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Headlight/Tail Light Steady or Flash?

Old 01-13-21, 05:08 PM
  #1  
taylorgeo
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Headlight/Tail Light Steady or Flash?

What is your preference?
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Old 01-13-21, 05:14 PM
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mack_turtle
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to be visible around drivers: Flashing in daytime, steady at night. That is the smartest way to use them.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:16 PM
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I have my headlight on steady and a tail light on my seat post on steady, and a tail light that blinks on my helmet .
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Old 01-13-21, 05:17 PM
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hyperpulse, definitely hyperpulse; like when you see a vehicle with those aftermarket LEDs & they didnt address the canbus resistance.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:27 PM
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Headlight steady. Taillight flash.
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Old 01-13-21, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by taylorgeo View Post
What is your preference?
uh...ok....

(backs slowly away from the topic)
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Old 01-13-21, 05:47 PM
  #7  
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Flash during the day and at dusk while steady at night both front and rear. 100 lumen tail light minimum and 400 lumen headlight. I also have the red blinking light on my helmet from the web cam and I swear that makes people act responsibly because they might end up on Utube or something.
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Old 01-13-21, 06:10 PM
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It shouldn't need to be said over and over but people still don't get it. If you are not an emergency vehicle going to an emergency please use a solid light at the front. Ideally at the rear as well but most especially always at the front. It is extremely dangerous to ride with a flashing light at the front, it dazzles and blinds people and then they cannot see and as a cyclist not being able to see because some jack hole felt the need to flash to make himself have the illusion of more safety while hurting others is just not helpful. Cars don't have flashing lights, motorcycles and scooters don't have flashing lights. Why must we do it?
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Old 01-14-21, 03:13 AM
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Both. Research suggests that a flashing light draws the attention but a steady light makes it easier to gauge distance. I used to run two lights front and back for that reason but now I have one light for each with a pseudo random flash pattern over a steady light. Probably not quite as good as two lights but a lot less charging required.
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Old 01-14-21, 03:20 AM
  #10  
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blinking front and back always
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Old 01-14-21, 03:44 AM
  #11  
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Steady for both
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Old 01-14-21, 03:45 AM
  #12  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
It is extremely dangerous to ride with a flashing light at the front, it dazzles and blinds people and then they cannot see and as a cyclist not being able to see ....
This is where people might explain to some other people that if your light is that bright and is aimed at oncoming cars you have a huge problem whether it is flashing or not.

If oncoming drivers are blinded by your light, your light is not aimed down and to the right .... which is where you will be riding your bike, unless you are riding head-on into traffic. If your light is aimed up and left---into the eyes of oncoming drivers---then your light is pretty much worthless to you as a rider and also a hazard to others ... whether it blinks or not. if any rider is dense enough to shine a strobe at oncoming drivers .... Darwin.

So long as your light is aimed at the pavement where you will be actually riding your bike, drivers shouldn't have an issue .... and if you have a strobe so powerful that it blinds drivers in the other lane even though it is pointed away ... then likely it blinds You too, so you won't be able to ride your own bike.

During the day a flashing headlight is definitely more visible, based on my own encounters with cyclists using daytime headlights..

In any case, I find a flashing front light irritating in the dark, because it causes my eyes to have to constantly readjust .... even when paired with a steady beam. I favor a solid beam--or two, depending on speed and conditions---up front and a blinking rear, but as @jgwilliams notes, it is easier for drivers to judge distance from a steady tail light, so ideally I would run both. i don't, and so far no one has killed me .... but two red lights, one flashing and one steady, would seem to be optimal.

(Logically, two flashing rear lights would also be good for judging distance, as the apparently changing relative distance between the lights would give the brain the information it needed about distance closing speed.)
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Old 01-14-21, 03:50 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
In any case, I find a flashing front light irritating in the dark, because it causes my eyes to have to constantly readjust .... even when paired with a steady beam.
Yes, this is true if it really is dark. Most of my commute is on roads that are sufficiently well lit that this isn't an issue for me. But, certainly, if I ride on poorly lit or unlit roads for any length of time I would have to turn the flash off as it can become quite disorientating.
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Old 01-14-21, 06:43 AM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by veganbikes View Post
. Cars don't have flashing lights, motorcycles and scooters don't have flashing lights. Why must we do it?
Because those guys are trying to kill me.

See also "motorcycle brake light modulator system"
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Old 01-14-21, 07:36 AM
  #15  
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
Both. Research suggests that a flashing light draws the attention but a steady light makes it easier to gauge distance. I used to run two lights front and back for that reason but now I have one light for each with a pseudo random flash pattern over a steady light. Probably not quite as good as two lights but a lot less charging required.
Yes, this.

Though I often run a tail light (Cygolite) which has a slow flash -- it lights up and dies down gradually and gently, over a cycle of about two seconds, I would say. Seems like the best of both worlds: kind of steady, kind of flashing, but not flashing hard enough to dazzle motorists.
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Old 01-14-21, 07:37 AM
  #16  
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steady front, steady back
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Old 01-14-21, 07:54 AM
  #17  
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During the day: Front and rear blinking

At night: Front: steady on the handlebars and strong steady on my helmet*
Rear: blinking

*As a side note, I love my helmet light when it's dark for a number of reasons.
1. I can point it to what I want to see that might not be immediately in front of me.
2. I can point it into a turn or immediately before a turn to see the terrain of the road or path I'm about to take.
3. It is an extra light in case I want to see something farther ahead of what my handlebar light is focusing on
4. I can use it to alert a driver of my presence in an intersection. I've really seen this work very effectively. I usually shine it at the driver coming into the intersection who wants to make that right on red. I will shake my head (and therefore my light) back and to bring their attention to me. Then after two or three passes, I make sure I remove the shining light from their head to prevent blinding them. I also use this effectively when I'm making a left turn and someone is in the oncoming right lane trying to make a right on red while I'm making my left turn. As I pass, I friendly wave to the driver for giving me the right of way (even when I should have had it in the first place).
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Old 01-14-21, 08:21 AM
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If you ride with a group, etiquette dictates a steady red at the rear. Optional if you ride alone but a flashing light will give you more battery life. Steady white for the front if you feel the need.
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Old 01-14-21, 08:27 AM
  #19  
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Day- no light up front most of the time and no light in back a good bit of the time. If they are one, then flash up front and burst flash in back.

Evening- steady light up front and slow pulse in back.

Night- steady light up front and steady in back(most always).



My day rides consist of paved roads and gravel. On the paved roads, I am either on a 4 lane road which makes me 20+ feet away from oncoming traffic, or I am on a side road where there is little to no traffic at all. On gravel, I almost never see an oncoming vehicle. As a result, I dont feel the need/benefit of using a front light. The rare time when I will use one during day rides is if its overcast/hazy so the flash bursts can be seen on gravel roads...for the 3 vehicles oncoming vehicles.

I am way more concerned with approaching vehicles and use a rear light as a result. Luckily around me, oncoming traffic rarely drives into my lane so them seeing me half a mile away isnt a high priority.
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Old 01-14-21, 09:23 AM
  #20  
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Those optional turn signals that vehicles might come with must really annoy travelers.

Those turn signals would be best to just stay on solid! yarrrrr!
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Old 01-14-21, 10:28 AM
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My headlight blinks at 150 lumen in the day, I run it at 650 lumen steady at night. Tail light is 150 lumen. It flashes during the day, it fades on and off at night. Considering part of my commute is on a highway at night, I would rather fade than do steady. Just trying to get their attention.
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Old 01-14-21, 10:57 AM
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Reactive (Varia tail light).
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Old 01-14-21, 11:00 AM
  #23  
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The last I looked a flashing front light for motorcycles was illegal in CT. I don't know if that also applies to bicycles but it seems it would. Does anyone know?
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Old 01-14-21, 11:01 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by jgwilliams View Post
Both. Research suggests that a flashing light draws the attention but a steady light makes it easier to gauge distance. I used to run two lights front and back for that reason but now I have one light for each with a pseudo random flash pattern over a steady light. Probably not quite as good as two lights but a lot less charging required.
me too both two lights on front and back.
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Old 01-14-21, 11:19 AM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by dedhed View Post
Because those guys are trying to kill me.

See also "motorcycle brake light modulator system"
So what is a flashing front light going to do? Aside from cause problems for other road users and be a general annoyance. My rear light on my touring bike does have the brake light function and that is fine, that makes sense as other vehicles have that as well and it is practical.
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