by a cateye el400 blinker on the front.
    At the back I use a Visatlite eclipse blinker (brilliant), and a cheap no-brand blinker too.
    i also wear a full fluoro jacket (endura commuter - waterproof and highly visible), and reflective strips on bag, helmet etc.
    I find this setup perfect for me. I'm certainly very visible to other road users (i.e. cars), and have had no problems, even in severe rain. It's worth spending the money on better, more waterproof, lights. The last thing you want is to be stranded on a dark road in the rain with no illumination
     
  10. rdanskin

    rdanskin New Member

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    I have just started commuting this year. I bought a "nightstick" by vistalite. It is a 6 volt halogen system. What I have discovered is that once a 6 volt bulb burns out, the replacement is way expensive, about 25 bucks. This is my plan next year: I am going to buy a 12 volt water bottle battery from my local bike shop, 75 bucks, a 10 or 20 watt halogen mr 11 bulb from home depot, about 10 buck or less, and put the bulb in the holder that came with my vistalite. For about 125 bucks I will have a great system! Now, if you want to do this I would recommend starting out with a vistalite nightstick 5 watt system. You can buy these for about 40 bucks or less, then build your own 12 volt system as described above. 5 watts will let you be seen, but not see as good as you would like, Just my two cents worth!

    take care, Bob
     
  11. neil0502

    neil0502 New Member

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    I'm visually impaired, so seeing is even more important to me than just being seen. After a decent amount of research, I:

    1) Plunked down an exorbitant sum of money on a Lupine Edison 10 headlight (http://tinyurl.com/22afd). Is it a fortune? Yup. Do I expect to ever have to buy another one? Nope. Is it worth it? I've never seen a brighter light with a better beam pattern, better engineering, simplicity of use and installation, versatility, and battery life (5hrs on high; 8hrs on low);

    2) put a xenon flasher on the seatpost. I've also used the Cat Eye LD600, which I may add to the xenon just for giggles. The xenon seems to be a real attention getter;

    3) put yellow reflective stickers (http://tinyurl.com/yupxz) on everything: my rack, the seat stays, the panniers, the backpack, front and back of helmet...everywhere I could. The stickers are cheap!

    I absolutely agree with the poster who said that once you've gone HID, there's no going back. It's the difference between seeing rusty nails from 30yds away at 25mph, or whimpering along at 12mph hoping to catch a pothole before it catches you.

    I can't count the number of pedestrians, fellow cyclists, and drivers who've commented (impressed, not p**ed) about the Lupine. That means they saw it...and that's a good thing! Other HID's can be had for hundreds less, obviously. I would think you can get 85% of the Lupine's performance for 65% of its cost ;)

    Safe travels,

    Neil
     
  12. tumbleweed77

    tumbleweed77 New Member

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    don't know what your price range is but the Dinotte lights are great! I do a lot of commuting and as the year grows old, most of it will be in the dark as well as my sunday 6am ride... the red tail light is really great and the head light works really good in the dark... doesn't have a lot of range, but it's bright.. best of all they are easy to take on and off the bike, batteries are rechargable (i have to strip my bike down the the bones when i get to school and but everything in a locker, then put everything back on to go home).
     
  13. RedHotIron

    RedHotIron New Member

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    All my problems were with overtaking traffic almost hitting me. They were clearly intoxicated, distracted or deliberately trying to give me a scare. All appeared to be under-30 males, often in huge, late model pickups Most of these incidents were at night. I now ride only on back streets & side roads & mainly during the day. The main arteries are not worth it anymore.
     
  14. RedHotIron

    RedHotIron New Member

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    Here i could actually ride without a headlight. My problems all come from vehicles passing from behind, missing me by a few inches at high speed, on purpose it would seem - i have a big orange flasher. I've stopped riding on main arteries. This state has no serious traffic enforcement in my experience - cruisers are almost never seen. Unless you're actually struck there is no possible recourse.

    Drivers know they can do anything short of running a cyclist over, so they don't hesitate to abuse their power. Not all of them, of course, but it only has to happen so many times to make cycling on main roads appear to be a bad wager. I console myself with the thought that someone who drives that way is heading for trouble somewhere up ahead, either on the road or in life.
     
  15. cyclingpj

    cyclingpj New Member

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    I have a SON dynohub with dual 3W lights and am pleased with it. Not as bright as the HID lights, but provides a good focused beam. Still have a Nightsun that I bought in the '80s. Going on its third set of 10 rechargeable C-cell batteries in a water bottle. The reason I went with the dynohub was for unlimited burn time. I'm no ultra cyclist, just didn't want to worry about it anymore.
    On the rear, I use a 5-LED Vista light flasher. Reflective tape placed here and there.
     
  16. SEAcarlessTTLE

    SEAcarlessTTLE New Member

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    I got a Dinotte Ultra 5 headlight for about $150 without the batteries and charger, since I already have a charger and lots of NiMH batteries. It's *much* brighter than any LED light I've ever used, is very light and compact, is definitely easy to take off the bike, and is a beautiful piece of equipment to boot. :)

    http://www.dinottelighting.com/DiNotte_Lighting_Ultra_5.htm

    It doesn't compare with an HID, but it's also a lot cheaper, and it's sufficient to see by in complete darkness and on unfamiliar pavement as long as you keep the speed down (maybe about 15 mph). I'm very happy with the light, esp. after the hassle of having halogen bulbs burn out mid-ride. It's bright enough that, for the first time, I actually worry about blinding oncoming riders on the bike trail. (I hate getting a faceful of headlight, so I try to keep my beam down and even cover the top as I pass sometimes.)

    Here's an informative set of LED headlight reviews:

    http://www.gearreview.com/2006_led_lights.php

    I understand the Dinotte taillight is crazy-bright, but I can't quite justify the expense for myself. Being a fan of Planet Bike, I'm currently using their Superflash blinker, which seems more than enough, although it doesn't bathe the road in red light like the Dinotte apparently does!
     
  17. motorex259

    motorex259 New Member

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    i ride without light when i dont need it, most of the time when i see ppl that go and ride in the night, and they think they are faster than me, i do the same thing takumi(initialD) dose, get behind them and stay in the dark, till i get enought energy back, get on the side of them and turn on my light and pass them at the narrow straight.....:)
     
  18. Fatherzen

    Fatherzen New Member

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    I tend to do the same as most who have posted. I have set of red flashing LEDs on the back and a set of light green flashing LEDs on the front. I use these so that I am visible. After my accident I go a rechargable headlight that can be strapped to my helmet. I also have some little round red LED flashing lights that have an elastic strap with a magnet at the end. The magnet is used to start the LEDs flashing, change the flash pattern, or stop turn the light off. I wear one on each wrist. Having the flashers on my wrists helps to make me a little more visible and also makes it so that drivers are more likely to see my hand signals.
     
  19. NickInNC

    NickInNC New Member

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    I have a LED headlamp, a bell LED wide angle light that is attached to the bike, a red flashing LED tail light, and reflective gloves(perfect and important for hand signals). Also I got 3M reflective tape for some key side areas of the bike.

    My wife saw me going the opisite direction one night riding home and called my cell told me I was blinding people and that I looked like a couple of very odd fast moving tractors. I think thats a good thing.
     
  20. NewRiderMan

    NewRiderMan New Member

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    I looked at some "bicycle lighting systems" many of which were no more than a blinky light for over a hundred bucks. I guess I dan't value my own safety enough, but the day I pay over a hundred bucks for a tiny flashing light is the day I plan to take a nap on the railroad tracks...

    Instead of the already available lighting systems, I manufactured a set of three bar mount brackets, as well as two seat post brckets. On days when I plan to commute after dark, I put the brackets on.

    Two brackets up front hold a pair of 4 cell maglights, between those I have a temporary use 2,000,000 candlepower rechargeable spotlight for those times when I need to get somebody to pay attention to the dude on the bike.

    In the rear, I have a pair of military style flashlights with red diffiusing covers. VERY bright.

    I also keep a minimag light on my belt for "spotting" if I need to take a quick look off to the side.

    The entire system is not nearly as heavy as you'd think, a little over four pounds total, including the aluminum bracketry. And, I find it a LOT more effective at even 500 yards than the little lights I looked at in the LBS.

    Total cost for everything; Right around $70. And, the smallest light I have is a 1 3/4" diameter. As opposed to paying twice as much for half the light. ;)

    It doesn't blink, or flash, but it does project a light Stevie Wonder could see. If it is foggy or overcast, I tilt the 2mil spotlight about 5 degrees off to the side so as not to blind oncoming drivers and keep on going. So far, I've not even had anyone get within 20 feet of me.

    In the end, it comes down to one thing; would you rather pay for the convenience of a "kit" or would you rather invest less money, more time, and make a system that will save your bacon? Surely if you can wrench on your own bike, you should be able to figure out mounting a headlight on it!!!!!
     
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