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  #1  
Old 13 Dec 2007
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Blue flickering headlight - Safer?

From my driving and riding I notice in the dark a bike's headlight sometimes I cannot tell from a car (could be one cars headlight) and since I cannot see or make out the other light I cannot tell how far away he/she is (the biker). This is worst with lots of cars on the road behind you so you cannot 'pair' headlights together to tell exactly where the cars are (or bike)

Also If I see a bike with a red/green/blue (not blue tint but BLUE) headlight I know it is a bike straight away - it also attracts your attention - you SEE it. More effective still are headlights which appear to flicker maybe this is the bike jolting up and down a bit maybe slightly dodgy electrics or maybe a unit to make the flickering? but I would say you are 10x more likely to see a flickering blue headlight and know it is a bike over a standard white lamp.

The best examples I have seen are sportsbikes.

So if I were to ride on the road a lot (which I dont) I would try to get one of these for my safety - the only downsides I can think could be getting pulled by the cops, you need a second lamp to do this I don't think relying on a blue lamp to see the road is very good and the cost/effort to put a blue bulb in.

Similarly a flickering (or even flashing) rear light would be more effective, sometimes if on a country road with a car following I touch the brake quite a bit so the brake light flashes and they cannot miss me (or hopefully do miss me!)

Any comments, would you do this is it a good / bad idea?
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  #2  
Old 13 Dec 2007
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The two most important mods to a bike (IMHO) are a massively louder horn and additional 'presence' lights.

The only legal colours for headlights are white or yellow. Blue lights are illegal. HID (xenon) lights can appear to have a blue tint depending on the temperature rating, but the deeper blue ones are less effective. Lights that flicker automatically are also illegal.

I have two sets of auxilliary lights on my 1200GSA. The first set are normal bulbs with a fairly wide spread and are permanently on (although there is a switch) to give me additional 'presence' on the road. Cars and other traffic see a triangle of lights which is much more attention grabbing than a single light. In some countries a single light implies a moped or low capacity bike and I want the traffic to know something big is their way headed!

The other set of lights are HID and light up the road ahead like Blackpool illuminations. HIDs need balasts to handle the high voltage needed to fire them up, and my ballasts are stored under the beak of the bike. They come on automatically with main beam, although they are also switchable. As well as providing brilliant illumination they are great for filtering, especially if I do a slow main beam flash - off - flash - off. What I would really like is what's called 'wig wag' lights where one side comes on, then the other, but as I wrote above, these are illegal if they work automatically, though if you wired something up that was manually operated it would be OK.

I believe flickering rear lights are also illegal, though you will see when you get out to Morocco that the Dakar bikes all have flickering rear safety lights. Have a look at Nippy Norman's site for some examples of lighting systems (though BM oriented) and extra loud horns. There must be other suppliers, so perhaps someone else will add to the thread.

Tim
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Last edited by Tim Cullis; 13 Dec 2007 at 11:08.
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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flickering light is not new

about 25 years ago, a device was marketed in the UK that rapidly pulsed the headlight of a Bike to make it more visible (so fast that it was still OK at night, but it just DREW your attention) the Police and Authorities soon made it Illegal to have one as "The only vehicles that should have any form of 'flashing light' ie: A strobe, are emergency vehicles, fire, police and ambulance"

Just to add some extra ( reason for editing this post) Something Tim Cullis said in the previous post Jogged memories deep within.
Although a flashing light ON your BIKE is Illegal, TECHNICALLY there is NOTHING in the law to stop you wearing one on your person! horse riders have strap on flashing leg mounted lights.

Just a thought! Blue 12v House alarm strobe light stuck on the top of your lid anyone??? as long as it has a separate power supply to the bike...... ( Just dont quote me in Court and say Martynbiker said it was OK!)

Martyn

Last edited by Martynbiker; 13 Dec 2007 at 11:52. Reason: xtra info
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Personal lighting

If I'm riding a bicycle in poor visibility I use a flashing light as it does attract attention, so maybe a stand alone light attached to your jacket would work. I wonder if it wouldn't be lost in the dazzle behind your headlight though.

Worryingly, I saw some (swedish, I think) reasearch a while back that said it was not that car drivers don't see motorcyclists; they don't look for us! According to the research, humans are so tribal that, when a driver arrives at a junction he looks right and left to see if there are others like him (ie driving cars), and if there are none, there is nothing there so he pulls out. Motorcyclists include other motorcyclists in their "tribe", so we look for bikes before pulling out, even when we are driving cars. I'm not convinced though, why do they always mangage to see trucks? If it is true however, it is something to bear in mind. I don't know what sort of light would work in that case - twin headlights so you look like an approaching car? But they'd be close together so you would look a long way away.

God! This is negative. I#m starting to wonder why I risk riding a bike after writing all that. It's because I enjoy it!
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Tim - see my reply to your thread in the Sahara forum - what are your plans for the Dakar?

As for blue lights yes - illegal but would you get fined more than once a year? A small price to pay maybe for being very visible - also since the cops would have to fine you I think most would understand you trying to be safe - particularly if you are ridng safely when they stop you and would probably just give you a caution / tell you to change the bulb back (I guess).

I was thinking of more a flickering light than flashing - still draws the attension but cops would have a hard time saying it wasn't your dodgy electrics rather than something you have added.

Yes Dakar bikes use a flashing light - yes you can see then better - yes the cops use flashing lights you notice them better - in fact part of the reason people may see a blue flickering light so well may be the cops use them but at least they see them!

If it's legal to wear whetever lights you want on your person while you ride I saw a high vis vest with LED's built in on screwfix but I can't find it anymore...

Also maybe it's surprising no helmet manufacturers don't have LED's built in.
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Why not just stick a yellow revolving light on top of your helmet? (crash helmet, that is).

John
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redboots View Post
Why not just stick a yellow revolving light on top of your helmet? (crash helmet, that is).

John
I was just about to mention them when I got to this post; so, how about the green flashing light that doctors' personal cars can use?

But yes, the yellow revolving flashers are relatively easy to find in safety, construction stores and the like. There are lots of highway employee vehicles driving around on the UK motorways with one on show in the back window. (Anyone from outside the UK must be bored with this discussion by now).

I can see some logic in the "tribal" research. We would all look out for larger vehicles, such as trucks, because they are the bigger predators that will do us serious damage if we ignore them! Self preservation instinct basically.
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post

I can see some logic in the "tribal" research. We would all look out for larger vehicles, such as trucks, because they are the bigger predators that will do us serious damage if we ignore them! Self preservation instinct basically.
Ah!,, so that is why some modern bikes look like trucks ( and weigh the same too )
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Old 13 Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post
I was just about to mention them when I got to this post;


Years ago, there used to be an advert in MCN for the "BackLite"

A forward facing, white light was mounted behind the rider so that it illuminated him/her for visibility.

Cant believe anyone ever bought one, but if someone invented it, there was bound to be a like minded individual that stumped up the ready's.

J
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Old 14 Dec 2007
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The threat ...

Many years ago here the police bikes were black .. if you had a black bike you were 'seen' by all the other road users.

Now I have an expolice white bike .. I do notice I get 'seen' .. well, if I wash it.
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Old 22 Dec 2007
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sorry did'nt see you

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walkabout View Post

I can see some logic in the "tribal" research. We would all look out for larger vehicles, such as trucks, because they are the bigger predators that will do us serious damage if we ignore them! Self preservation instinct basically.
i'm a truck driver as well as a biker and am sorry to say car drivers dont see us neither!!!! so you need to make your bike bigger and more visible than my 44 ton white truck! and it takes a bit of time to stop these things!!! you just need good defensive riding, i've been on the road 21yrs without accident but always on the lookout for a t**t in a car! mind i've had close shaves!
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