light etiquette on your bike path?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. light etiquette on your bike path?

    I make a point to turn off my headlight and tail light on the bike path when its not completely dark. And also to use a reasonable brightness setting and angle of my lights as not to blind forward or rearward approaching bicyclists. I see other cyclists using high power strobe patterns in full daylight on the bike path where there is no danger from motorists. Some of the new LED lights are absolutely blinding, as you know.

    On the open streets I will use seizure inducing strobe pattern and full power, if conditions warrant. No argument from me if you do the same.

    What do you do? How can I (we) politely educate the amazon shopping casual commuter not to use too much light? Is it just the grumpy old cyclist in me?

  2. #2
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    You have bike paths? As of last year, we now have two brand new ones that don't go anywhere anyone really needs to go. I have met few cyclists lit or otherwise when I have ridden them. Bright headlights are not a problem yet. I can shift my headlights down easily and do. My taillights are about as bright as car brake lights, and being red do not affect night vision and I am by and gone past the usual 5 mph cyclist soon enough. They are a PITA to shut off and restart (remembering to turn them back on and the dismount needed) and riding in traffic is suicidal if I forget. A set of trail suitable headlights coming at me on high would be objectionable, but other than having a light to blast back at 'em, I can't see how to educate them.

  3. #3
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    We have bike paths here that, depending on what town you're going to, will get you pretty dang close to where you need to be (I put in about 1.5 miles of my 11 or so mile commute to the university on roads, the majority of the commute is strictly on a bike path). That said, now that it is dark early, if I am commuting home early, I usually have my light on the delicate flicker setting for the road and switch it over to a low constant beam for the bike path. I refuse to ride with no light at all, because some people will gripe at you for using one at all but you would also get complaints if you used no light.

    Usually, I am commuting home after 9:00 pm in which case there are few to no people on the trails, and I'll even just use the high power setting then. Worst case situation usually seems to be accidentally waking up a homeless guy that only seems to be around the bike paths at night during cold times of year. I think there's a slightly warm microclimate in the underpasses and those also shelter him from rain/snow. Started seeing him around here recently.

    So, you do what you have to do to see and be seen and deal with any gripes. Trying to educate people is tough. I agree it might be easiest to flash a bright light at them.
    dang

  4. #4
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    I turn light on lowest setting (which is still plenty bright) and angle it way down when in paved areas were others are likely to be. Steady. Blinking annoys the heck out of me at night, and while not illegal, according to regulations here at night you are required to have a forward facing white light that is Steady, so it does NOT meet legal requirement. ANd when I see someone running a blinking at night, I have a real hard time telling where they actually are. During the day, I unfortunately can understand as I've had close friend head on T-Boned in broad daylight by a car turning in front of him, hit and run basically.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by root View Post
    I turn light on lowest setting (which is still plenty bright) and angle it way down when in paved areas were others are likely to be. Steady. Blinking annoys the heck out of me at night, and while not illegal, according to regulations here at night you are required to have a forward facing white light that is Steady, so it does NOT meet legal requirement. ANd when I see someone running a blinking at night, I have a real hard time telling where they actually are. During the day, I unfortunately can understand as I've had close friend head on T-Boned in broad daylight by a car turning in front of him, hit and run basically.
    Pretty much the same for me, I run blinkies during the day sometimes on the road, but not on the path. When I run my light on high, flashing at night, cars will often stop in traffic, because they have no idea what I am. Alien? Emergency vehicle? So, I don't do that anymore..... flashing low or just solid beam.

  6. #6
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    I use the flash setting on my light most of the time, when I use it. Head-on, it looks a lot more like newer motorcycle headlights look when they flicker. I rarely go out for a ride exclusively on a bike path. It's usually just one part of a ride. If it's busy during daytime, yeah, I'll turn the light down or off depending on conditions and traffic. If the trail is super empty, then I might just use my hand to cover the light for the one person I see. At night, hell no. The greenway paths are open 24/7 here. They are not lit ANYWHERE, and are frequently darker than my yard. People have been mugged when out solo on the greenways (even in broad daylight). So at night, in the dark, my lights are getting blasted. The confusion is intentional. Don't want to be blinded? Then don't look directly at the light. And FWIW, most people I see on the greenways at night are running their headlights at full tilt, also. It is the smart thing to do then.

    Nobody (road or greenway) has complained to me about my lights for YEARS. Basically, once I figured out the best angle to aim my headlight.

  7. #7
    jrm
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    Best to adjust the beam downward b/c its more about what your riding over than it is being seen. A good rear flasher is more important

  8. #8
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    During the day I run a strobe (not seizure inducing) both front and rear. At night my taillight has a 50% steady with a 100% flash. Mixed with reflective bits on my bike I'm visible while not making it hard to judge where I am. My headlight has the same mode which I use at dusk.

    My headlight at night I don't use some stupidly over powered light 800 lumens for commuting is plenty. 1200-1400 when I'm out zipping around on the road bike.

    One thing that helps a lot for both us and others on the road, getting away from cool white lights. Been complimented a couple times about my headlight because it's not blinding everyone even at low power like cool white lights do.

    Sent from my XT1565 using Tapatalk

  9. #9
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    My night vision is not what it once was though much improved over the last four years. I have 500 lumens in a helmet light that is a lane wide at 100-150 feet out. readily aimed. That is on flash in the day. the two 900 lumen headlights have there upper output cut off and they are aimed out at 45 degrees for drivers on side streets. My videos showed that the flash mode was slow enough that I could move a car length between flashes and a driver cold blink and miss a flash. I have two solid rear lights, one on a slow pulse, but never off, and another in the frenetic mode on the helmet. I can reach those headlights easily to aim them for a bike path and have done so on the narrow road near home for oncoming drivers. Common sense and consideration went into keeping my DIY lights reasonably tame. I deploy them in the same way. I have yet to have any complaint and have been applauded for my ability ti be seen. I have only met one unlit cyclist on either bike path but i do not ride them much.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by anomad View Post
    I make a point to turn off my headlight and tail light on the bike path when its not completely dark. And also to use a reasonable brightness setting and angle of my lights as not to blind forward or rearward approaching bicyclists. I see other cyclists using high power strobe patterns in full daylight on the bike path where there is no danger from motorists. Some of the new LED lights are absolutely blinding, as you know.

    On the open streets I will use seizure inducing strobe pattern and full power, if conditions warrant. No argument from me if you do the same.

    What do you do? How can I (we) politely educate the amazon shopping casual commuter not to use too much light? Is it just the grumpy old cyclist in me?
    Its' just you. I run blinkies 24/7 front and rear. I point down the blinky on the path. I also run a steady on the bar and helmet when it is dark. My issue is the streets that cross my path every 1/2 mile. And the peds dressed all in dark with no lights or reflectors. Not good. I would rather have too much light than run over an I pod zombie in dark clothes. I you see me, that's all I need. Too bright? Look away for a moment, look down or wear shades during the day, the blinkies aren't brighter than the sun. What do you do when driving your car and come across bright lights? My too much light? Never enough. 500 lumens on the bar steady, 350 steady on the helmet, 350 on the bar blinking. Barely enough in fog, snow ,rain or at higher speeds. Better suggestion? Run one of the lights( like my cygolite) that pulses rather than blinks. If one cared. YRMV.

  11. #11
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    As somebody who already has seizures, if you MUST strobe, use the slower speed...PLEASE.

    Thanks

  12. #12
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    I ride in to work between 4-5am and ride with a bar mounted light (NR 750) on steady for the bike path part, approximately 10 miles of my commute. Except for a few weeks in June it's dark all year for my ride in. There's one guy that rides that section that I see always runs a strobe.

    I used to cover my light or angle it away when I passed people. I don't do that anymore as I stopped caring. It seemed like it was a piece of etiquette I was creating that was never reciprocated so why should I care.

    The last time I saw strobe guy coming I switched myself to strobe mode. I'm not sure how one could ride like that on our bike path, it's so dark that I feel like it makes my vision worse.

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