Flashing front bike lights - safety or annoying?

Discussion in 'transport' started by ringo, Nov 15, 2011.

  1. ringo

    ringo Macaroni cheese controller

    A work colleague reckons many people get very angry at someone coming the other way with a flashing front light. He reckons he used to do it but had people swerve at him and shout so he sets his to constant beam now.

    I've always had mine on flash because it's easier to be seen that way, but I suppose lights are getting much brighter all the time and it could be annoying. Usually you're on the other side of the road though, it's cars and lorries who have brighter lights.
  2. King Biscuit Time

    King Biscuit Time Well-Known Member

    I always have front on continuous and back on flash. Not sure why, but when I'm driving at night a flashing red light seems to draw the eye better, but flashing white light coming towards you is just a headache.
  3. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    paging gentlegreen!
    (I do like KBT does)
  4. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    If it's annoying people then it's being noticed. Which is the whole point of bike lights.
  5. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    For given values of "noticed" of course. You'd notice a 2kw stage strobe going off in your face, but it wouldn't necessarily be safe.
    Badgers and ddraig like this.
  6. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    Bit of a leap there, squire.
  7. editor

    editor Forked with electrons

    How does anyone get "annoyed" by a passing cyclist's lights anyway?
  8. bi0boy

    bi0boy Power User

    I've been verbally abused for having my lights on before, although that was by another cyclist, and during daylight hours ( :confused: )
  9. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    I know. It's a rhetorical technique known as "reductio ad absurdum" whereby you extrapolate your opponent's argument to its absurd extreme, in order to demonstrate its weakness. You are familiar with the technique yourself as I have seen you use it.

    Without the fancy word tricks, my argument is: a flashing light may be more noticeable than a steady one. However, a very bright flashing light may be so distracting that it actually reduces safety. When it's an oncoming situation, it's particularly crucial because the rapid rate of closure means that you may only get to see 2 or 3 flashes before a potential collision.
    Badgers, girasol and ddraig like this.
  10. Biddlybee

    Biddlybee making knots with sticks

    I set front and back to flashing - no one has told me I'm annoying them, and I've heard the batteries last longer :hmm: :D
  11. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    As a driver I think they are far less noticeable, particularly in the rain when raindrops on the windscreen, wipers going etc, can cause most small light sources to appear intermittent anyway. Often when taking a glance at traffic they're also possible to miss or just don't register as a cyclist.

    I'd suggest nice bright continuous lights every time. They also make it easier for motorists to judge distance.

    Also, wear Hi-Viz jackets. Motorists will pick you up in Hi-Viz one or two hundred yards before we see your lights.
  12. past caring

    past caring The Cathars were right

    A decent halogen should be bright enough for you to be seen without it flashing. My view is that it is safer to have a steady beam because it is much more difficult to judge distance with a flashing light. With my rear lights I have a steady/solid light on the seatpost and two flashing lights on the courier bag.
  13. rover07

    rover07 has a shining car.

    Yep, thats me. I just rode straight at some cunt blinding me with their FUCKING STROBE LIGHT on the way home. :mad:
  14. weepiper

    weepiper Jock under the bed

    I have a steady light on my seatpost and a flashing one on my bag, and one steady and one flashing light on my handlebars. The flashing one is pointed quite low because it's fucking bright and I don't want to blind anyone.
  15. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    Annoying or confusing oncoming traffic is never a good idea.
    Miss Caphat and spanglechick like this.
  16. story

    story Changing the facts

    As a courier, I never used flashing lights, mainly because of the distance thing, but also cos - as a courier - I was darting about in the traffic and the flashing would make me look like a subatomic particle popping in and out of existence.

    As a driver, I prefer cyclists to have large steady beams. I find that a flashing light is distracting and irritant: I just think "What IS that thing??" while a steady light tells me it's a cyclist. I find a flashing back red light easier to deal with than a flashing front light.

    And yes: high vis jackets are good, especially in the gloom.
  17. Biddlybee

    Biddlybee making knots with sticks

    Didn't think about the distance. It's weird I can't drive at night because all the lights are so distracting, but have no problem cycling :oops:

    why were you on the same side of the road as them?
  18. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.

    It depends on the context. Because of the routes I take, I've focused on being seen from wide angles (almost 360 degrees) at fairly close range - usually in places with some street lighting - as well as seeing where I'm going on unlit roads - with both dipped and high beams.

    I suppose I might add a flasher front and rear if I used long stretches of open road.

    Halogen makes a pleasant glow for shared paths but is totally hors du combat now.
    I wouldn't want less than 50 watts of Halogen for a headlight.

    I feel sorry for those limited to the rather nasty point source lights that are infinitely better than old-fashioned Never-Readys, but horribly flawed.
  19. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.

    I very nearly came off my bike on the Bristol to Bath path last week - and that was just an improperly aimed static LED.
  20. rover07

    rover07 has a shining car.

    I was on a cycle path. Its so fucking annoying. Why blind people like that?

    I either have to stop or ride blind, so i cycle straight at them, if I crash then im crashing into you. :D

    Just put it on constant. :mad:
  21. Biddlybee

    Biddlybee making knots with sticks

    ah, you don't get many of them round my way :mad:

    I might put my front on constant but flash my back ;)

    Tbh going down a road last week with a power cut it felt much safer with a constant light.
  22. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.

    I did that a lot last winter on the BB path when there were suddenly more cyclists and the lights had suddenly got infinitely brighter - just to try to show the clueless idiots that it didn't automatically clear a path ahead of them.

    Hopefully, 10 watts full in the face gives some of them a clue - in addition to my swearing.

  23. rover07

    rover07 has a shining car.

    Its like driving round in a car with full beam headlights.
  24. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.

    And / or foglights.

    Seems to be trying to convey the same sort of messages.

    Here are two idiots using flashing lights during the day :-

  25. Crispy

    Crispy The following psytrance is baṉned: All

    Guy on the left's road positioning is the worse crime
  26. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    The effect to car drivers is also often magnified, particularly at short distances, as cycle front lights are usually mounted some 12 inches higher than car headlamps.
  27. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.

    Agreed. It was unclear whether the other guy was actually part of the race, but they had near-identical 1 to 3 watt strobes...

    I do my best to get in the way of that sort of idiocy, but not in that way ...

    (I find myself consciously protecting school kids, pedestrians and parents towing children in trailers if I see that some arsehole is planning to overtake them fast and close - it's getting to be like being on the roads ...)
  28. Spymaster

    Spymaster Cockney Wanker

    What's that crackling in your videos, Gentlegreen?

    Does your bike have wooden tyres?
  29. rover07

    rover07 has a shining car.

    F;ashing red lights are still annoying but not blinding. So cant justify a ramming. :D:mad:
  30. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Radicalised hand-wringing liberal ultra-remainer.


    I do actually have them pumped up hard.

    The microphone is an afterthought on those cameras ... perhaps sometimes the glass in front works loose ...

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