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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151

    visibility in dark commute

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    Apologies if this has been covered recently, but I've been riding in in the dark in the am, and once the time changes, will be riding home in the dark in the pm. I have a primarily urban commute and I've noticed that cars pulling out of driveways don't see me even though I can see them-- I think my handlebar-mounted light is blocked by parked cars. I want to get a helmet mounted light to increase the chance that this type of vehicle will see me coming. Any suggestions on a helmet-mountable light (brand, and how to mount)?

    Ideally, it is something that's easy to take on and off since I won't use it for weekend daytime rides (just for the commute).
    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,957
    Whatever light you decide upon, make certain you know how long the battery will last before you purchase it. I've the Stella Vis 360 helmet light that I use - but the charge really only lasts about 55 minutes. It is USB chargable and comes with a large red flasher for the back of your helmet. It is very easy to put on/take off your helmet.

    Bottom line, if your commute is under 1 hour this wouldn't be a bad choice. If it is longer, then you would need to use one of the lower light settings to conserve the charge and I wouldn't be comfortable with that. It is bright enough at the highest setting, but not so bright that I would be comfortable using it in the country away from ambient lighting. There is lighting on the side of the front light as well, which helps to increase side-visibility.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Austin, TX
    Posts
    206
    Do you have drop bars? I do, and I find that the brake hoods block the line of sight between my headlight and cars coming up on side streets. I supplement my big main headlight with a little blinking Spok light on the drop of my right handlebar and way fewer cars pull out in front of me.

    Or you can do a helmet light. I recently bought a new headlight, and while I was shopping around I noticed that most of the headlight manufacturers seem to be making a helmet mount these days. Sometimes it's included with the light and sometimes you buy it separately.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Posts
    6,479
    So long as the wheels are still turning, life is good.

    Battswebb

    Pinarello Quattro~CAADX~ Zurich Lemond
    Specialized Romin Saddles

    Surly Krampus!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    109
    I have a helmet mounted light that I love. Three out of the 4 employees in my office who ride to work this time of year use the same kind. It was made by GeoManGear but when I went to get a link for this message, I discovered they went out of business over the summer, which is really too bad. So all I can do is echo the advice to find a nice, bright, rechargeable light for your helmet. It lets you make "eye contact" with any driver that you think might be overlooking you - and gets an instant response!

    The one I use is pretty heavy, and a little bit of a hassle to take on and off. In fact the light unit plugs into a battery pack that you carry in a pocket, so there's a cord running up my back and into my helmet. Not exactly elegant but worth it for the long battery life and brightness it produces. I put it on an older helmet, one that still has useful life in it but that I opted to replace with a better vented one for summer use. So instead of taking the light on and off, I just switch helmets for weekend rides.

    edited to add: I also use these for side visibility - and because they're fun: http://www.rei.com/product/774213/ni...ke-wheel-light
    Last edited by ZenBiker; 11-01-2012 at 03:41 PM.
    Road bike: Specialized Ruby Comp (2011)
    Commuter: Salsa Vaya (2012)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    California
    Posts
    488
    When I put a blinking light on the front of my bike I realized I became much more visible to cars. Far fewer close calls. I use this light to see http://www.rei.com/product/826129/ni...750-bike-light and this light to be scene http://www.rei.com/product/843467/ni...350-bike-light. I never realized how much money I had invested in bike lights. Yikes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Utah
    Posts
    109
    After discovering GeoMan Gear was out of business (see earlier post) I looked around and found that the light I bought from them is basically a Magicshine light like this one:
    http://magicshineusa.com/products/li...men-bike-light

    The specs on mine are very similar. The battery will operate 180 minutes at the highest brightness setting. I like how the power button on the light changes color to show how much charge you have left, and the brightness and span of light thrown. Like I said earlier it is kind of heavy and you deal with a separate battery pack and cord. But it's a lot of light for the money and can be mounted on a helmet or handlebars.
    Road bike: Specialized Ruby Comp (2011)
    Commuter: Salsa Vaya (2012)

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Indianapolis IN
    Posts
    328
    I got this one on ebay...I love it...the actual light has about 7 differet settings and the laser lines has the normal solid setting and blinking setting as well.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Love Never Fails
    2012 Giant Revel 1 -MTB
    2013 Giant Defy 5 - RB(Commute/Easy Rides) "Trooper"
    2012 Diamondback Response XE MTB (my son's)

    13' FUJI SUPREME 1.3C (Selle Italia Diva/Easton EC70 SL) "My Girl"

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Boise Idaho
    Posts
    1,192
    had to laugh at the DH last night so am bringing this up. He reset his generator powered light on his commuter and in the process cleaned the light. So he comes home and said "huh, amazing what cleaning your light will do to improve brightness" So on that note, grab the alcohol or windex or whatever you use and wipe off all your lights. I know it is something I don't think about.
    Sky King
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    Empowering the Bicycle Traveler
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    I'll second all the suggestions for helmet, down lighting and side lighting. I look like a traveling carnival, but no one should ever be able to say they don't see me....from the front, behind or the side. I have a helmet light (Stella 200) a small flasher on my handlebars (Flea) Two rear red blinkers (Flea on my messenger bag, Dinotte on my bike), A blue bar LED on my downtube and a green flasher on my valve stem (cheapo from Toys R' Us, with overpowered silver calculator batteries put in it) Not to mention various reflective bits here there and everywhere. Most of this comes off pretty easily for daytime training rides - just the downtube light is zip tied on pretty permanently.
    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    SF bay area
    Posts
    151
    Thanks for all of the suggestions! I currently have a niterider mininewt mounted on my drop bars and a cateye red rear light mounted on my tool bag. I definitely want to improve side visibility as well as getting a helmet light. I'm pretty happy with the niterider, though it doesn't do a terrific job at illuminating the actual street surface (a problem on darker streets).

    Can't wait for the time to change so my longer morning ride is in the light! Or more of it, at least.
    thanks again,
    NM

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    WA State
    Posts
    4,391
    Here's my commuter in all of it's light show glory (sorry it's just a bad ipod photo though). This doesn't include my helmet or messenger bag lights of course. The dinotte rear light is pretty thermo nuclear bright.....
    The green on on the front spins with the wheel as well as flashing, so it's pretty eye catching. The blue one puts a pretty good light pool on the ground and also catches my front fender.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    "Sharing the road means getting along, not getting ahead" - 1994 Washington State Driver's Guide

    visit my flickr stream http://flic.kr/ps/MMu5N

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Longmont, Colorado
    Posts
    23
    I'm currently using a flashlight mounted to my handlebar with an innertube. Its remarkably sturdy and a very good way to have a light. But, soon I'll have to replace the batteries in the flashlight. I also don't have a rear light, which concerns me. I figured I should just buy another bottle generator- the cheap plastic one I got for free off a free mountain bike quit on me- it had seemed pretty abused to start with, but I loved it while it did work.

    So, any suggestions for a generator light set? I think LED bulbs might be brighter or last longer, and I've heard some sets have a way to keep the lights lit as you stop pedaling to wait for a red traffic light or something, so I'd prefer those features I think.

    Edit: I also have some spoke lights! Two green ones, since that is my favorite color. They are simply circles and you twist them to turn on or back off. The only time that becomes a pain is when its raining and they are wet- i might cut little notches int he edges to give some grippy texture to them. I mounted one on each wheel opposite from the reflector. I've only seen one other bike with wheel lights like these, but s/he looked fantastic! My roommate was driving us and he saw the bike a long way off and we had no idea what it was at first. It made me so happy to realize that my cute little happy lights might be so much more useful than I'd thought.
    Last edited by redeyedtreefr0g; 11-02-2012 at 05:54 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Columbia, MO
    Posts
    2,051
    In addition to lights, try a different lane position. If you are being hidden by parked cars, you may be riding too close to them. That puts you in the "door zone" and you can be hit by an opening door or run into an opening door.

    I love my generator hub, but it doesn't help with side visibility. I have monkey lights & a downlow glow for that. I had a helmet light a few years ago, but it kept slipping off my helmet. It wasn't a cheap light either, so I would think it wasn't just a matter of quality. I was really disappointed because it sounded great for side visibility. But maybe they've improved the design since then.
    2009 Trek 7.2FX WSD, brooks Champion Flyer S, commuter bike

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    5
    I do a lot of night mountain bike riding, so have good lights from that, but I actually love them for commuting as well...I used to just use a few blinky lights, $20.00 bucks or so from the local bike shop...but I recently bought a few Exposure lights for night riding, and my night commuting has gotten way more fun...my bar light is the 1200 lumen Toro and helmet light is 1100 lumen Diablo...I also use a rear blinky just for extra lighting. It might seem excessive, but I think there is nothing better than being 100% confident that I am seen and I have a lot more fun, and feel that I have more freedom to ride around at night...they are pricey, but definitely worth it to me

 

 

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