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On constantly or flashing??

madandybellmadandybell Posts: 148
edited January 2009 in Road beginners
Hi all,

Just checking to see what the general preference is when it comes to lights, do you prefer them on constantly or flashing. Do we seem to be more noticed with flashing lights?

Front Rear
Constant Constant
Flashing Flashing
Constant Flashing
Flashing Constant

Also which mode is better for battery life?
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Posts

  • in general, both front and rear, flashing for battery life, constant for visibility.
  • Slow DowncpSlow Downcp Posts: 3,041
    Front - On constantly
    Rear - One of each
    Carlsberg don't make cycle clothing, but if they did it would probably still not be as good as Assos
  • BuglyBugly Posts: 520
    flashing has much better visibility then constant - on the front I use flashing + one constant for me to see the road
  • avoidingmyphdavoidingmyphd Posts: 1,154
    edited January 2009
    I disagree with singlespeedexplosif too. Flashing is better for visibility.

    My general rule is: Constant is to see; Flashing is to be seen.

    If you need to see and be seen, have two front lights so you can use both modes.
  • Mister WMister W Posts: 791
    Some time ago I read some research that suggested that a driver will drift towards a flashing light if he/she can't focus on the rest of the bike or rider. Something to do with object fixation. That means in a situation where you're invisible apart from your light (very dark roads) it's better to have it on constant or have two lights, one flashing and one constant. But my experience from being a driver is that on lit roads it's better to have it on flashing to grab the attention of a driver.
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Both flashing, except for when I need to see where I'm going.
  • jthefjthef Posts: 226
    All rear are flashing and one headlight set at front are on constant to see by and the rest flashing as more noticebly.
  • GibboGTGibboGT Posts: 287
    I've got the blackburn quadrant and mars 3.0 set, rear has a "calculated" flashing routine for maximum visibility with 7 LED's, so something is always on, the front has 2 small and 2 larger LED's has a setting to have the smaller ones flash and the big ones on.

    problem solved.
  • PositronPositron Posts: 191
    Front - constant (backup sometimes on and flashing).
    Rear - one constant and one flashing (usually have both on as you won't see when one fails).

    p.
    Never order anti-pasta to arrive at the same time as pasta.
  • Constant is to see; Flashing is to be seen.
    Presumably car manufacturers should start making headlights in flashing mode too?
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    Really you need two lights at the rear anyway - so one on flash - one on constant.

    You cant really compare car lights to bike lights - look at the area of a bike light vs car lights - plus they have two headlamps to our one.

    I would probably go for two on the front as well - I use three off road anyway.
    But on road - if you have the flashing - you can lose people when the flash is off - i had that experience the other day - lad on a MTB coming down the hill - I could see the flash, and the the next flash - he'd moved further than I would have thought - at least with a solid light - I could have followed his movement.

    Battery life is better with flashing - but dont put economy over safety - get some good rechargeables and you're quids in.
  • LagavulinLagavulin Posts: 1,688
    One of each. Current setup on the winter bike is two Blackburn Mars 4s, one constant and one flashing at the back. Front is Cateye HL EL300 on constant and an EL450 on flashing.


    When I only had the one rear light I used to have that on flashing mode but theres arguments for both modes. e.g. some say distances are difficult to judge with flashing lights vs. constant slow moving (in my case anyway ) lights being difficult to pick out.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,123
    Fenix L2D front on constant turbo mode, rear cateye holy hand grenade, one row of led's flashing and one row on constant.

    This is for otherwise unlit roads with little traffic

    If I was riding in traffic / streetlights I'd have the front light flashing too
  • Gav888Gav888 Posts: 946
    Front doesnt flash, but the rear does so i use flashing, nothing fancy just flashing.

    I recently saw 2 people riding side by side at night, one had a flashing rear and the other not, i found (driving my car) that I could judge the distance to the non flashing person easier, but the flashing person i noticed first... if that makes sense!
    Cycling never gets any easier, you just go faster - Greg LeMond
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    I have no option on my front with the ayuip - it is on constant however this light is really for use on unlit roads and as such in that circumstance constant is essential so it really depends where you are using the light.

    Rear - I have one on constant and one flashing.
  • flashing makes it harder to judge distance speed, thus if it's dark enought that only the light can be seen then it's worth having at least one fixed light.
  • AyUp front so no option, 2 rear, one constant and one flashing.
    'Hello to Jason Isaacs'
  • Cateye singleshot+ on the front flashing and 2 cateyes on the rear also both flashing. Roads are well lit in NW London so its about being noticed by others.
  • I flash...but I'm getting treatment for it.
  • Currently ride around 23 miles home mostly in the dark three nights a week. Have two small 5 LED lights side by side on front and on back of helmet for higher up visibility, one cateye on constant and one flashing on bars, one constant on seat stays and 7 LED flashing on saddle stem with backup below just in case - overkill - yes, but following eight closish calls in the two weeks leading up to christmas I upped the lights from 4 to 9 to give the b%£^&&$££%ds no excuse not to see me.
  • chrisw28chrisw28 Posts: 187
    I don't blame you to be honest, I've had a few close calls this month too. :cry:

    I ride with a flashing front and a constant front, flashing and constant rear.
  • BuglyBugly Posts: 520
    Constant is to see; Flashing is to be seen.
    Presumably car manufacturers should start making headlights in flashing mode too?

    Actually you may notice that towers tall buildings etc have flashing lights on them the reason they flash is that they are MORE VISIBLE to pilots- also CONSTANT STATIONARY Lights appear to move without something to reference against, MOVING Cars - 1 need lights to SEE and 2 as they move it Is not necassary for lights to flash in order to be noticed. I belive that its a specialised receptor in the eye that responds to movement and draws the fovea of the eye to the moving image.

    alsodont think that cars need to be seen as much as to see especially on unlit country roads at night.
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,701
    Bugly wrote:
    alsodont think that cars need to be seen as much as to see especially on unlit country roads at night.
    Oh I think they do! Compared to bicycles cars are *much* bigger, have two (or more) large, very bright headlights and are noisy. In my experience a lot of drivers subconsciously look only for something that could cause them harm - they are only bothered by a vehicle that is as large or larger than their own.

    I'm not convinced more lights are better but I do feel bright lights will get you seen better than some pimple-sized £2 LEDs. Flashing is OK on the back but I'd not normally have a rear flashing alone - I'd have both or just stick with a bright constant light. Similarly, on the front I'd go with constant first. If you want a flash I'd opt for constant on the brighter light and flashing for the smaller one. A bright flashing front light alone would be distracting (in the wrong kind of way) and potentially dazzling. I've ordered a Fenix LD20 to supplement my Cateye EL-320. The latter will be set horizontal while the LD20 lights the road. Large area front lights work better for visibility than small ones, output being equal.

    Hi-viz or bright colours and reflectives help, particularly when on the upper body, as it makes the cyclist appear larger, and therefore a more significant presence in the field of view. Riding in dark clothing with little or no reflective and poxy lights (if any) is shortening the odds dramatically. Not a scenario I'd recommend to anyone.

    All the above based on many years of observation from on the saddle and behind the wheel.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • As a motorist (as well as an occasional cyclist) I find constant front lights on a bike much easier to spot.

    Last night I was turning right onto a major road, and my glance to the left only caught a fraction of the flash from a cyclist's flashing front lamp. Another fraction of a second and I literally would not have seen him. I would certainly have seen a constant light more quickly, assuming it was bright enough.

    With rear lights, flashing is less of a problem, as you tend to have the bike in vision straight ahead for a while.

    But much the most important is to have bright lights and to use them. The number of cyclists on London roads who have no lights at all is really scary.
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    I use a constant light on the front, with a constant and a flashing light on the back. Constant lights aid a significant amount in depth perception, drivers can subconsciously work out how far away you are by the way the light moves as they move. I really don't want someone thinking that I'm 20m ahead when in reality I'm only 5. The flashing light on the rear is to help attract attention towards me.
  • Apparently the Road Traffic Act, and the Highway code state that it is illegal to have flashing lights unless you also have constant ones. I was told this yesterday when i went on a speed awarness course for speeding at 35 in a thirty! i know that was naughty , but i didnt even know there was a camera, incidently, the course leader knows his stuff as he traind cyclists,truckers,cars drivers probably astronauts as well!
  • whyamiherewhyamihere Posts: 7,598
    PHILATHAM wrote:
    Apparently the Road Traffic Act, and the Highway code state that it is illegal to have flashing lights unless you also have constant ones. I was told this yesterday when i went on a speed awarness course for speeding at 35 in a thirty! i know that was naughty , but i didnt even know there was a camera, incidently, the course leader knows his stuff as he traind cyclists,truckers,cars drivers probably astronauts as well!
    Not any more. The law was changed a few years ago to allow flashing lights.
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    PHILATHAM wrote:
    Apparently the Road Traffic Act, and the Highway code state that it is illegal to have flashing lights unless you also have constant ones. I was told this yesterday when i went on a speed awarness course for speeding at 35 in a thirty! i know that was naughty , but i didnt even know there was a camera, incidently, the course leader knows his stuff as he traind cyclists,truckers,cars drivers probably astronauts as well!

    I think flashing, so long as the flash is it a constant rate within some defined range, is perfectly ok so long as the light isn't capable of a working in constant mode.
  • not on their own, I wouldnt want anyone to get stopped for the sake of saving on batteries :D but each to their own
  • doyler78doyler78 Posts: 1,951
    PHILATHAM wrote:
    not on their own, I wouldnt want anyone to get stopped for the sake of saving on batteries :D but each to their own

    http://www.ctc.org.uk/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabID=4071

    This seems to suggest that flashing lights are legal on their own so long as they are not capable of emiting a steady (constant) beam
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