Anyone else going crazy with all the flashing lights?- Mtbr.com
Results 1 to 31 of 31
  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: vikb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    14,073

    Anyone else going crazy with all the flashing lights?

    With bright LEDs so cheap it seems like the number of strobe lights I have to deal with on a fall/winter commute have increased exponentially. A lot of my route is either dark unlit bike path or lightly travelled rural road. The strobes are super hard on my eyes and kill my night vision until I've got some time to recover...about which time the next strober comes along.

    I keep my lights on solid - heck my front light won't strobe because it's german and that's illegal there. It's easy to see me and it's easier for me to see what's ahead with a solid light beam.

    Is it just me getting cranky with old age or have other people noticed the rise of the strober as well?
    Safe riding,

    Vik
    www.vikapproved.com

  2. #2
    swag swag like Caillou
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    158
    I've seen a few annoying flashing lights, but they never mess up my vision. you must be getting old

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    205
    I'm perfectly fine with blinkies and LEDs set to strobe (I'll set my LED to strobe myself at dawn or dusk). But yeah, some guys do seem to feel safer setting their 500 lumen front light to the most "visible" strobe setting possible at pitch dark. Seems a little too much for me (and I think it makes it harder to see the potholes), but to each his own.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Posts
    231
    I'm with ya. It would be nice if they pointed them away from my face at least. If I set my light to strobe it makes me want to puke. I have no idea how they manage.

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Posts
    269
    I see more out there this time of year. It is still nice enough for the hardy fair weather commuters to ride but gets dark early. I find them extremely annoying especially on the MUPs. I hate being blinded and then trying to maneuver around pedestrians/joggers on the bike path. Luckily I only have to deal with them for a short stretch near downtown since that is the most crowded part of my route. I console myself with the thought that once the snow flies they will all be gone.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Straz85's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    1,348
    Funny that you say that, some guy started screaming at me because of mine yesterday when I was behind him in traffic. Flashing lights grab people's attention far more than solid lights, and bike lights, even if they have the same light output as automotive lights, are less visible because the smaller area. Additionally, bike taillights have MUCH narrower beam patterns than car taillights. Lastly, cars have lights visible from every direction. We'd need at least 4 lights strategically placed for that, which isn't easy.

    Personally, I aim my taillights right at cars. I usually have one on flashing mode and one on solid. Those are taillights though, so a really bright one is what, like 75 lumens? Not nearly as bad as cars with headlights that aren't properly aimed, which is most cars.

    My headlight usage depends on the weather and time of day. Yesterday it was dismal in my area, rain and very cloudy and there was a lot of traffic, so I had my light flashing. A car with halogen lights has 2000+ lumens of headlight output and HIDs or LEDs are 3500+. My headlight is 600 lumens, not nearly visible enough on solid mode IMO. I also don't like to aim it up at people's faces because there's no cutoff. I aim it slightly down, more so when it's flashing.

    Ultimately I think the issue is when people aim them straight ahead.

  7. #7
    since 4/10/2009
    Reputation: Harold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Posts
    28,955
    I'm a strober. Yep, and 500 lumens at that.

    But here's the rub, I don't run it that way all the time. On the MUP, I run it steady on the lowest setting. I also aim my light downward so it puts a hot spot on the ground a couple bike lengths ahead of me. It's shining in nobody's face, but it's plenty visible. Aim is key. That hasn't been much of an issue for me lately. Until about 2 weeks ago, the MUP's closed around 9. We JUST got hours extended to midnight on a provisional 90 day basis. Hopefully that gets made permanent, because the push is for actual 24 hour access in the future.

    I find the strobe to be especially effective when there's a lot of ambient light. Either from other traffic, storefront and parking lot lights, streetlights, or all of the above. Also when it's simply foggy and visibility is down. On steady, it's easy to ignore a bike headlight. On a dark, empty road, probably not. In that case, I want to see more than be seen. But being that I live/ride in the city most of the time, this is not an actual need of mine most of the time.

    My main taillight is about 200 lumens, on an irregular flash, not the rapid strobe of the headlight (which looks more like a pulse from the front). I run a second rear blinkie on the back of my helmet.

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: WiTrailRunner's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    191
    I only use my strobe in traffic on the streets. I don't understand running it on the MUP at all.

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    5,465
    Umm, just look away for a minute? I point my strobe down when I am on the MUP. When I am driving, the bikes I see first have blinky lights.

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    225
    I'm with ya, on a path solid is the only acceptable mode. There's no point to strobe, the paths are generally narrow in comparison to streets and we're the brightest things on the path. No one is going to miss my solid head light.

    I'm not a fan of the strobes on the street, I try to buy lights that have more of an oscillation or flicker than an all out strobe. I mentioned the cygolite 500 before with its nice ripple/flicker and the L&M Vis 180 tail light has a nice oscillation mode. Its always on and goes from high to medium.

  11. #11
    755872
    Guest
    I use a strobe rear (sometimes more than one) and solid front unless I'm on a roadway. We've lost two cyclists and put three more in the hospital since school started (city of 250K) so more is probably safer right now although at least two drivers were drunk and one cyclist died from a collision with another cyclist. On the bike path I use solid, off-set my light to the right and shield it when passing another runner or cyclist.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,413
    I'm a strober. In the day. Yep, and 500 lumens at that. (On the helmet).

    But here's the rub, I don't run it that way all the time. At night, I run it steady on the highest setting. I also aim my lights carefully so they put hot spots on the ground a couple bike lengths out to 100' ahead of me. My lights are shining in nobody's face, but they are plenty visible. Aim is key. That hasn't been much of an issue for me. Until about 2 weeks ago, there was no MUP in town. We JUST got one that doesn't go anywhere I want to go. Hopefully that gets made bigger and useful, because the push is for a bigger one in the future.

    I find the strobe to be especially effective in the day. We don't have a lot of ambient light at night either from other traffic, storefront and parking lot lights, streetlights, or all of the above. Also when it's simply foggy and visibility is down. On steady, it's easy to ignore a bike headlight. On a dark, empty road, probably not. Especially with one on the helmet and two at head tube height. In that case, I want to see more than be seen. But being that I live/ride outside the city most of the time, this is an actual need of mine most of the time. I have met one cyclist at night in 6 years. So drivers are a much bigger concern as they are not expecting a cyclist.

    My main taillight is about 200 lumens, Over 180 degrees visibility on steady, a HotShot on the seat tube on pulse or maybe throb? I run a second blinkie on the back of my helmet (PB Turbo).

  13. #13
    NDD
    NDD is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: NDD's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    1,562
    Quote Originally Posted by Forster View Post
    I use a strobe rear (sometimes more than one) and solid front unless I'm on a roadway. We've lost two cyclists and put three more in the hospital since school started (city of 250K) so more is probably safer right now although at least two drivers were drunk and one cyclist died from a collision with another cyclist. On the bike path I use solid, off-set my light to the right and shield it when passing another runner or cyclist.
    That is exactly what i do on the mup, too. I do strobe on the street though, but not full strobe.

    @Kenthekona, I use a cygolite 360 and cygolite really does have an agreeable ripple light. Perfect for the dusk hours and overcast days.

  14. #14
    755872
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by NDD View Post
    That is exactly what i do on the mup, too. I do strobe on the street though, but not full strobe.

    @Kenthekona, I use a cygolite 360 and cygolite really does have an agreeable ripple light. Perfect for the dusk hours and overcast days.
    Cygolite 420 same setting. The full strobe is probably best reserved for foggy weather or other tough lighting conditions.

  15. #15
    guy
    Reputation: Kleebs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Posts
    357
    My commute is entire city so I run my front and rear lights on strobe pretty much all the time, as my only goal is to catch the attention of motorists and I find a solid light in the city is easy to ignore. On the rare occasion I ride anywhere at night when I can't see the road well, I run my headlight on solid.

    I also don't see much of a point to running a strobe on a MUP. Not an issue for me personally, but I can see why people would be annoyed by that.

  16. #16
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,921
    I'm a flasher, times four lights.
    GoatRidesBikes.com
    Goat Rides Bikes @ YouTube
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me

  17. #17
    EAT MORE GRIME
    Reputation: 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,270
    ha I have a new palight that has two LED and, each socket has an independent switch and strobe. I am gonna play with bright on one, and strobe on the other, and mix it all up. haters gonna hate

    PS: I am in favor of no strobe, ever. except daytime city traffic.

  18. #18
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Posts
    649
    I too find oncoming strobes extremely annoying. I do run my rear light on flash. But I use my front light to see as well as be seen. I am also pretty anal about aiming my lights so that I can see obstacles on the path and to keep glare away from oncoming cyclists.

  19. #19
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,921
    I want to do an experiment using front LED's. When you run them full wide open they are switched "on", constant. When you step the brightness down, they're not actually stepping down the voltage, but they are very rapidly strobing. Strobing so fast you can't notice it with your eyes but you CAN notice it in certain circumstances most notably/easily is when it's raining or snowing. Try it!

    When it's dark, step your LED down to any setting lower than full brightness and even spray some water in front of the light beam.

    I'd like to know, especially during the daytime if it registers more readily subconsciously when it is strobing though it appears visually less bright.
    GoatRidesBikes.com
    Goat Rides Bikes @ YouTube
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me

  20. #20
    I'd rather be on my bike
    Reputation: TenSpeed's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    2,749
    I don't run my front blinker on the MUP, but my rear will be going usually. Once I am on the regular street, the front then goes on. No need on the MUP here at least. Rear it is just easier to turn it on when I leave and not chance forgetting to turn it on.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  21. #21
    EAT MORE GRIME
    Reputation: 127.0.0.1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5,270
    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    I want to do an experiment using front LED's. When you run them full wide open they are switched "on", constant. When you step the brightness down, they're not actually stepping down the voltage, but they are very rapidly strobing. Strobing so fast you can't notice it with your eyes but you CAN notice it in certain circumstances most notably/easily is when it's raining or snowing. Try it!

    When it's dark, step your LED down to any setting lower than full brightness and even spray some water in front of the light beam.

    I'd like to know, especially during the daytime if it registers more readily subconsciously when it is strobing though it appears visually less bright.

    only some lights use pulse width modulation for brightness, this is the strobe you see with an led in rain. quality lights do not use PWM for brightness modulation. many cheap lights do, and use them for every level but brightest level.

    my zebralight doesn't use PWM, but all my cheapo chinese lights do, exceptat max level

  22. #22
    mtbr member
    Reputation: bikeCOLORADO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,921
    I'm not looking to debate, but to get more info.

    Why would PWM be a "cheaper" solution? The Serfast TSL-1500 is a nearly $400 light set (one of my front lights), it uses PWM.

    What technology does the Zebralight use (or what is the better/more expensive solution)?
    GoatRidesBikes.com
    Goat Rides Bikes @ YouTube
    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me

  23. #23
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,413
    ^ Good LED drivers step down the amperage (not voltage) and yes these are more expensive drivers to buy, but they draw less power and extend battery life at lower outputs.

  24. #24
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    12
    Use of a strobing headlight at night is dangerous. You are pointing a "dazzler" at oncoming traffic and making it difficult for other operators to judge your position and velocity. Strobe mode is meant for use in foggy daylight conditions only. Use of strobing lights is typically illegal on non-emergency vehicles in the US.

    Go ahead and flash or modulate all you want - just don't strobe.

  25. #25
    755872
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by promo View Post
    Use of a strobing headlight at night is dangerous. You are pointing a "dazzler" at oncoming traffic and making it difficult for other operators to judge your position and velocity. Strobe mode is meant for use in foggy daylight conditions only. Use of strobing lights is typically illegal on non-emergency vehicles in the US.

    Go ahead and flash or modulate all you want - just don't strobe.
    What's the difference between "Flash" and "Strobe"? I do agree that the Full-On Strobe my light produces is really only appropriate for daylight or foggy daylight, just wondering what differentiates one from the other.

  26. #26
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    12
    Good question & I'm not sure. The issue is severity of stroboscopic effect produced above a given frequency of pulses. At some point with increasing frequency a pulsing light transitions from blinking to strobing.

  27. #27
    Loud hubs save lives!
    Reputation: 43st's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Posts
    152
    I picked up a Vis 360 last week and was surprised that it did not have a strobe setting. I have an older Urban 200 that does. I did a little looking around and found this page on why they made the change.

    I tend to use flashing modes in the morning/evening, with the sun low in the sky, but after dark I prefer solid illumination. Not sure why, but I feel it helps others judge my speed and direction better than with the flashing. I'm now trying the pulse mode on my rear light, and low-beam solid on the front (I have not used the Vis 360 yet, I will probably reserve it for added illumination for night riding)

  28. #28
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BrianMc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    4,413
    The pulse setting on the Cygolite HotShot (which I use) is never all the way off and you can control the maximum brightness. Flashing or strobing like a turn signal, needs an off and an on alternation of some kind.

    As to the being able to figure out how close you are, I like at least one solid-on light. So I have a pair on solid with about 270 degree visibility off the back of the rear carrier, one on pulse on the seat post and the PB Turbo on its bizarre three LED flash on the helmet. I run them day or night. I have had one cyclist overtake me in the last 6 years in the day, and have passed one. No one at night. So I am not too concerned about whether fellow cyclists don't like it. No one has complained in group rides (day). One comment made was they could really see be from a distance and that at first they thought I looked like some weird emergency vehicle (being on a charity ride, they guessed I was a cyclist).

    So some of this courtesy/safely issue depends on the situation. Few cyclists means few motorists looking for and seeing a lone cyclist like me. But a well used MUP demands that rare thing called common sense.

  29. #29
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Saul Lumikko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    1,801
    Ages ago I didn't pay any attention to what kind of lights people used (or didn't use). Then I noticed other active cyclists complain about blinking lights and they did seem annoying to me as well. At some point I decided that it doesn't have to bother me and it stopped.

    What does bother me are bright lights that are directed at my face, but that's a problem with steady lights as well.

    These days if someone has a moderately powered blinker and it's pointing towards the ground in a decent angle, I don't mind.

    I did notice during my commutes that when it's not completely dark (twilight time or street lights on) pedestrians don't notice me that well when they are walking on the cycle path, but when I switch the light to blinking mode they notice me and make way. After passing them I switch back to steady light. So in some cases it can be a handy feature to get more attention.

  30. #30
    jrm
    jrm is offline
    mtbr member
    Reputation: jrm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    11,605
    My gripe with strobes is that the intensity if the flashing light makes it impossible to make out the outline or figure of the rider, pedestrian since all you see is the light. i use a taz 1200 on 600L pulsing most of the time. If its serious dark thirty in the morning ill go 1000L solid.

  31. #31
    poser Administrator
    Reputation: rockcrusher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    10,099
    I didn't read all the comments as it was tl;dr for me this morning but I have a handlebar mounted LED 500lm light and motion thingy. When I am on the MUP, especially at night I turn it to the non blinky setting and point it down to just where it lights my field of view. When I get on public streets I will turn it back to blinking. I hate getting my vision bleached by the oncoming blinkies, age and all.

    So I am totally on board with you on this. It doesn't take much to be more considerate of your compatriots on the path, point 'em down and turn them constant.
    MTBR Posting Guidelines
    calories>electrons

Similar Threads

  1. Lupine Flashing Modes
    By androgen in forum Lights and Night Riding
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 11-27-2013, 01:48 PM
  2. Flashing back. And forward.
    By mikesee in forum Riding Passion
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-09-2013, 06:27 AM
  3. On and flashing
    By uncle_bob in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: 02-15-2012, 10:33 AM
  4. Decking a bike out with Crazy Lights
    By bank5 in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 12-07-2011, 11:32 AM
  5. Still need a heatsink for flashing XP-G??
    By Bryank930 in forum Lights DIY - Do It Yourself
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 01-02-2011, 08:28 AM

Members who have read this thread: 0

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

THE SITE

ABOUT MTBR

VISIT US AT

© Copyright 2020 VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.