What about side lights?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    What about side lights?

    I'm trying to minimize the chances of a dumb driver hitting me at night. Drivers here (Boston) are pretty clueless. I'm planning on a bright tail light and a ridiculously bright headlight, but I don't think that gives me any protection from the side. Any suggestions as to what to use to make me visible from the side so that I don't get broadsided? Something waterproof ideally, as the weather is often less than dry here...

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Maybe something like this, though you would look like a UFO on the trail

    http://www.rockthebike.com/down-low-glow

  3. #3
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    If the goal is to be seen and not necessarily to be able to see on your sides then you probably don't need a light. 3M makes some super highly reflective tape called Scotchlite Reflective Tape. It's the stuff they use in life preservers on boats. It's very inexpensive ($2-3 a roll) and it comes in all kinds of colors. I've seen guys with small bands around their forks and top/down tubes. In the day time it just looks like a stripe or regular tape, but when you hit it with a direct light, it's glows.

    Here's a link to a guy that did his whole bike in the stuff. In the day it looks black

    but at night with direct light on it, it glows


    Here's the site i got those pictures from:
    https://theredproject.com/brightbike/

  4. #4
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    I've done a few lights with integrated amber side lighting.
    Use an open tube and seal the ends with coloured epoxy.





    Quite effective:

    Thread here.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by guaps
    If the goal is to be seen and not necessarily to be able to see on your sides then you probably don't need a light. 3M makes some super highly reflective tape called Scotchlite Reflective Tape. It's the stuff they use in life preservers on boats. It's very inexpensive ($2-3 a roll) and it comes in all kinds of colors. I've seen guys with small bands around their forks and top/down tubes. In the day time it just looks like a stripe or regular tape, but when you hit it with a direct light, it's glows.

    Here's a link to a guy that did his whole bike in the stuff. In the day it looks black

    but at night with direct light on it, it glows


    Here's the site i got those pictures from:
    https://theredproject.com/brightbike/
    That looks pretty good - I really love how the wheels look. I just took a look at mine and my rims just aren't deep enough for that, unfortunately.

    Since it's just relying on reflections from headlights, it'll be most effective when the car is directly to the side of you. At that point it's already too late I think.

  6. #6
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    What you really really want is active lighting of yourself, ie torches pointing at you so even if the cars lights aren't pointing anywhere near you they'll see you.

    Hard to do on the sides though, without out riggers

  7. #7
    PCC
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    How about putting one of these on your second water bottle? It'll be seen from just about every direction and your moving legs will make it flash, so to speak.

  8. #8
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    I do like that bottle I must admit, Tempted been meaning to get a bottle cage for the hybrid.

    Also I bought 1 of those plastic yellow reflective goes around your waste and a loop over your 1 shoulder jobbies, sliced the plastic up and wrapped it around my rear seat stays and front of the frame to improve all round visibility as it's a black frame doh!! works well, also glued it to my rucksack, rear and sides to further make myself visible.

    Got that better reflection white stuff on my rucksack aswell, bought a cheap 5 safety vest and cut that up to

    Still hate road riding, but it's just about okay 11pm+ mid week when there are no cars around at all.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by PCC
    How about putting one of these on your second water bottle? It'll be seen from just about every direction and your moving legs will make it flash, so to speak.
    Thanks PCC, that looks like a great idea, the reviews point out a few drawbacks in the design, but the idea itself is really cool. I was trying to find out what color it uses, but so far the info I have found indicates it is orange which would be good for the side light on a bike (may not be legal to use other colors). I may need to pick one up - or hack one up.

    I think the "down low glow" looks like a cold cathode lamp, which you can get for a car (will run off 12v), so it could be done much cheaper as a DIY thing with similar results.

    Also Harbor Freight sells a roll of similar reflective tape for trucks which comes in a alternating red and white which could be a cheap way to get some to try out.

  10. #10
    PCC
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    What I was thinking of doing was to run two water bottles. One on the downtube and one on the seat tube. The one on the seat tube is the one with the light and the other one uses the normal cap so that I can drink while riding. When the downtube water bottle runs low I just swap caps and put the empty bottle on the seat tube.

  11. #11
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    I use pedal lights.

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