Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Commuting
Reload this Page >

Strategies for fog

Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

Strategies for fog

Old 12-04-17, 08:07 AM
  #1  
mcours2006
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,675

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1720 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 22 Posts
Strategies for fog

Thick fog this morning. Like I mean really thick. The picture here was from a section that wasn't so bad, and I'd just happen to wipe the camera lens. The rest of the video footage was completely useless as the lens was covered with dew.

I had two headlights--one on steady and one on blinking. I had my main tail light on solid and a smaller one on blinking. Plus a helmet mounted tail light on blinking.

What sort of lighting strategy works best for fog?


Foggy ride.jpg
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 09:07 AM
  #2  
kellichou
Pedal Stompin'
 
kellichou's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 173

Bikes: 2007 Trek 7300

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 37 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
In Denver, I don't have to deal with fog very often. I find that my lower-powered LED headlight works well for fog. In addition to the headlight, I always wear my reflective construction vest on top of my gear, along with multiple slow-pulse red blinkies on my panniers, one on the back of my helmet with a white light in front. All this, and most of my commute is on a MUP, not streets.
kellichou is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 09:37 AM
  #3  
chas58
Senior Member
 
chas58's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Michigan
Posts: 3,553

Bikes: too many of all kinds

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 704 Post(s)
Liked 34 Times in 28 Posts
I aim the front light down. Strobing probably works the best though. Side lighting may be even more important in foggy conditions though....
chas58 is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 10:07 AM
  #4  
pdlamb
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: northern Deep South
Posts: 5,219

Bikes: Fuji Touring, Novara Randonee

Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 968 Post(s)
Liked 36 Times in 26 Posts
Sounds like you've got the lighting covered (1 blinking, 1 steady front; 2 blinking, 1 steady rear). Bright clothes and reflectors, of course. The only other thing you can do is look for a parallel road with less traffic (suburban houses, for example).
pdlamb is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 10:25 AM
  #5  
Korina
Happy banana slug
 
Korina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Arcata, California, U.S., North America, Earth, Saggitarius Arm, Milky Way
Posts: 1,111

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Rockhopper Sport, 2016 Giant Liv Rove Lite, 2004 Giant OCR1, 1995 Trek Singletrack 930 1988 Specialized Rockhopper Comp (frame)

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
Liked 40 Times in 32 Posts
Forget about being visible, how do I see the road? I had a particularly wet, foggy commute a few weeks ago; there were patches where I could barely see the road. It was extremely dark on the highway, no street lights, so I had to provide all the light, and of course my headlight only bounced back at me. The fog was so wet I had to take my glasses off, making visibility even worse, especially when I hit the gauntlet (i.e. the line of eucalyptus that drop seed casings, leaves, twigs, branches and the occasional limb right on the shoulder). In fact, I'm not entirely sure how I made it to work alive!

Do you think a headlight on my fork would help?
Korina is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 11:52 AM
  #6  
SloButWide 
Heck on Wheels
 
SloButWide's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: USA Midwest
Posts: 1,103

Bikes: In Signature

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 206 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
More photons :-)

Lights have two purposes, to see, and be seen. To do the first, bright lights, aimed to illuminate where you need it, without too much scatter. For the speeds and paths I commute, that's anywhere from 4-10 feet in front of me. To do the second, scatter is ok, but not great. It'll make you more visible, but you may not be as visible from far away.

My setup is like yours - strobing headlight parallel to the ground, steady headlight pointed at the ground so that the main spot is ~6ft in front of the wheel, and the spill runs 2-3ft ahead and behind the spot. Back is a slow strobing taillight.

PS - In before "yellow is definitely better". Subjectively, people prefer yellow, and it should cause less glare, but objectively there is no strong evidence.
__________________
"I had a great ride this morning, except for that part about winding up at work."

Bikes so far: 2011 Felt Z85, 80's Raleigh Sovereign (USA), 91 Bianchi Peregrine, 91 Austro-Daimler Pathfinder, 90's Trek 730 Multitrack, STOLEN: 80 Schwinn Voyageur (Japan)

SloButWide is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 03:17 PM
  #7  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,902

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3035 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 93 Posts
don't think there's a lighting solution for fog. some of the worst highway pileups are caused by fog. I've seen so many drivers fly by me in fog & it doesn't matter what car they have, they can not see adequately. they are hoping there is no obstacle in front of them & that the road continues unobstructed. imagine if everyone was wearing blinders, would you want to be out in the mix? bumper cars are safe but I would just get off the road & wait it out of possible
rumrunn6 is online now  
Old 12-04-17, 03:39 PM
  #8  
mcours2006
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,675

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1720 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 22 Posts
Well, hopefully drivers have enough sense to slow down when there is thick fog...but that requires common sense, so that excludes at least 10% of the driving population.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 12-04-17, 06:40 PM
  #9  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,902

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3035 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 93 Posts
ok then don't youtube search for pileup due to fog
rumrunn6 is online now  
Old 12-04-17, 11:12 PM
  #10  
Bizman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: Central PA (USA)
Posts: 1,027

Bikes: 2014 Carbon Quest XS (Velomobile), 2014 Catrike Road (Trike), 2013 Easy Motion Max 700+ PCS (E-bike), 2011 Lynskey R340 (Road), 2011 Surly Moonlander (Fatty), 2010 Santa Cruise Tallboy (Full Suspension)

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 45 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I believe I have saw study's saying that people actually drive faster in fog.



EDIT: Here is a link to driving in fog, take your pick!
https://www.google.com/search?q=Peop...&client=safari
Bizman is offline  
Old 12-05-17, 06:46 AM
  #11  
lmike6453
Senior Member
 
lmike6453's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: PA, USA
Posts: 163
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 123 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Do you have a pair of MTB lights to use with flood optics?
lmike6453 is offline  
Old 12-05-17, 07:59 AM
  #12  
alias5000
Raised a new winter bike
 
Join Date: Apr 2016
Location: Ontario
Posts: 462

Bikes: HP Velotechnik Streetmachine GTE, 2015 Devinci Silverstone SL4, 2012 Cannondale Road Tandem 2, 2007 Trek 6000, Circe Morpheus

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 140 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Considered valve cap lights for visibility from the sides (or just to look fancy)?
Stronger blinkies is what I would go for. These white planet bike rear lights at MEC have an amazing blinking pattern and light reflectors.
In the rear, I ran a smaller always on light with larger built-in reflector, plus that blinky in the early hours of the fog you are mentioning.
alias5000 is offline  
Old 12-05-17, 11:32 AM
  #13  
ThermionicScott 
hungry
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 18,472

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2028 Post(s)
Liked 98 Times in 81 Posts
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
ok then don't youtube search for pileup due to fog
Great, now I've moved on to pileup videos due to snow/ice.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498

Last edited by ThermionicScott; 12-05-17 at 11:40 AM.
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 12-05-17, 12:00 PM
  #14  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,902

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3035 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 93 Posts
Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
pileup videos due to snow/ice
my favorite pastime when the office slows down this time of year. when you get bored, check out Russian trucks crossing rivers!
rumrunn6 is online now  
Old 12-06-17, 11:59 AM
  #15  
RidingMatthew 
Let's Ride!
 
RidingMatthew's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Triad, NC USA
Posts: 2,343

Bikes: --2010 Jamis 650b1-- 2016 Cervelo R2-- 2018 Salsa Journeyman 650B

Mentioned: 21 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 260 Post(s)
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
sounds like you have plenty of lights except for some side light or reflective stuff. I think for cars the lower "fog" lights are to get under the fog. So maybe mount the light lower on the bike.


I have ridden in fog a couple times. if you can change your route to stay out of the lower elevations where the fog settles?


best of luck and be careful .
__________________
"Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to bike. Bike to work." --Anonymous ||| "late & alive > early & dead." ~Steely Dan
RidingMatthew is offline  
Old 12-06-17, 02:02 PM
  #16  
Aubergine 
Bad example
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Seattle and Reims
Posts: 2,938
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 771 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 14 Posts
Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
I think for cars the lower "fog" lights are to get under the fog. So maybe mount the light lower on the bike.
Exactly right, although mounting the fog lights lower does not « get under » the fog. Rather, it is so the fog does not reflect the light back to the rider or driver. So, consider mounting a steady light or two at the level of the axle. That should help with your visļon.
Aubergine is offline  
Old 12-06-17, 03:59 PM
  #17  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 22,902

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 87 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3035 Post(s)
Liked 115 Times in 93 Posts
Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
Well, hopefully drivers have enough sense to slow down when there is thick fog...but that requires common sense, so that excludes at least 10% of the driving population.
driving to work today on highway 495 speeds vary from zero to 80 mph. saw 2 things today:

at one point the left lane stops but my middle lane keeps moving. I see smoke ahead in that left lane. turns out it's a car that locked up it's brakes & stopped a mere inches from hitting the car in front of it. a little while later I see the same car still tailgating the same car that was in front of it. some ppl just never learn. what will it takes for that person not to tailgate in highway traffic? an actual collision?

later on, I'm in the right lane cuz my exit is coming up. i approach a merge where two lanes merge into four. I'm going real slow allowing room where necessary for ppl to merge in. the car in front of me darts out into the middle lane to go faster. then a big suburban flies in where that other car left, but he flew in really fast w/o any warning, then stopped & I barely had time to stop before hitting him in his left rear bumper. kinda funny how his left rear bumper was already pushed in from a previous collision. some ppl just never learn. obviously not even after an actual collision
rumrunn6 is online now  
Old 12-06-17, 04:12 PM
  #18  
mcours2006
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,675

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1720 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by RidingMatthew View Post
sounds like you have plenty of lights except for some side light or reflective stuff. I think for cars the lower "fog" lights are to get under the fog. So maybe mount the light lower on the bike.

best of luck and be careful .
Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
Exactly right, although mounting the fog lights lower does not « get under » the fog. Rather, it is so the fog does not reflect the light back to the rider or driver. So, consider mounting a steady light or two at the level of the axle. That should help with your visļon.
I will have to try this next time, perhaps on the right side fork.
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 12-07-17, 12:00 AM
  #19  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 9,506

Bikes: '76 Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Burley Samba, Terra Trike

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1480 Post(s)
Liked 93 Times in 63 Posts
Locally...

Some tips for driving in Tule fog include:


� Drive with your lights on, even during daylight hours. But use the low beam only. High beam lights decrease your visibility by reflecting more fog back to you.

� Reduce your speed. If you are late to your destination, then just be late. It is far better to be late a few minutes due to fog than to be late by several hours or days via a trip to the hospital because of an accident.

� Listen for traffic you cannot see.

� Avoid intersections where cross traffic does not stop.

� Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.

� Do not stop on a freeway or heavily traveled road unless absolutely necessary. If you must stop, get away from your vehicle to avoid personal injury.

� If possible, postpone your trip until the fog lifts, usually by late morning.

� Finally, be sure to heed instructions in those areas where the CHP is providing escorts.

� Always read and obey the overhead traffic and weather information on signs along California highways.
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is offline  
Old 12-07-17, 11:03 AM
  #20  
ThermionicScott 
hungry
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 18,472

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers)

Mentioned: 68 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2028 Post(s)
Liked 98 Times in 81 Posts
Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
driving to work today on highway 495 speeds vary from zero to 80 mph. saw 2 things today:

at one point the left lane stops but my middle lane keeps moving. I see smoke ahead in that left lane. turns out it's a car that locked up it's brakes & stopped a mere inches from hitting the car in front of it. a little while later I see the same car still tailgating the same car that was in front of it. some ppl just never learn. what will it takes for that person not to tailgate in highway traffic? an actual collision?

later on, I'm in the right lane cuz my exit is coming up. i approach a merge where two lanes merge into four. I'm going real slow allowing room where necessary for ppl to merge in. the car in front of me darts out into the middle lane to go faster. then a big suburban flies in where that other car left, but he flew in really fast w/o any warning, then stopped & I barely had time to stop before hitting him in his left rear bumper. kinda funny how his left rear bumper was already pushed in from a previous collision. some ppl just never learn. obviously not even after an actual collision
Mark my words -- future generations will marvel that we ever allowed people to operate cars.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 12-07-17, 11:14 AM
  #21  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 22,424
Mentioned: 166 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8523 Post(s)
Liked 80 Times in 72 Posts
Sleep in?

Around here, the fog usually burns off by mid morning. Sometimes back in the evening, but usually light.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-07-17, 06:44 PM
  #22  
I-Like-To-Bike
Been Around Awhile
 
I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Burlington Iowa
Posts: 27,699

Bikes: Vaterland and Ragazzi

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 47 Posts
Looks like the OP video was taken from the right edge of the road
I learned in A&S that taking the lane always makes bicyclists more visible and invulnerable. Forget the fog and take that lane!
I-Like-To-Bike is offline  
Old 12-07-17, 07:43 PM
  #23  
mcours2006
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
mcours2006's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Toronto, CANADA
Posts: 5,675

Bikes: Giant Rapid, Bianchi Advantage, Specialized Roubaix, 1985 Gardin Quatro, Norco Threshold, Raleigh Serengheti MTB

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1720 Post(s)
Liked 39 Times in 22 Posts
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
Looks like the OP video was taken from the right edge of the road
I learned in A&S that taking the lane always makes bicyclists more visible and invulnerable. Forget the fog and take that lane!
mcours2006 is offline  
Old 12-08-17, 05:39 AM
  #24  
downwinded
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: WKY
Posts: 730

Bikes: 2014 Trek Crossrip LTD, 2013 Raleigh Misceo

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
IMHO fog and low angle of the sun, are perhaps the most dangerous conditions to be on the road. The fog can get really thick here. Much more dense than in the OP's pic. When you can hardly see the headlights or tail lights on cars, they cannot see bike lights at all. The reflective material seems to be the first thing that you notice when approaching a bike. The more area with reflective patches, strips or whatever, the better. I'm on fairly low traffic residential streets, so I can be on high alert and get to the right quickly if I hear a car behind me. If I had to be on really busy streets during some of the fog we have here, I would not ride. Be safe all.
downwinded is offline  
Old 12-19-17, 10:21 AM
  #25  
angerdan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Europe
Posts: 415
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 117 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Physical/technical aspects of lighting during fog

Originally Posted by mcours2006 View Post
The rest of the video footage was completely useless as the lens was covered with dew.
I had two headlights--one on steady and one on blinking. I had my main tail light on solid and a smaller one on blinking. Plus a helmet mounted tail light on blinking.

What sort of lighting strategy works best for fog?
Physical/technical aspects of lighting during fog

Frontlight:
  • beam angle of the light should be below 30° (to reduce self blinding while provide line of sight)
  • should be as far away from the drivers optical axis as possible (to reduce blinding by illuminated water drops in the air)
  • Color temperature should be as low as possible, at least neutral white below 4.000K to improve vision by removing short, blue to violet wavelengths from the projected light. These wavelengths are difficult for the human visual system to process properly, and they cause perceived dazzle and glare effects in rain, fog and snow. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_yellow
Rearlight:
  • beam angle of the light should be above 120° (to bee seen from any rear incoming angle)
  • luminous flux should be above 40lm (be bright enought to be seen early enough)
  • illuminated area of the light should be as large as possible (to allow distance calculation for following road users)
  • illuminated area of the light should have a aspect ratio unequal as possible (to allow distance calculation for following road users)
angerdan is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.