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Superflashes (and why 2 is always better than 1)

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Superflashes (and why 2 is always better than 1)

Old 12-03-08, 11:59 PM
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Scheherezade 
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Superflashes (and why 2 is always better than 1)

I went out for a little 10 mile joy ride tonight to break in the studs on my ice bike a bit more. It was about 4 degree F windchill, so nothing too cold. On dismounting at the end of the ride, I noticed one of my superflashes was dead. I normally keep the one of the seatpost steady, and the one on my rack flashing. Thankfully, I didn't have much to worry about since my other light was still blinking.

My question is: Is it worth the extra battery drain to go one steady and one blinkie? I normally carry extra batteries anyway, so if I noticed a light was out, I could replace the batteries. I heard that a solid light is better at perceiving depth, so that's why I started running one solid in the first place.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
I went out for a little 10 mile joy ride tonight to break in the studs on my ice bike a bit more. It was about 4 degree F windchill, so nothing too cold. On dismounting at the end of the ride, I noticed one of my superflashes was dead. I normally keep the one of the seatpost steady, and the one on my rack flashing. Thankfully, I didn't have much to worry about since my other light was still blinking.

My question is: Is it worth the extra battery drain to go one steady and one blinkie? I normally carry extra batteries anyway, so if I noticed a light was out, I could replace the batteries. I heard that a solid light is better at perceiving depth, so that's why I started running one solid in the first place.
I too run my seat post PB on steady mode for depth perception, and my pannier Serfas light on alternating mode for getting motorists' attention. It's always good to have a redundant light anyway as in cases like yours where a light goes dead, and tonight was no exception when my bike's main headlight battery went dead, necessitating the use of my secondary headlight.

Last edited by dynodonn; 12-04-08 at 12:15 AM.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:12 AM
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How many hours do you get out of one on solid? I heard it is something like 100 hours on blink mode.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:33 AM
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I think Planet Bike says 20 hours on steady, but I've never tested it out.
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Old 12-04-08, 12:38 AM
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I also keep my seatpost butt light solid while leaving the one on the rack blinking. I use rechargeable batteries so I just pull them every couple of days and toss them in the recharger when I get home.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:40 AM
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I think if you have a decent front light, there is no need for a solid rear light, since a driver can fix onto the flood from your front light.
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Old 12-04-08, 04:51 AM
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I've had drivers tell me that it's hard to judge the distance of a blinking light.

As for your dead battery problem, just get some decent rechargeables (I prefer Eneloop) and charge them once a week.
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Old 12-04-08, 06:14 AM
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Originally Posted by JinbaIttai View Post
I think if you have a decent front light, there is no need for a solid rear light, since a driver can fix onto the flood from your front light.
Not really...in most cases the motor vehicle's lights will blot out any 'flood' from your front lights, from the driver's perspective. Get a tail light.

I usually run the PBSF on my seatpost/seatbag blinking and the one(s) on the rack/freeloader solid. In the summer when I ride the road or xcross bike to work and only have one rear light, I keep it on flash.
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Last edited by chipcom; 12-04-08 at 06:18 AM.
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Old 12-04-08, 06:32 AM
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I set my brightest light on full power solid, and my other light on flash. The purpose of the solid is so that they see me. The flash is to get their attention and so they notice that I'm a bike and not going as fast as they are.

I use rechargeables and make sure they get refreshed every other day.
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Old 12-04-08, 07:57 AM
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Redundancy is good. Redundancy is good. Redundancy is good.

I have two PBSF on my bike and red reflective sheets on the back of my bucket panniers (about 100 sq. in. each). The only way motorists can't see me at night is if their name is either Ray Charles or Helen Keller.
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Old 12-04-08, 08:02 AM
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If you have a reflector on your bike the blinky only gives you a small improvement in visibility. If the driver does not see the reflector, it is not likely, but not impossible, that the blinky will catch their attention.
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Old 12-04-08, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Scheherezade View Post
I went out for a little 10 mile joy ride tonight to break in the studs on my ice bike a bit more. It was about 4 degree F windchill, so nothing too cold. On dismounting at the end of the ride, I noticed one of my superflashes was dead. I normally keep the one of the seatpost steady, and the one on my rack flashing. Thankfully, I didn't have much to worry about since my other light was still blinking.

My question is: Is it worth the extra battery drain to go one steady and one blinkie? I normally carry extra batteries anyway, so if I noticed a light was out, I could replace the batteries. I heard that a solid light is better at perceiving depth, so that's why I started running one solid in the first place.
You have to love a balmy night in Siberia don't you?
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Old 12-04-08, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by MrCjolsen View Post
I set my brightest light on full power solid, and my other light on flash. The purpose of the solid is so that they see me. The flash is to get their attention and so they notice that I'm a bike and not going as fast as they are.

I use rechargeables and make sure they get refreshed every other day.
I've been doing testing, and what counts is beeing seen well in advance, far up the road

a bright solid light is easier to see, and judge speed and direction, vs a blinking light

a blinking light affords too many intervals when a driver behind is scanning ahead and will not
see you because of the dead space between blinks. a solid light will always be seen. 40% of
the time a blinking light won't been seen in the type of quick scanning drivers do until more
closing distance is gained.


solid always trumps blink
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Old 12-04-08, 08:31 AM
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I've always thought that blinking jumps out more among a sea of red car tail lights. That's why I keep mine on blink. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise though.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
I've always thought that blinking jumps out more among a sea of red car tail lights. That's why I keep mine on blink. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise though.
I agree. When driving and I come upon a cyclist with a blinking light, I find it significantly more noticable.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
a blinking light affords too many intervals when a driver behind is scanning ahead and will not see you because of the dead space between blinks. a solid light will always be seen. 40% of the time a blinking light won't been seen in the type of quick scanning drivers do until more
closing distance is gained.


solid always trumps blink
How sloooow is the rate of flashing on your lights? And just how quick do you think any driver would have to scan the road ahead in order to miss a blinking light in between the flash cycles? My guess is that your 40% statistic will peg a BS Meter.

Last edited by I-Like-To-Bike; 12-04-08 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 12-04-08, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by apricissimus View Post
I've always thought that blinking jumps out more among a sea of red car tail lights. That's why I keep mine on blink. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise though.
I can't speak so much for the tail lights, but my experience with bright flashing LED headlights tells me they work. I take an occasional before sunrise ride out through the rural areas of the county. I use a beam and a seperate flashing LED. My partner uses a bright beam only. When he is riding up front, oncoming cars pass without any indication that they saw us. When I am up front, most cars slow noticeably as they approach. The difference in motorist behavior is pronounced. There is a pre sunrise group that rides near where I work. Their flashing LED taillights are very noticeable. I can't recall any depth perception issues. The lights do their job in that they let me know something is there that I don't want to hit. If there is a depth perception issue, it is irrelevant to me as I have already altered speed and/or path well before I get to a point where a small depth perception issue could cause a problem.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Not really...in most cases the motor vehicle's lights will blot out any 'flood' from your front lights, from the driver's perspective. Get a tail light.

I usually run the PBSF on my seatpost/seatbag blinking and the one(s) on the rack/freeloader solid. In the summer when I ride the road or xcross bike to work and only have one rear light, I keep it on flash.
But Chip ... with your hair so free-flowing ... research shows that you should have extra passing clearance and probably no need to have a blinky. In fact, you should have a front light mounted on a rear rack pointing at the back of your head.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
How sloooow is the rate of flashing on your lights? And just how quick do you think any driver would have to scan the road ahead in order to miss a blinking light in between the flash cycles? My guess is that your 40% statistic will peg a BS Meter.
I'm amazed... I agree with I-Like-To-Bike!

Unless you have more than one solid light, it doesn't help any with depth perception. It's just a one-dimensional point of light - is it a bicycle, a distant motorbike, or a red-shifted star 100 light years away? No way of knowing. If it's blinking, it's a bicycle.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by geo8rge View Post
If you have a reflector on your bike the blinky only gives you a small improvement in visibility. If the driver does not see the reflector, it is not likely, but not impossible, that the blinky will catch their attention.
Incorrect. Light must hit a reflector for it to reflect, the same is not true of a light. The improvement is as good as the light...I suspect you got wimpy blinkies.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by 127.0.0.1 View Post
I've been doing testing, and what counts is beeing seen well in advance, far up the road

a bright solid light is easier to see, and judge speed and direction, vs a blinking light

a blinking light affords too many intervals when a driver behind is scanning ahead and will not
see you because of the dead space between blinks. a solid light will always be seen. 40% of
the time a blinking light won't been seen in the type of quick scanning drivers do until more
closing distance is gained.


solid always trumps blink
Where do you guys get this stuff. Have you ever actually driven behind the same bike, with the blinky in both modes to see which can be spotted further under varying conditions?

Riddle me this...what do you spot sooner on the highway...the taillights of other cars up the road, or the flashing emergency lights of a car up the road. By your logic, we shouldn't bother with flashing emergency lights

Blinking is better to get attention from a longer distance, solid is best as they get closer and must judge your speed and position.
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Old 12-04-08, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chipcom View Post
Incorrect. Light must hit a reflector for it to reflect, the same is not true of a light. The improvement is as good as the light...I suspect you got wimpy blinkies.
Don't forget, if the light (or reflector) isn't aimed towards the driver's line of vision, it's almost useless. That's why I always check my lights (front, rear, and my DLGs) to make sure they're aimed properly. Ya can't get their attention if you ain't aiming right.
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Old 12-04-08, 03:07 PM
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Use at least 2 rear lights and remember that the cold will reduce the time the light will work (unless you can keep the batteries warm somehow).
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Old 12-04-08, 03:09 PM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
How sloooow is the rate of flashing on your lights? And just how quick do you think any driver would have to scan the road ahead in order to miss a blinking light in between the flash cycles? My guess is that your 40% statistic will peg a BS Meter.
well it is just me observing loads of craptacular cyclists with every shelf-bought blinkie known
to mankind, and also my own lights placed some distance down the road and me driving out back and forth and doing an actual study.

[my eyes are better than average btw...it isn't a vision problem with me.]

first off- bright is always good. bright blink is ok. weak blink sucks. weak solid sucks.
bright blink is hard to judge position and speed. bright solid is extremely easy to judge distance and
speed.

in a sea of traffic a blink stands out less than solid imho...if you are in a sea of traffic
then you just look out for yourself. the most ideal situation for a bike tail light is alone on
a long dark road with fast traffic. you def want bright solid for the best visibility.


anyhow I run a dinotte 140l on medium solid all the time every time I plan on riding road
at night it is without a doubt the best taillight for the combo of size, ease of use,
and visibility whether dodging idiots in the northend at 12:30am on a friday night or
climbing dark twisty narrow streets

Last edited by 127.0.0.1; 12-04-08 at 03:16 PM.
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Old 12-04-08, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Use at least 2 rear lights and remember that the cold will reduce the time the light will work (unless you can keep the batteries warm somehow).
I just use the Lithium Energizers in my blinkies...they last much better in the winter. So how cold is it in Honolulu today?
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