Now that its getting dark earlier, how are you making sure you're seen?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Now that its getting dark earlier, how are you making sure you're seen?

    Looking for some ideas people are using to make sure they are being seen on their commutes. Recently started commuting more and just want to make sure I'm visible. I'm currently using Sefras Thunderbolt front and rear in flash mode as well as an Exposure Diablo helmet light. Love to see pics of others set ups!

  2. #2
    I'd rather be on my bike
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    Thunderbolts here for the most part. I have a Planet Bike Super Flash Micro that I recently got that is pretty decent for the rear. Front light is usually a NiteRider Lumina 700. Battery life on it is alright on the lowest setting which is plenty bright. Since my commute is a mix of city streets and a pitch black MUP I depend on both a flasher and an actual headlight to light my way. Started using a Knog USB chargeable blinker up front to add visibility.
    The pedals turn, not just the left one, but the right one too.

  3. #3
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    I put Revolight Skyline LEDs on my new commuter bikes wheels.
    I tested them for the first time at 2AM. I was hoping the lights would be good enough as a headlight but with my tired old eyes and the way they blink, not so much. That said, I had no question that I was seen by the few cars that passed me on my short 3 mile ride.
    While they are not likely to find their way onto a race bike or off road bike, they are fine on my commuter.
    I am glad I got them at REI. I bought them the same day as I bought the bike and they installed them for free. It was the first set they have installed and it took them about 3 hours.
    Look for a review as soon as I can get some footage.
    Ride while you can...

  4. #4
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    I use 2 strobes on back, and 2 headlights. I use 2 for more visibility and redundancy. I also use high vis ankle straps as well.

    You could also get some reflective tape and use it on your helmet and frame and fenders, etc.

  5. #5
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    I use Dinotte front and rear (400L front white steady, and 140L rear red flashing). I also always (except today) run a second rear flasher, just in case the Dinotte stops working and I don't know about it. I also normally carry a backup front light (an older Dinotte with my spare battery).
    Cheers, Dave

  6. #6
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    I use a cygolite 500 or L&M urban 700 upfront. I usually carry both so if the cold kills one I have a strong back up. I've got a couple knog flashers I throw on to compliment the big lights for visibility. So at anytime I'm usually running 1 of the big lights and 1 of the small. Off the back I run a L&M Vis 180, pricey but very bright, and I just picked up a Cygolite hotshot to replace a AA battery ran rear light. Run the Vis 180 on solid high with its flashing ambers and the hotflash is run on flash.

  7. #7
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    Bontrager Ion700 front headlight (great value for the $$), a pair of flashing red lights in the back, 1 in my bikepack, 1 on my bike rack, reflective tape on my helmet, reflective vest wrapped around my bikepack, reflective vest on my body, and high reflective ankle wraps.

    Haven't been hit yet!

  8. #8
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    I have four Cygolites that I use for early morning/late night commuting. I use the Streak 280 and Expilion 800 front lights, and I have two of the HotShot SL for rear lights. They seem to work just fine for me. I've been really happy with the Cygolites, and after using them in the rain several times they are still running just fine.
    [email protected]%K! Where the hell did that tree come from?!

  9. #9
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    I have a Light and Motion 350 in front, and the L and M tail-light that came as a set highly recommended by my LBS. I also wear a reflective vest over my hoodie, one of those cheap solutions.

    So far, no issues. Strongly considering some helmet lights to avoid any potential issues.

  10. #10
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    My new headlight just came from Nashbar in the mail today, a Moon XP400, and it's awesome. Very bright on the highest setting, and still brighter than my old Zefal was when it's on the lowest setting. The strobe works well, but I cant ride with it on strobe, so I'm thinking of mounting the Zefal to the bars as well and using it on strobe. It's dim enough that the Moon will overpower it and I think I wont notice the strobing, but oncoming traffic will.
    I lost my taillight on the trail the other day, so I bought a new Bontrager Ember unit at my LBS yesterday. Both it and the Moon are USB rechargeable, both mount very securely and feel like well-made units. The Ember is tiny, mounts anywhere has a solid setting as well as strobe, and is bright enough. I also scored some great reflective tape in white that I think I'll cut some strips from to put on my frame since it's also white.

  11. #11
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    anyone using any out of the ordinary way to make sure you're seen?

  12. #12
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    Not terribly out of the ordinary, but I have retroreflective tape on my bike and child trailer. I need to add a second light to the trailer, and have thought about a flashing white light aimed at the trailer. There was some discussion of that method a while ago.
    Honestly, it's rare that people don't see me...it just a matter of if they choose to care enough to steer a couple feet further to the left, as hard as moving that wheel is. (rolls eyes)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Triaxtremec View Post
    Looking for some ideas people are using to make sure they are being seen on their commutes. Recently started commuting more and just want to make sure I'm visible. I'm currently using Sefras Thunderbolt front and rear in flash mode as well as an Exposure Diablo helmet light. Love to see pics of others set ups!
    In addition to my frame being covered in reflective tape, I run three lights each facing front and rear.

    Front:
    helmet light: .5W Planet Blaze
    blinking: Cateye Reflex
    solid: inexpensive Cree flashlight on handlebars

    Rear:
    back of helmet: Planet Bike 3H self leveling blinky
    back of saddlebag: Mars 4.0 set to solid
    chainstay: Planet Bike Superflash

    As you can see, I like a very bright solid light (Mars, Cree) to give others a decent point of reference for distance, and a not too powerful front flasher (Reflex) and with the rear flasher mounted low, I'm hopeful that once folks are close to it, they are basically above it, so it's not blinding them.

    The front helmet light I find invaluable for getting drivers attention (particularly when they are approaching from driveways/side streets), and the rear helmet blinky is part back-up in case other batteries are low, and having a rear light that far up is helpful with visibility with all the hills here and when I am amongst traffic.

    Once it gets dark during my commute I'll probably re-mount the yellow Fiber Flare light I got last winter, although I'm a little disappointed in how bright it's not. After Thanksgiving I'll mount a set of battery powered Christmas lights strung around the frame. Those don't really do anything for visibility, but in addition to putting a smile on my face, I think it humanizes me to some drivers.


    You asked for pics, here's a shot of my reflectivity in the flash of my phones camera:

    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  14. #14
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    Three 2 watt flashers on the back. One on my helmet, one on seatpost, one on commuter rack. On at all times regardless if it's day or night.
    2 Cygolite Hotshots (one on the helment, one on the rack)
    1 Serfas TL-200 on the seatpost

    Two headlamps out front. One on the helmet, one on the handlebars. On at all times regardless if it's day or night.
    1 Cheapo Cree Amazon special on the helmet.
    1 Serfast TSL-1500 on the handlebars.

    Continental Touring Plus 700 x 32 tires with Reflex Sidewalls.
    Amazon.com : Continental Touring Plus Reflex Bike Tire : Sports & Outdoors

    Endura Luminite II jacket in Hi-Vis Green with another LED winkie built into the back of the jacket. Took me a lot of searching to find the right hi-vis jacket with a LOT of reflective bits on it.
    Endura - Products

    I also wear a Kali Chakra Plus helmet in Hi-Vis green.
    Amazon.com : Kali Protectives Chakra Plus Neon Bike Helmet : Bike Helmet Green : Sports & Outdoors

    Somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 in additional visibility gear. What's your life worth to you? What's your life worth to your wife, your kids...??
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  15. #15
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    I can't say enough about riding with a cycling mirror too! One of the cheapest and best things I've done for safety.
    GoatRidesBikes.com
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    "I may be old and fat, but at least I'm slow." - Me

  16. #16
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    I have one small 3 led flashing light, one 300 lumen on steady and a fairly bright red flashing light on the back. Tends to get motorist attention around here.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeCOLORADO View Post
    I can't say enough about riding with a cycling mirror too! One of the cheapest and best things I've done for safety.
    +1
    ISO: 22" GT Rebound frame, year 2000 model

  18. #18
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    Some here have seen my video experiments with bike lights over the years.

    I am still playing with activating glo rim tape from either Rimskins or Nori Lights.

    Here is a video that shows my lights in action:



    I like the "where the hell he come from" in the return of the first lap. Also the one aiming of the helmet light at the camera shows how effective (though rude, not being hit trumps being rude). It also shows that at small angles even at a distance the rimskins lit by small UV flashlights are bright.

  19. #19
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    One video per post.

    In a car's low beams, the reflective Rimskins/Glo rim skins, light weights on the spokes, (reflective sidewalls like on my other bike), the brass fenders, the side output of front and rear lights, all show well:


  20. #20
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    The car light test with the Nori lights was from 20' but the fisheye lens makes it look like the other side of a 4 lane road. First bit no lights, second with lights shows that low beams wash out the lights and the reflecting surfaces are very important. BTW Hi Vis clothing is mostly above the low beams so mostly useless in this situation. No helmet lights which add, and certainly no aiming the front hemet light at the driver/camera which is very effective:


  21. #21
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    Some combinations closer:



    What we see up close to the bike in the dark is not what the driver sees. The video camera was the most low-light sensitive POV camera available at the time. I figure it has night vision like some elderly drivers who still can drive at night.

    The plan is to test the improved Nori light system after Christmas.

    Nori Lights v.2 - Complete 2 Wheel System

  22. #22
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    ^ great videos BrianMc. Thanks for answering so many questions in 4 clips.

    I will continue to wear the reflective vest when riding in low light. Even if the cars don't see me much more, it makes my wife feel much better about the whole cycling thing. I think I'll have another look through the forestry and road work suppliers catalogs for reflective britches.

  23. #23
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    ^ Hard to dig them out of the old threads they were first posted in, so I helped there. With time I have a better sense of what they are saying, so worth a revisit in this thread. I spent all that time to help people here as much as myself. I owed people like Mechbegon who helped me. Pass it on.

    The reflective vest and yellow jacket still show up under street lights, high beams, and some from the rear so I wear them at night. With colder weather a rain/wind pant with a reflective side ribbon about 2" wide or bright yellow rain pants might help.

    I also tried a small flashlight washing the front and the back. That does work, but getting the rear one set correctly is very hard (so no good video of that but you can get an idea form the front one that it would work well) and the brightest front one (big Maglight) can steal some night vision if not positioned just so.



    You-tube erased my soundtrack, though.

    For the most part, when night riding I get lots of room from motorists. Others also report that. The aim able helmet light I think but can't prove, averted several apparent imminent left hooks. Used as a one might use a horn to alert a driver, it is rude but works on def drivers, too! You are on your own with blind drivers. My older eyes need the headlight power, but the main reason for more power was to increase daytime visibility.

    Another approach:

    Amazon.com: Badger 360° LED Jacket for Cycling and Running: Clothing

    Some Glo tape near the LEDs would help.

    Deimatic Clothing - Will Verity

    An interesting idea, though a rear facing white light is illegal in most (all?) states. Also riding sans lights, helmet, and a mirror seems incongruous with the level of paranoia needed to don the jacket. It does stand out in traffic, though. Would it still do so if over half of cyclists used one?

  24. #24
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    That Deimatic vest is an interesting concept, though it seems light red or yellow lights might be more appropriate and threatening. Beyond the lack of helmets and lights, a rear facing blink vest won't do her much good if any of those doors she passes decided to open.

  25. #25
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    With the advent of cheap, excessively bright LEDs, I also think that it's easier to be seen at night than during the day, assuming that the drivers can take their eyes off their facebook app for a second.

    Slightly more problematic is seeing potholes and road cracks at speed (at least for skinny road tires). With dark wet pavement, I can miss stuff even with stupid-bright headlights. I should probably start shifting commuting duty back to the mountain bike soon.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  26. #26
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    ^ Some use an additional low mounted light to accentuate shadows.

    The Nob will let you mount almost anywhere on a fork blade:

    http://www.amazon.com/Cronometro-Bic.../dp/B0065ZN1WS

    There are also QR mounts:

    Problem Solvers Quick Release Light Mount

    I understand that you would aim your main lights a bit farther and set the low one to highlight the near area so you can see sticks and potholes better.

  27. #27
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    Interesting B & M tail lights:

    A Wide narrow banded light beam that drivers can intuitively pickup distance clues form (assuming they are looking and not texting):

    For bikes with Dynos:

    Busch & Müller Toplite Line Plus Rack Mount Generator Taillight - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts

    With a pulsing brake light:

    Busch & Müller Toplight Line Plus BrakeTec w/Pulse. Rack Mount Generator Taillight - Harris Cyclery bicycle shop - West Newton, Massachusetts

    Scroll down for battery versions of this light with and without a on only at noght and moving feature (but no brake light):

    Bicycle taillights for dynamo

    The Relite-D:

    Amazon.com : Busch and Muller Relite D LED Bike Tail Light : Sports & Outdoors

    Judging by 24 hour run time with two AA's, the 4 LEDs are 0.5 Watt or equal to a Cygolite Hotshot (one 2-watt LED). Guessing about 100 lumens. NiMH rechargeable AA's will reduce the runtime some, but an interesting solid on light.

  28. #28
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    This does work, which is why I cannot understand how guys can trail ride with just a light on their helmet. Without any shadows I was plowing into everything...

    I have considered and attempted fork-mounted lights in the past, although mounting at axle level seems *really low* to me.

    Truth be told, the nastiest road hazards are the cracks that run parallel to my direction of travel, which often lack edges that create big shadows from the bike's vantage point. There are a lot of these cracks that are wider than a road bike tire, but fortunately almost none the width of a mountain bike tire.
    The above statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration

  29. #29
    jrm
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    Ive adapted my work schedule so that im only riding in the dark in the morning when i use a shuttle bridge between home and work. This also means that longer afternoon rides will prevail after the winter solstice. Pulsating light and rear blinkie FTW so far.

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  31. #31
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    Think I might add the exposure maxxd to my set up as well as the exposure redeye to my helmet mounted diablo. Should be a bright effective set up that can be quickly removed when I get to my destination.

  32. #32
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    I use either a helmet mounted NiteRider cordless 600 or TridenX 600 (with lots of battery life for long rides) and a (cheap) triple blinky red LED on the back. Most of my clothes and shoes also have reflective strips on them.

    Works fine for fast paced urban assaults ride in and around Washington, DC, in the woods or anywhere in between.
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  33. #33
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    I originally bought some battery-powered LED light strands to wrap around our frames for a Brewery Bike Tour I arranged with some friends. I like them so much, I haven't taken them off my commuter.
    http://www.amazon.com/Operated-RTGS-...A01WQ6C4TA0HR4

    Now that its getting dark earlier, how are you making sure you're seen?-img_1262.jpg

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