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Using Strobes on the Trail

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Using Strobes on the Trail

Old 06-18-19, 12:09 AM
  #51  
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Please don't turn this into a complain thread.

I'd simply like to ask those of you who use high powered strobe lights on the rail trails to please stop.

I'm not talking about crowded, meandering inner-city MUPs where crowds of pedestrians might make a flasher appropriate. I'm talking about high powered stobes out on long rail trails in the middle of nowhere where there are only cyclists.

I'm also not talking about the little diode on the front of your GPS or some other very low powered light but high powered LED lights on strobe setting.

They are simply not needed. Beyond that, they also interrupt the vision of cyclists coming the other way.

As a courtesy to other cyclists please turn your high powered strobes when you get to the trail. Thanks.


-Tim-
I cannot like this post enough!!!!

A light does not need to turn into a disco and if you think you are being seen, blinding someone isn't being seen. I have to block my eyes making it harder to see things or my vision is impaired for a bit after encountering it. I can understand if you are trying to signal someone in an emergency but then you should probably also say something like "help, help!"

If you have issues riding on a multi use path where you feel you need to turn on a disco strobe light then maybe don't ride there because nobody else feels the need to be blinded.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:04 AM
  #52  
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I don't use the front or rear flashing selector on my lights when riding, but what I will do when coming into people that I think won't see me is to wag my handlebars when approaching to make my headlight appear to flash. Seems to work well and I get a fully lit view forward when pedalling otherwise.

As mentioned earlier, everyone ought to check the aim of their headlights as they begin each ride. It helps the rider see the road better and it keeps others from being blinded.

Now, if you want a complaint from me, it's the people in cars that turn on their hazard lights when it rains. Those hazard lights strobe the eyes just like bright bike lights can. Plus, each rain drop on a windshield multiplies the quantity of those hazard lights in a drivers eyes. It's just wonderful, let me tell ya.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:12 AM
  #53  
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Happened to me last night. We were probably the only two trail users for a mile and this ****** comes through with a 10000000 lumen front light on disco flash. Dude, screw you. I sometimes can't fathom why people think certain things are OK to do. Situational awareness is totally beyond lots of people's mental capacity.

I think that strobe would only work with inner city with lots of overhead street lights, then I'd give it a pass.
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Old 06-18-19, 07:14 AM
  #54  
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I use a cheap set of lights on my road bike, even on our local MUP (with many shaded areas). They are 3 LED lights, but are cheap and just bright enough that I can be seen in the shadows of the trees. I did have a bike coming toward me on the MUP that must have had the lights being discussed--it was flashing and VERY bright-enough that I had to turn away to avoid it-I'd compare it to the HID lights on new cars, that bright! I'm all for being seen on trails or MUPS with overhanging trees causing shadows where a (not so bright) light helps with being seen, but it doesn't have to be so bright that you could ride at night on the road with it!
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Old 06-18-19, 07:31 AM
  #55  
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I like to mount a red strobe light on my handle bars and a white strobe light on my back - just to mess with people.


I kid... I kid....
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Old 06-18-19, 08:19 AM
  #56  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I disagree.

In some places in the urban setting, there are just too many lights.

Low street lights.
Auto Lights.
etc.

The strobes help differentiate the bike from the background.

Nonetheless, the power should be set to a medium level. Not super-bright, not super-dim.

And, point the focal point of the light away from people's eyes.

Personally, I find the strobes annoying for riding, although those sinusoidal bright/dim lights aren't too bad.
Slow blink rate, maybe, but I have a hard time picturing a scenario where the light would get lost in the background at any distance where I actually need to know your position. Bike paths tend to be very narrow, and we're either looking straight at the other rider ahead or the other rider is around a bend, in which case, I'm not going to see the light anyway.

Fast strobes don't help anything, and make it very hard to a) judge the position as we close b) obscure the visibility of other nearby bicycles. I mentioned the incident where the fast strobe on Dad's bike made it impossible to tell that his kid was riding alongside him.

I really have no problems with the bright dim lights, but I haven't seen a lot of them. The problem with the strobe is it makes your pupils constantly set for the wrong level of light. Slower transitions and/or blinking rates don't have that effect because the pupils actually do adjust fairly fast, just not several times a second.
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Old 06-18-19, 08:23 AM
  #57  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I don't use the front or rear flashing selector on my lights when riding, but what I will do when coming into people that I think won't see me is to wag my handlebars when approaching to make my headlight appear to flash. Seems to work well and I get a fully lit view forward when pedalling otherwise.

As mentioned earlier, everyone ought to check the aim of their headlights as they begin each ride. It helps the rider see the road better and it keeps others from being blinded.

Now, if you want a complaint from me, it's the people in cars that turn on their hazard lights when it rains. Those hazard lights strobe the eyes just like bright bike lights can. Plus, each rain drop on a windshield multiplies the quantity of those hazard lights in a drivers eyes. It's just wonderful, let me tell ya.
I believe drivers ed tells you not to use the high beams in misty, foggy or rainy conditions.
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Old 06-18-19, 08:25 AM
  #58  
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Originally Posted by freeranger View Post
I use a cheap set of lights on my road bike, even on our local MUP (with many shaded areas). They are 3 LED lights, but are cheap and just bright enough that I can be seen in the shadows of the trees. I did have a bike coming toward me on the MUP that must have had the lights being discussed--it was flashing and VERY bright-enough that I had to turn away to avoid it-I'd compare it to the HID lights on new cars, that bright! I'm all for being seen on trails or MUPS with overhanging trees causing shadows where a (not so bright) light helps with being seen, but it doesn't have to be so bright that you could ride at night on the road with it!
Worst is when you encounter a pair of riders with those. The asynchronized flashing makes the blinding effect even worse.
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Old 06-18-19, 05:40 PM
  #59  
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
... wag my handlebars when approaching to make my headlight appear to flash. Seems to work well...
Oh I do that when there are dog walkers up ahead. It takes very little movement and it works 8/10 times, vastly reducing the need to use the bell.
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Old 06-18-19, 11:28 PM
  #60  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
On the rare occasion that I'm on a rail trail, and am rocking a strobe that day, it's not on. I'm not fredly like that.

What you seem to not be able to understand is that being amused by your hypocrisy, and other folks ignoring your plea, does not mean that I am predisposed to ride on rail trails with a strobe on.
So basically, you would have been fine with this thread if he hadn't said he didn't want it to turn into a "complain thread"? Yeah, that's not a petty point at all. Slow day at the nitpicking salon?
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Old 06-19-19, 10:26 AM
  #61  
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
So basically, you would have been fine with this thread if he hadn't said he didn't want it to turn into a "complain thread"? Yeah, that's not a petty point at all. Slow day at the nitpicking salon?
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Old 06-19-19, 06:36 PM
  #62  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
Of course the thread would have been fine without his hypocritical whine. It still would have been funny, just not quite as much.


Just out of curiosity, what was your screen name the last time you got banned?​​​​​
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Old 06-19-19, 06:51 PM
  #63  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
"livedarklions#1fan"
/ignore. Bye.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:17 PM
  #64  
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If I attend the theater and the production includes strong lighting effects, whether full strobes or not, there will be a sign on the door of the theater warning me. The ticket taker will speak to me about the strong lights. The program will contain an insert warning of the strong lights to come. Before the play begins the house manager will come out in front of curtain and deliver yet another warning. This is both the law and insurance regulations. Because strobe lights are plain dangerous. Neurological conditions that are triggered or aggravated by strobe lights are fairly common. Significant numbers of people are harmed by strobes.

Of course out on the road you can do anything you please. Even if in a jurisdiction where your strobe is illegal the chances the police are going to do anything are exceedingly slim. The chances that you will inflict pain, suffering, injury are quite good. But you don't care so go ahead and do anything you please.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:38 PM
  #65  
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Stobes on front and rear, (adjustable to steady or off) for the road where cars also go are good. Strobes on the trail are bad.
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Old 06-20-19, 05:27 PM
  #66  
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Exposure to strobes directly in my face from other cyclists has a deleterious effect on my blood pressure and mood. Does that count as being harmed by said strobes?
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Old 06-20-19, 11:59 PM
  #67  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
Nope, and nope.

"For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures"
How many thousands of people see the strobe lights on your bike?

Tell me how many people have epilepsy. Tell me how many have photosensitive epilepsy. Look up those numbers and tell me none of those people matter. Let's just discount them all. They have a disease so they're not human and they don't count.

A whole range of symptoms below full scale seizures occur. You just don't care. You don't care what happens if you do trigger a seizure. Anybody who cared at all would not use strobes.
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Old 06-21-19, 04:56 AM
  #68  
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Originally Posted by 63rickert View Post
How many thousands of people see the strobe lights on your bike?

Tell me how many people have epilepsy. Tell me how many have photosensitive epilepsy. Look up those numbers and tell me none of those people matter. Let's just discount them all. They have a disease so they're not human and they don't count.

A whole range of symptoms below full scale seizures occur. You just don't care. You don't care what happens if you do trigger a seizure. Anybody who cared at all would not use strobes.
The statistics are even a worse argument on the bike paths. Epileptics can be ineligible for drivers licenses if they are not seizure free for a period of time. I don't think it's much of a stretch to say that probably means that a disproportionate number of people who rely on bikes or walk for transportation are epileptic. Thus, the probability of encountering someone with photosensitive epilepsy on a MUP might be considerably higher than on the street.

The guy you're quoting is a troll btw. Already on my ignore list. Appears to be a sock puppet for a banned user-- newbie with grudges is a pretty good tipoff.
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Old 06-21-19, 06:47 AM
  #69  
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Originally Posted by Al_in_NH View Post
If my lights annoy you it's because you see them. If you see them you wont run into me. If you don't run into me, I will enjoy my ride more than if you do.
If your lights are bright and thus hurt my eyes, I will NOT see you because I will be intentionally looking AWAY to preserve my vision. Thus increasing our chances of colliding. Yes, this is an issue that I encounter in real life and yes, you will see me looking off into the woods as you pass me.

Same problem with idiot motorcyclists who run their high beams in traffic. Your lights hurt my eyes, I will look away and not see you.




I think the main thing is to aim your lights courteously. Aim the beam downward so that the main beam is shining on the trail and not near the eyes of other trail users. Basically, don't be a jerk. Pretty simple.
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Old 06-21-19, 06:55 AM
  #70  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
Nope, and nope.

"For about 3% of people with epilepsy, exposure to flashing lights at certain intensities or to certain visual patterns can trigger seizures"
A quote without a link to the source means little.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:09 AM
  #71  
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I rarely run my light in strobe mode. The only time that I do is in the morning as it transitions through the grey period between night and day and then, I point it down toward the ground.
Even in the dark with my light mostly focused down, I still get oncoming cars occasionally flashing their brights at me.
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Old 06-21-19, 07:35 AM
  #72  
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Originally Posted by Caliper View Post
If your lights are bright and thus hurt my eyes, I will NOT see you because I will be intentionally looking AWAY to preserve my vision. Thus increasing our chances of colliding. Yes, this is an issue that I encounter in real life and yes, you will see me looking off into the woods as you pass me.

Same problem with idiot motorcyclists who run their high beams in traffic. Your lights hurt my eyes, I will look away and not see you.




I think the main thing is to aim your lights courteously. Aim the beam downward so that the main beam is shining on the trail and not near the eyes of other trail users. Basically, don't be a jerk. Pretty simple.
What's really funny is he later went on to explain he uses a low intensity, slow blinking light, which I don't think anyone is complaining about. OP is specifically about high-powered strobes.

I have no idea why people get so defensive about this that they can't even figure out how specific the problem is. They are lights that strobe so fast that the pupils cannot adjust.
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Old 06-21-19, 09:40 AM
  #73  
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According to the numbers thrown around in this very thread: 0.012 * 0.03 = 0.00036 per cent of Americans have photosensetive epilepsy.

Of those 0.00036 per 100 Americans with photosensetive epliepsy, how many are on the bike path?

Say, you take the most busiest spot of the busiest bike path in a major metropolitan area...Lets pick Seattle on January 14, 2019 at 3987 bicycle crossings. Lets assume for simplicity that each crossing represents 1 person. Tandems, triple's, Quads, quints are pretty rare bicycles...Ok. Lets take the 3987 crossings & multiply the 0.00036 rate and see what we get.

1.43532 people with photosensetive epilepsy would have crossed the busiest portion of the busiest bike path on the busiest day. Worst case scenario!

Nobody is saying photosensetive epilleptics don't matter, but geez, where do we draw the line on normal people just going about their lives & realize that just the very act of existing poses risks?

Here is some homework: Of that less than 1 1/2 persons that cross, how many experience an on coming strobe? We would need a rate of strobe users among all cyclists on that crossing. We would then need to halve that rate to capture only the on coming cyclists. Then multiply that by the frequency that strobes actually induce seizure & thus harm.

Homework hint:
The final quantification of actual risk at the busiest crossing of the busiest path on the busiest day imposed to photosensetive epilleptics would be the formula: actual harm = 1.43524 *( (strobe rate/2) * strobe seizure rate)

Anyone care to chime in with the rates needed to solve the formula?

Last edited by base2; 06-21-19 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 06-21-19, 10:39 AM
  #74  
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Originally Posted by baconshakes View Post
If someone lacks the intelligence or ability to verify a simple quote on their own, their opinion means little.
Rush? Is that you?
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Old 06-21-19, 11:28 AM
  #75  
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Originally Posted by base2 View Post
According to the numbers thrown around in this very thread: 0.012 * 0.03 = 0.00036 per cent of Americans have photosensetive epilepsy.

Of those 0.00036 per 100 Americans with photosensetive epliepsy, how many are on the bike path?

Say, you take the most bussiest spot of the busiest bike path in a major metropolitan area...Lets pick Seattle on January 14, 2019 at 3987 bicycle crossings. Lets assume for simplicity that each crossing represents 1 person. Tandems, triple's, Quads, quints are pretty rare bicycles...Ok. Lets take the 3987 crossings & multiply the 0.00036 rate and see what we get.

1.43532 people with photosensetive epilepsy would have crossed the busiest portion of the busiest bike path on the busiest day. Worst case scenario!

Nobody is saying photosensetive epilleptics don't matter, but geez, where do we draw the line on normal people just going about their lives & realize that just existing poses risks?

Here is some homework: Of that less than 1 1/2 persons that cross, how many experience an on coming strobe? We would need a rate of strobe users among all cyclists on that crossing. To Then multiply that by the frequency that strobes actually induce seizure & thus harm.

Homework hint:
The final quantification of actual risk at the busiest crossing of the busiest path on the busiest day imposed to photosensetive epilleptics would be the formula actual harm = 1.43524 * (strobe rate * strobe seizure rate)

Anyone care to chime in with the rates needed to solve the formula?
If you really want to do the risk analysis here, you are looking at the wrong part of the equation. It is admittedly a slim chance of encountering a photosensitive epileptic, however what's the offsetting benefit of using strobes that would outweigh that minimal risk?

On a path, there is absolutely no safety benefit to using a fast strobe, and it almost certainly makes the close oncoming bike pass more dangerous due to the rather obvious effect of making the rider with the strobe and the bikes around him harder to see at close range. Strobes are good for only one purpose, they make distant objects easier to pick out from the background--at close range, they are a detriment. As a rider, is the bigger threat from a distant cyclist or the one right in front of you?

So basically, on the one side you have a small chance of causing a seizure to someone, which is an external risk you impose on others to actually decrease your own and others' safety.

Great logic, good luck with it. The logic might work better on roads, where the case for the usefulness of strobes might be stronger and the benefit side of the equation may therefore be rationally weighted against the risks to epileptics.

BTW, the bike path math is impossible because, as I laid out before, there is reason to assume that the distribution of epileptics among the population is not random. There may be a disproportionate number of people who are riding bikes or walking on a path because their seizure disorder prevents them from getting drivers licenses. I understand that the proportion is probably still quite small, just not quite as small as you make it out.
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