Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I think it's ironic on the day that I'm so psyched about going all dual beam up front that a woman pulls up to me at a stop light and tells me she almost hit me and I need to be more visible.
I say "thank you", and she says "I'm not trying to be mean I just had a hard time seeing you".
Again I thank her, and when the light changes we head our separate ways.

My first thought is "I have two red taillights, and two headlights and you have a hard time seeing me?"  But I soon except the reality that if I'm hard to see by anyone (no matter what I think) I could be dead.
I hate the Dead.

So as I ride along I ponder how am I hard to see?  No I don't have any reflective tape on my bike, and I should probably (definitely) change that, but the Planet Bike Blinky 7 is a freakin' beacon.  Rudolph ain't got nothin' on that bad boy...when the batteries aren't dead or dying.

I've been running it in "constant on mode" because of some internet wisdom that it is more visible that way.  I guess that wears those little AAAs out right quick.  I believe I picked up this light in August after my old tail light was jettisoned on some of Crazytown's finest roads.

Guess I'll have to run it all blinky or be more vigilant about changing the batteries every 3 months.

10 comments:

Dan said...

I run my rear on flashing. I think blinking is the way to go it screams hey look at me everytime it flashes. Where as the solid just says hi I'm here but it isn't really catchy/annoying enough for someone to pay attention to other then that first glance.

SteveS said...

I had a similar thing happen to me a couple years back. Riding home at night on a side street a woman rolls down her window. Slows as she passes me and informs me she can't see me very well. The first thought in my head was a wise ass comment given that I had the blinky tail light going and some reflective clothing on. Then, like yourself, I realized it doesn't matter what I'm doing, the fact is it wasn't good enough for her to see me. I think I managed a "thanks" before she drove off. After that I put a bunch of reflective tape on the commuter and run two tail lights, one on the bag and one on the bike. Both blinking.

Also, when the batteries are starting to go they can seem all bright and stuff when you turn it on but 5 minutes later, when you are no longer looking at them, be a lot dimmer than you think.

finn maguire said...

I won a fluorescent green jacket at Massasoit this year. When I wear that, there's a noticeable difference in the way drivers treat me. Definitely seems to stick out.
And fwiw, I go blinky too.

CB2 said...

@SteveS
Funny you should mention that, because as I stole some batteries from the label maker I accidentally activated the light and it was bright as hell.
Hope the label maker's fare better in the cold (until I can put fresh ones in at home).

Hill Junkie said...

It is hard for drivers to identify what you are and how far away you are with a single blinky. Remember, perception is also identification. When I ride road at night, I also wear 2" wide reflective ankle bands. This is highly visible from any direction and helps drivers identify you. It is close to the ground too, so headlights pick it up well. This can be even more effective than typical blinkies. Costs almost nothing, uses no batteries, and takes 20sec to put on.

Alby King said...

I wear screaming yellow pretty much year round. The blinky: Planet bike Superflash (1/2 watt) or Portland Design Radbot for rainy weather (1W). My pannier has a good reflector patch and the rain bike has a DOT C2 reflector on the fender. Are you running a helmet light? That really helps at intersections & driveways.

CB2 said...

@ Hill Junkie- 20 secoonds seems like kind of an ass-grinder.
I have two rear lights, the one on the chainstay I had flashing, and the one on the seatbag was solid. Rode home with it blinking tonight and it was nice and bright.

@Alby- No helmet light as when I've ridden the road to the mtb trails with one drivers seemed to freakout.
Sounds like you've got quite the setup.
Definitely got to reflectivize my fenders

SteveS said...

Personally, I think the chain stay light is more uselss than you think. Conceptually it's nice because it's on the outside of the bike. But, if a line cars are passing you only the first car in the line saw it. I think the higher you can place the 2nd light the better.

CB2 said...

That should be seatstay Steve S. It's just a secondary light whose main purpose is securing my pump.

pi11wizard said...

You need to make yourself one of these Charlie: http://pi11wizard.wordpress.com/2011/08/16/pimp-my-ride-staying-visible-on-the-commute/

It puts out a ridiculous amount of light and has a really good viewable angle whereas blinkies and front lights can't be seen from the side. It only costs about 20 bucks to build too.

I'm also rocking one of these: Another reflective brightly coloured things can't hurt can it?