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Using Strobes on the Trail

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Using Strobes on the Trail

Old 06-16-19, 03:59 PM
  #1  
TimothyH
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Using Strobes on the Trail

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-

Last edited by TimothyH; 06-16-19 at 04:04 PM.
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Old 06-16-19, 05:27 PM
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If you are talking about any kind of flashing light after dark I agree they are a hazard. They are actually illegal in some states after dark.
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Old 06-16-19, 05:33 PM
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For a moment I thought you were asking me not to don a trench-coat.
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Old 06-16-19, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick View Post
If you are talking about any kind of flashing light after dark I agree they are a hazard. They are actually illegal in some states after dark.
Day or night, high powered strobes are simply not needed on the rail trail out in the middle of nowhere.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:04 PM
  #5  
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They don't belong on the urban MUP either. The bright strobing just makes you and the people around you harder to see.
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Old 06-16-19, 07:34 PM
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It's a modern menace for sure.
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Old 06-16-19, 08:42 PM
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Funny enough, I almost turned mine on today while on the rail trail. Fairly busy under heavy overcast skies and long stretches on the trail where the trees created a tunnel. Quite dark in the shaded passages. But I did not, I did turn it on when I came out onto the street. 200 Lumin. Was almost home when a fella walking towards me on the sidewalk, I was on the road, shaded his eyes ! I guess on a cloudy day the light really shines out and it is by no means a powerful one by todays standards.

Getting back to the OP. I turn mine off when hitting the trails just to save battery, never gave much thought to it being a hazard. Can't imagine how a horse might react to a bright strobe out on the trails.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:27 PM
  #8  
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I won't need much of my lights on the MUP's until winter sets in again, but it's a good reminder. Also, try not to aim your nuclear powered headlamp directly into my eyes.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:40 PM
  #9  
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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.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:43 PM
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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.
Actually, no.

A strobe makes it extremely hard to determine where you are. If you feel that leads to safe passing, it's because it's not far off running the other person off the trail so that you can ride through.

Hmm, there's an idea; if an oncoming strobe is making it unsafe, stop and block the trail crosswise so the strobe-abuser has to stop too. Then you can proceed safely past each other on foot. Safety was your goal, right?

Last edited by UniChris; 06-16-19 at 09:51 PM.
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Old 06-16-19, 09:51 PM
  #11  
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I keep my lights on low not full blast. I've encountered many others on the trails with their lights on, and it never caused with you claim, at least for me. Now at night I use just a solid light. Again, has not been a problem for us when others have their lights on. It actually helps us know there is someone coming.
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Old 06-16-19, 10:24 PM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by Al_in_NH View Post
Now at night I use just a solid light.
Seems you posted in the wrong thread

Thad said, if you're arguing you run a bright strobe in the day that's still a safety problem as it still makes it hard for others to see where they or you are going. Only place that really makes sense is where you've got something like drivers blindly turning across a bike route.

Strobe really should be a momentary function only active as long as you hold the button.
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Old 06-16-19, 11:05 PM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Al_in_NH View Post
I keep my lights on low not full blast. I've encountered many others on the trails with their lights on, and it never caused with you claim, at least for me. Now at night I use just a solid light. Again, has not been a problem for us when others have their lights on. It actually helps us know there is someone coming.
I keep it low and point it down at about a 75 degree angle. My 40 miles of trail has me crossing a number of streets, and I want to be visible at each crossing.
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Old 06-17-19, 06:15 AM
  #14  
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I honestly don't care about the brightness, but using the strobe on paths is a stupid thing to do. It's absolutely impossible for the human pupil to adjust to that. This is basic science. I see you much better without the strobing, and any claim otherwise is based on complete ignorance of the functioning of the human eye.
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Old 06-17-19, 06:23 AM
  #15  
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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.
Not true. Some of them are so bright I have to shield my eyes with my hand. That would make it more likely that I run into you. Also, your bright light may confound my ability to see other riders behind you.

I have never not been able to see a non-illuminated rider on an MUP, so is there really a point to strobes other than to annoy? Less annoying than bluetooth speakers playing whatever soundtrack the rider thinks he or she needs to fulfill their projected life, but that's another thread.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:31 AM
  #16  
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I run a headlight in the early morning when it is still fairly dark, particularly if there is also a cloud cover. However, I always point it down so the beam hits the path about 6 feet or so in front of me. During the day, I will run it on flashing because, like others here, there are parts of the trail that are fairly dark due to overhanging trees and high backyard fences. I always appreciate when I see others on the trail with a flashing headlight, (even runners), because it makes it much easier to see them. Plus there are others who will castigate you for NOT running a headlight at all times. So, since I am "damned if I do and damned if I don't," I choose to run it.
I have never been "blinded" by someones flasher on the trail. Thankfully, I do not need to look directly at their headlight to know there is a rider there. Once I see them, I simply do not look at their headlight.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:35 AM
  #17  
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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.
That's an incredibly selfish view to take. The same could be said of me burning my brights on a motor vehicle during the day.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:37 AM
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I ride a tree shaded trail quite often. I have no trouble seeing cyclists who don't have lights. It's called paying attention.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by oldgeezerjeff View Post
I run a headlight in the early morning when it is still fairly dark, particularly if there is also a cloud cover. However, I always point it down so the beam hits the path about 6 feet or so in front of me. During the day, I will run it on flashing because, like others here, there are parts of the trail that are fairly dark due to overhanging trees and high backyard fences. I always appreciate when I see others on the trail with a flashing headlight, (even runners), because it makes it much easier to see them. Plus there are others who will castigate you for NOT running a headlight at all times. So, since I am "damned if I do and damned if I don't," I choose to run it.
I have never been "blinded" by someones flasher on the trail. Thankfully, I do not need to look directly at their headlight to know there is a rider there. Once I see them, I simply do not look at their headlight.
There are some flashers that are so bright that on a narrow path if I am looking ahead as I should be, then they are uncomfortably bright. Bright to the point it affects my vision. It's simply not indicated on the average path.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:44 AM
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I'll agree that high powered strobes out on long rail trails in the middle of nowhere where there are only cyclists aren't necessary & can be an annoyance. but there are so many variables (ambient light vs accessory type & power), that there are bound to be some mistakes. when I first made that mistake, ppl going in the opposite direction, told told me, in a friendly polite way: "your light is on" letting me figure out the rest
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Old 06-17-19, 07:53 AM
  #21  
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I encountered this yesterday on a rail trail. The distant part...5 miles or so from any parking lots so zero foot traffic. All bikes.

Passed a couple of group rides all with the flashing headlight strobe. It was like being attacked by Star Wars. It made it hard to figure out how many bikes there were, where they were going, where they were, etc. I mean 15 flashing strobes all at once, all out of sync, each one wobbling left and right at a different rate....

On the street....I run my flasher 100% of the time. 2 up front. 2 in back. No exception. I want to make sure I'm seen by cars who aren't looking for bikes.

On the sparsely populated trail with only bikes? Turn those off. It's not a disco.
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Old 06-17-19, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
I honestly don't care about the brightness, but using the strobe on paths is a stupid thing to do. It's absolutely impossible for the human pupil to adjust to that. This is basic science. I see you much better without the strobing, and any claim otherwise is based on complete ignorance of the functioning of the human eye.
It's funny how you all assume everyone who rides a rail trail is a "professional" who pays attention, watches where they run, walk, or ride, and treats everyone with respect. Well, we must ride different trails I guess (though I do ride the Minute Man Bikeway quite a bit) I guess I'll just go back to lurking now that the name calling has commenced. I didn't come here for that, but i suppose Rule Number 5 applies. Just for a point of reference, i'm not a newbie. I started riding seriously in 1978 when I was in Japan. Bought my first real bike, an Austro Daimler Olympian when I came back to the states in 1980, and have been riding ever since. I was a member of the League of American Wheelmen when it still was the League of American Wheelmen. Rode a bike from outside of Chicago Il to North Carolina when I was younger. Putin around 3000 to 4000 miles a year depending on when the ice and snow start piling up. You can spot me on the trail quite easily. I'm the guy with the low blinking strobe who waves and says hi to everyone. Even those of you too engrossed in your own greatness attempting to win the Tour de MyBackYard on the local rail trail.
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Old 06-17-19, 08:47 AM
  #23  
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It's pretty obvious that the people on this forum are aware and practice proper trail etiquette.
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Old 06-17-19, 08:50 AM
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Light In Motion lights come with a low intensity pulse mode. I leave it on during the day because I cross multiple intersections.
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Old 06-17-19, 08:56 AM
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At night I can see this as an issue, but is this really a problem in the daylight? I've encountered plenty of cyclist on streets and MUPs with flashing lights in the day time and never been blinded. There must be some bright lights out there I'm missing.
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