Author Topic: Your new bright light  (Read 1689 times)

Your new bright light
« on: March 03, 2010, 07:39:54 am »
I don't think you caught what I was saying as we crossed paths last night. I should have congratulated you. Well done; you bought a new LED light, and you are really excited about how bright it is. Yes, if you stand in front of it, it's amazing how bright it is. Pointing it up like that makes it seem really bright. Yes, I am sure cars will see you from miles away. Well done.

What I was saying last night was "point your light down". If you ride towards me on a narrow unlit cycle path like that again, I may ride straight into you.

Kthxbai

Snugsy

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2010, 10:23:37 am »
What I was saying last night was "point your light down". If you ride towards me on a narrow unlit cycle path like that again, I may ride straight into you.

Kthxbai

It's not that simple.

Bike lights have two purposes: To ensure other road users can see you on well-lit roads; and to ensure you can see where you're going on ill-lit or unlit roads.

In the first case, you need a bright light pointing towards observers. In the second you need a bright light pointing in such a direction that you can see both the road surface ahead and the multitude of suicidal unlit cyclists (most of whom haven;t read the bit in the HC about drivning on the left) found in most urban areas. This is, of course, made worse by the poor lighting of urban cycle routes that would be unacceptable on urban roads, and the narrowness of cycle routes.

There are two ways of coping with this without dazzling oncoming cyclists. One is to have a light mounted so that it can be pointed downwards when necessary - although this brings the problem of re-aligning it when you need to make your presence known to other road users.

The other is to have two lights, one pointing towards oncoming drivers to make sure they've seen you, and the other pointing at the road surface. This is what I do, but it has its problems, too, since it means switching lights on and off when you need your hands for steering, braking, changing gear or signalling and your eyes for looking where you're going.

Note also that, because of aforementioned unlit idiots devoid of road sense, a light pointing directly forwards may still be necessary on narrow, ill-lit cycle routes for one's own saftey. Head-on crashes at a closing speed of 30-40mph are not pleasant.

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2010, 10:38:48 am »
It seems pretty simple to me. You keep the main pool of light below the eyeline of drivers and cyclists.

B&M make this easy, but even with dumb floody lights, you can be seen without ruining the night vision of other road users. I've got a tesco 3w, and it's a simple enough to position it so that it's visible but not dazzling.

vorsprung

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2010, 10:40:25 am »
What I was saying last night was "point your light down". If you ride towards me on a narrow unlit cycle path like that again, I may ride straight into you.

Kthxbai

It's not that simple.

Bike lights have two purposes: To ensure other road users can see you on well-lit roads; and to ensure you can see where you're going on ill-lit or unlit roads.


We agree on these points on the purpose of a bike light
But the rest of your reply I would take issue with

A bright light angled to see the road surface will make you visible too.  And it should provide enough incident light to see ninja cyclists too.

Cycle "facilities" that aren't suitable for riding on certain conditions should be avoided in those conditions.  

For example, if a shared use path is twisty and narrow it doesn't make much difference how good your light is.  Or if it is day or night.  You have to proceed at walking pace or less in order to mitigate the risk of hitting people or other bikes.  

If riding at walking pace is quicker than the alternative then that's great.  If it is supposedly "safer" than the alternative route then perhaps a rethink is needed.  

Basically, what I am saying is that many cycle paths are crap and what you do with the light on them isn't the problem.  Avoid crashes by not using them
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her_welshness

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2010, 12:20:25 pm »
I don't think you caught what I was saying as we crossed paths last night. I should have congratulated you. Well done; you bought a new LED light, and you are really excited about how bright it is. Yes, if you stand in front of it, it's amazing how bright it is. Pointing it up like that makes it seem really bright. Yes, I am sure cars will see you from miles away. Well done.

What I was saying last night was "point your light down". If you ride towards me on a narrow unlit cycle path like that again, I may ride straight into you.

Kthxbai

I was chuckling away at your post DrMekon and I would have to agree with you, if it had been me I would have gone straight into them.

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2010, 12:29:19 pm »
There's no excuse for dazzling oncoming drivers/cyclists/whatever.

Either your bike light is angled up too much or it's not fit for purpose.

IMHO, my Solidlights 1203D-XB2 are about on the limit of brightness for a non-focused/directed symmetric pool of light. I have to have it angled down a reasonable amount to prevent it possibly dazzling oncomers but it still throws enough light up the road to be fantastic. I'd hope that any further upgrades to brighter/more-efficient LEDs would include some new optics (reorientable as some mount their Solidlights upside down) to prevent dazzling, or it will just mean huge gobs of light is wasted putting the patch of road level with my front hub in bright sunshine and no real difference to the amount of light being sent up to 30 yards or so up the road.
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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2010, 12:41:06 pm »
With you there.  You have to be visible, but I find my Hope Vision One, pointed at the ground a suitable distance ahead, is very visible at car and truck drivers' eye levels.

I only don't get seen when someone's not looking.
Getting there...

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2010, 12:59:31 pm »
I'm feeling dead guilty now.

I know that my torch isn't really directional enough.

Problem is, any light that is more suitable would cost a great deal more.

I'm prob going to knock up a new mount for the torch, have been toying with incorporating a reflecting shield, so torch doesn't throw so much upwards.
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vorsprung

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2010, 03:45:48 pm »
With you there.  You have to be visible, but I find my Hope Vision One, pointed at the ground a suitable distance ahead, is very visible at car and truck drivers' eye levels.

I only don't get seen when someone's not looking.

AND THIS IS THE TRUTH
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Tourist Tony

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2010, 11:26:10 pm »
Two EL500s pointing to illuminate the road for seeing where I am going, and also to be seen. Previously a 5 LED headtorch as well, so I can look about and aim it at a car in case I think they haven't seen me. That has now been replaced by a helmet-mounted Beast of Melting Tarmac (need to look up make) that I have only just been given. It serves to show me the path to righteousness, but can also be angled up at cars if necessary.

mattc

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2010, 09:05:20 am »
TT:
This is just my guess, but I reckon a Tarmac Searing Headtorch will dazzle other road/path users SOME of the time, because of the way your head moves around.

But I've never owned such a thing, so maybe there is a magic position that avoids this.

[I have NO time for road users that dazzle others with their lights. There are no valid excuses. See threads passim  ... ]
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2010, 01:33:36 pm »
I reckon we're missing Charlotte on this topic!!

As for me, I have an extremely bright front light (960 lumens).  I reckon it's still nothing like as dazzling as a car headlight given that almost no-one flashes me when it's on full beam.
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mattc

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2010, 01:39:28 pm »
Charlotte posted something very sensible about different lights suiting different circumstances (e.g. group riding, urban vs rural). Hopefully she'll repeat it ... !

Your super light might be OK on your commute, Wendy, I don't know. At the same time, it might be really inconsiderate on an unlit off-road cycle-path (mainly because cyclists/peds need their night-vision more than drivers). Different conditions.

Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2010, 01:46:40 pm »
I mostly don't use it on full beam, btw.  Daytime it's on flash, night time it's either on low or medium in urban areas and full on dark country lanes.
Your Royal Charles are belong to us.

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2010, 01:48:40 pm »
I meant to add that I know I'll get seen if someone is looking, but if I have a wimpy obviously bicycle light, I'll also get drivers not caring and pulling out on me.  That can be stressful on any bike, but even more so if it's on a fast stretch on the recumbent.  That's why I want bright lights that leave drivers thinking I'm on a motorbike.
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Charlotte

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2010, 02:30:34 pm »
Charlotte posted something very sensible about different lights suiting different circumstances (e.g. group riding, urban vs rural). Hopefully she'll repeat it ... !

Is there any need to now?

Given that I ride a variety of different bikes in a variety of different conditions, I tend to use a variety of different lights.  One size doesn't fit all exactly and whilst I'll be happy pootling home from town after a night out in the summer with a little blinky LED front and rear, I'd want to pack Solidlights for an overnight audax in the middle of nowhere.

Commuting's when it gets a bit more desperate though.  If I'm going to have a prang, it's on my commute, so naturally I want to give myself every chance that I can of being seen and having my speed judged accurately.

I don't have any really dark patches on my commute so I don't need lighting to see, I need it to be seen.  Big difference.

I don't like reflective stuff for my every day riding, I want bright, noticeable active lights.  This usually means flashing lights.  But they're crap for judging distance, so that means doubling up with a steady light.  No bad thing from the POV of redundancy anyway.

On my commuter, I have a Fantom BLT on eye-searing flash mode.  It's angled a couple of degrees below horizontal, so if a driver gets too close, it'll scorch his retinas.  There's also a Smart Superflash in steady mode so those further out can judge distance.

On the front, I have an IQ Fly as my steady light.  Often as not, this will be joined by either a Hope 1 or a Fenix L2D on flashy.  The Fenix is particularly offensive on flashing mode and you'd have to be utterly blind not to notice it.  I only use it like that in built-up areas where I'm in danger of people pulling out on me and I don't aim it upwards on purpose. 

If it dazzles anyone that's tough.  I'm more worried about being seen than being polite.
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Valiant

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2010, 02:49:01 pm »
I'm sorry, I dazzle a few people. If I see a cyclist in the distance I angle my Dinotte 600 down, otherwise it's staying put being aimed at the near and mid distance so it hits wing mirrors and lights up the whole car. Unless you're more than about 100m away, you won't get dazzled directly.

I'm not risking being doored, or pulled out on again, it's already ruined my life once.
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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2010, 05:48:00 pm »
  Often as not, this will be joined by either a Hope 1 or a Fenix L2D on flashy.  The Fenix is particularly offensive on flashing mode and you'd have to be utterly blind not to notice it.  I only use it like that in built-up areas where I'm in danger of people pulling out on me and I don't aim it upwards on purpose. 

If it dazzles anyone that's tough.  I'm more worried about being seen than being polite.
What she said.

I have been right hooked by a car pulling out from parked with a 10 watt halogen on the go.

The strobe of death gets you noticed, I have even seen vehicles slow/move over because they see the flash against the road signs and think an emergency services vehicle is coming.

Naughty perhaps but at least it isn't blue.

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2010, 05:50:38 pm »
OTOH it's possible for an advanced police driver like in a traffic unit to have a scan error and miss even a very bright light.
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Zoidburg

Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2010, 06:19:09 pm »
"Yeahbut...but...but...but"

 ::-)

 :facepalm:

Tourist Tony

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2010, 10:36:17 pm »
TT:
This is just my guess, but I reckon a Tarmac Searing Headtorch will dazzle other road/path users SOME of the time, because of the way your head moves around.

But I've never owned such a thing, so maybe there is a magic position that avoids this.

[I have NO time for road users that dazzle others with their lights. There are no valid excuses. See threads passim  ... ]
It has two settings, one of which is no brighter than the EL500s. It is mounted on my helmet in such a way that it is angled down just in front of my headlight pool of illumination when I am looking straight ahead. Generally used on the low setting in traffic; the megadeth beam is for dark roads.

Gandalf

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Re: Your new bright light
« Reply #21 on: March 05, 2010, 06:44:55 am »
I find that with my Fenix P3D or L2D depending on which one has gone flat, I get flashed about once a week by drivers. 

As it is only once a week I've concluded that it's just an arsey pratt trying to make a point...sod em.

I also find my 8 LED headtorch  handy for discouraging pull outs as well.