Lights, HiViz et al

Neil_aky
Neil_aky Posts: 211
edited October 2013 in Road general
I was out cycling this morning when a fellow cyclist came alongside and wished me a hearty good morning, first time this has happened to me so I thought that was nice; he then asked me why I had lights flashing in daylight - I said 'anything to get me seen a bit easier' at which point he proceeded to berate me for 'not enjoying my cycling as I must be constantly worrying about cars'! He then said that you should not have to use lights and use HiViz because we should be able to behave the same as cars as we have as much right to use the road...

I explained that I loved my cycling but just wanted to do anything which made it easier for drivers to see me - he seemed to think I was letting the side down by using lights and seemed to be unimpressed with wearing HiViz.

He wished me a good ride but I felt despair at this attitude which exists with some cyclists.

When will these people realise that it easy when driving to not see a bike and both sides need to help each other - even new cars now have to have driving lights...

By the way he was on a black bike, wearing a black top and no helmet.
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Comments

  • Don't lose sleep over it OP. i've tried and faild in the past to reason with the 10% of muppets on here re. Empathy with drivers, as well as arguing with the 10% of bike haters on pistonheads.

    The problem is that arseholes with no empathy / thought for others will continue to be arseholes no matter which mode of transport they are in / on. If i were you, i'd just keep acting as you are :)
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,297
    I've been hit by cars twice in broad daylight*, I now use a flashing light whatever the weather. In an ideal world no cyclist would ever be hit by a car, in fact accidents wouldn't happen. But, as I live in the real world I will continue to use a flashing light.
    Perhaps next time you could tell him you'd enjoy your ride a lot more if the likes of him would shut up and leave you alone.

    * This could have happened even if I'd had lights on, but I'll try to minimise the chances.
  • iPete
    iPete Posts: 6,076
    Despite dressing like a ninja at times, I feel I can concentrate more on the riding knowing my rear light can be seen from the moon, even in day light.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    It's plain odd behaviour really. Can completely understand not using lights etc. In daytime but can't for the life of me think why you'd try to discourage somebody else from doing so.
    I frequently ride early morning when I need a light. I've never considered turning it off once sun is fully risen simply to not annoy another cyclist.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    A black top in daylight is ok. Evidence suggests that solid coloured clothing is quite easily seen by drivers, it stands out against changing backgrounds apparently. The colour of his bike is irrelevant as a driver won't know what colour any of it is from behind except for the tyres & forks maybe, and not wearing a helmet? Personal choice mate, and it fits consistently with what you report him as saying to you.

    Me? I probably wouldn't have said anything to you directly but would have smirked to myself at the bloke with flashing lights & hi-viz on a sunny Sunday morning. Each to their own though.
  • notsoblue
    notsoblue Posts: 5,756
    I think any driver that could only see you on a sunny day if you were wearing hi-viz and had flashing lights would be a danger to anyone near a road.
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Wear as much high vis as you like, but my experience is that regardless how much you dress yourself up, some car drivers will willfully drive too close, chose to ignore you - it's how you ride, not what you wear thats important. There's a guy who rides the local roads, full flappy nylon regalia, blazing headtorch in daylight and rides like a complete f***** ar$e, taking the primary position on wide open roads, reducing the chance for cars to pass and screams at drivers who dare overtake. Thinking a flimsy piece of yellow nylon will somehow protect you is misguided and what your fellow rider was trying to tell you.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Empathy is definitely the answer. Never any point in saying I was in the right, but, now dead. I always try and behave as though I was driving a vehicle. Position, indication etc etc. as someone else said, assume everyone else is out to get you, applies in cars or on bikes.
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    I don't understand his point, Motorbikes are advised to run lights in daytime, 10 years ago when I was on a moped it had the lights permanently on and a lot of modern cars have daytime lights now. I don't wear a high vis jacket and I probably won't but it doesn't bother me that people do. What I don't understand is why people wear all black, even in daylight, they're the ones that need talking to.
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • adr82
    adr82 Posts: 4,002
    hatch87 wrote:
    What I don't understand is why people wear all black, even in daylight, they're the ones that need talking to.
    Why? I cycle a lot at night, particularly in autumn and winter, and take it from me you are far more visible with a decent set of lights (preferably flashing) than with any combination of high vis or brightly coloured clothing without lights (a surprisingly common sight). As for riding in daylight, why would it matter if you wear black? Might be less eyecatching than something fluorescent but you're hardly invisible either! Motorcyclists tend to wear a lot of black too.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    adr82 wrote:
    and take it from me you are far more visible with a decent set of lights (preferably flashing)

    Now, as a driver I think this point needs clarification...

    Just flashing lights actually make distance perception slightly more difficult for other road users although it does have the significant advantage of drawing attention to you.

    I actually think it is far better to have both a flashing and a fixed light source. The fixed light source is exactly that, a fixed reference which other road users can judge your position by and the flashing light screams 'I'm on the road too' to get their attention in the first place.

    I genuinely believe that multiple flashing lights isn't actually the best approach if you haven't got at least one on continuously.
  • mpatts
    mpatts Posts: 1,010
    In situations like this, I find that pointing out that he REALLY should be running Campag rather than Shimano (or whatever).
    Insert bike here:
  • adr82
    adr82 Posts: 4,002
    morstar wrote:
    adr82 wrote:
    and take it from me you are far more visible with a decent set of lights (preferably flashing)

    Now, as a driver I think this point needs clarification...

    Just flashing lights actually make distance perception slightly more difficult for other road users although it does have the significant advantage of drawing attention to you.

    I actually think it is far better to have both a flashing and a fixed light source. The fixed light source is exactly that, a fixed reference which other road users can judge your position by and the flashing light screams 'I'm on the road too' to get their attention in the first place.

    I genuinely believe that multiple flashing lights isn't actually the best approach if you haven't got at least one on continuously.
    I'm not talking about distance perception though, purely visibility. If you don't notice someone on a bike because their steady rear light looks like a car brake light to you at first then it's not much use. Admittedly I don't drive, and maybe things look a little different from inside a car, but in my own experience I find it much easier to pick out flashing lights on busy city streets - almost every other type of light in these places (vehicles, shops, traffic signals) is steady, so it stands out clearly. I'd agree that the ideal combination is one steady and one flashing though.
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    adr82 wrote:
    I'm not talking about distance perception though, purely visibility. If you don't notice someone on a bike because their steady rear light looks like a car brake light to you at first then it's not much use. Admittedly I don't drive, and maybe things look a little different from inside a car, but in my own experience I find it much easier to pick out flashing lights on busy city streets - almost every other type of light in these places (vehicles, shops, traffic signals) is steady, so it stands out clearly. I'd agree that the ideal combination is one steady and one flashing though.
    A steady light won't look like a car brake light - unless they're broken the vast majority of cars have 3 brake lights - and the rest have 2.

    You do need a point of reference for judging distances - flashing lights are not good for this. But it doesn't have to be a steady light - just something that can be easily seen. At night that could be a reflective top/strip, but those rely on the viewers own lights - so better to use a fixed light if possible.

    As for the OP - you'dve got a Good morning from me too ... any thoughts on running lights & hivis would've been kept to myself - For a start I'd have no idea where you've been or where you're going.
    Personally I don't bother with "HiVis" as such - at night I have clothing & rear mudguard with reflective strips on. During the day if it's gloomy then the rear light will be on (flashing) - especially relevant when you go through a wooded area - but I don't worry about the HiVis clothing - if they haven't spotted the light then they shouldn't be on the road! But if that's what you want to wear then go ahead.
  • As far as I understand the law on bike lights flashing lights alone do not comply with the law.
    So a steady light front and back is a legal requirement (when needed) although flashing lights can be an addition but shouldn't be used in isolation.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,514
    I wonder if he lives his whole life by how things should be - leaving the front door unlocked because people should respect your property.

    Flashing lights can be legal, the law was changed recently.
  • monkimark wrote:
    I wonder if he lives his whole life by how things should be - leaving the front door unlocked because people should respect your property.

    Flashing lights can be legal, the law was changed recently.
    Flashing lights ON THEIR OWN can now be legal?
    I was unaware and stand corrected. Thank you.
    I did say the law "as I understand it" and was unaware of any change, recent or otherwise.
  • veronese68
    veronese68 Posts: 27,297
    During daylight a single flashing light is fine as that will draw attention and you'd hope the person sat on the bike would give enough of a point of reference for judging distance. At night I'd go for one steady and one flashing.
    I don't tend to wear hi viz, but do try to get stuff with some reflective details in it for winter use.
  • adr82
    adr82 Posts: 4,002
    Slowbike wrote:
    A steady light won't look like a car brake light - unless they're broken the vast majority of cars have 3 brake lights - and the rest have 2.
    Notice I didn't say "lights" plural, I said "light". On a busy street at night do you realise how often those lights are going to be moving in and out of visibility? It's very common to see only one at a time, at which point I'd love to know how you reliably tell the difference between one steady red light and another. All kinds of obstructions can interfere with your view of vehicles ahead. So then you have to work out if that single red light you see is the left side of a car that's driving closer to the inside of the road than other traffic in between? Or is it the right side of a car parked some distance from the kerb? Or the right side of a car disappearing round a left hand corner? Or maybe it's a cyclist? And so on. Rear lights are sometimes broken or (more often) simply dimmer than usual, which doesn't help. Whereas if I see a flashing red light, there's a very high chance it's a cyclist.
  • mabbo
    mabbo Posts: 117
    monkimark wrote:
    I wonder if he lives his whole life by how things should be - leaving the front door unlocked because people should respect your property.

    Flashing lights can be legal, the law was changed recently.

    My understanding from the highways agency website, and the highway code book , is that a light is required at night. A flashing light alone is not legal. When out after sunset the law is a red rear light, and a white front light. The changes recently mean the old BS standard bulb is no longer required, so LED types are fine. You will probably never be arrested for not having the correct lights, but if you get invovled in an accident, and the lawyers can prove you did not have the correct light, you have no leg to stand on. Be aware it is still a legal requirement to have pedal reflectors as well. Messes up the clip ins no end. Basically light up as bright as you like, but make sure you are legal.
  • adr82 wrote:
    hatch87 wrote:
    What I don't understand is why people wear all black, even in daylight, they're the ones that need talking to.
    Why? I cycle a lot at night, particularly in autumn and winter, and take it from me you are far more visible with a decent set of lights (preferably flashing) than with any combination of high vis or brightly coloured clothing without lights (a surprisingly common sight). As for riding in daylight, why would it matter if you wear black? Might be less eyecatching than something fluorescent but you're hardly invisible either! Motorcyclists tend to wear a lot of black too.

    This.
  • CiB
    CiB Posts: 6,098
    mabbo wrote:
    monkimark wrote:
    I wonder if he lives his whole life by how things should be - leaving the front door unlocked because people should respect your property.

    Flashing lights can be legal, the law was changed recently.

    My understanding from the highways agency website, and the highway code book , is that a light is required at night. A flashing light alone is not legal. When out after sunset the law is a red rear light, and a white front light. The changes recently mean the old BS standard bulb is no longer required, so LED types are fine. You will probably never be arrested for not having the correct lights, but if you get invovled in an accident, and the lawyers can prove you did not have the correct light, you have no leg to stand on. Be aware it is still a legal requirement to have pedal reflectors as well. Messes up the clip ins no end. Basically light up as bright as you like, but make sure you are legal.
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-library/regulations/lighting-regulations scroll down to flashers.

    I don't agree with flashing lights in daylight or night time affecting distance perception - it's not as if the flashing light is the only point of reference and even if it's absolutely pitch dark, which is unlikely, it's not difficult to gauge it. And even then it doesn't matter anyway - you've spotted a flashing red light so should be on the alert if it turns out to be a small light 20 yards ahead instead of a light aircraft 300 yards away.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    CiB wrote:
    mabbo wrote:
    monkimark wrote:
    I wonder if he lives his whole life by how things should be - leaving the front door unlocked because people should respect your property.

    Flashing lights can be legal, the law was changed recently.

    My understanding from the highways agency website, and the highway code book , is that a light is required at night. A flashing light alone is not legal. When out after sunset the law is a red rear light, and a white front light. The changes recently mean the old BS standard bulb is no longer required, so LED types are fine. You will probably never be arrested for not having the correct lights, but if you get invovled in an accident, and the lawyers can prove you did not have the correct light, you have no leg to stand on. Be aware it is still a legal requirement to have pedal reflectors as well. Messes up the clip ins no end. Basically light up as bright as you like, but make sure you are legal.
    http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-library/regulations/lighting-regulations scroll down to flashers.

    I don't agree with flashing lights in daylight or night time affecting distance perception - it's not as if the flashing light is the only point of reference and even if it's absolutely pitch dark, which is unlikely, it's not difficult to gauge it. And even then it doesn't matter anyway - you've spotted a flashing red light so should be on the alert if it turns out to be a small light 20 yards ahead instead of a light aircraft 300 yards away.
    Feel free to not agree about the depth perception. I mentioned it but have absolutely no supporting evidence. It is however my experience and it has been consistently reinforced through 1st hand experience.
    Once I spot a flashing bike light, I tend to take notice being a cyclist and I hope a considerate driver. I think with just a flashing light it is far harder to judge the speed and distance of the bike. It is also invisible for a part of the flashing cycle.
    Ergo, I believe your safety is reduced. By all means, dress it up that cycling isn't / shouldn't be inherently dangerous. I tend to agree but it is also not without risk. The use of lights as a sole source that are off a lot of the time seems daft to me.
    A lot of people do it, most of them don't get knocked off. I'm just highlighting a view that they do have (IMHO) a limitation.
  • adr82
    adr82 Posts: 4,002
    morstar wrote:
    Ergo, I believe your safety is reduced. By all means, dress it up that cycling isn't / shouldn't be inherently dangerous. I tend to agree but it is also not without risk. The use of lights as a sole source that are off a lot of the time seems daft to me.
    A lot of people do it, most of them don't get knocked off. I'm just highlighting a view that they do have (IMHO) a limitation.
    Don't know about you, but the lights I have flash several times per second, meaning the "dark" time each cycle is on the order of a couple of hundred milliseconds at most. That's not "a lot" of time, and as I've been arguing I think it is more than compensated for by the increased ability to catch your eye.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    adr82 wrote:
    Don't know about you, but the lights I have flash several times per second, meaning the "dark" time each cycle is on the order of a couple of hundred milliseconds at most. That's not "a lot" of time, and as I've been arguing I think it is more than compensated for by the increased ability to catch your eye.

    I completely agree they catch your eye more. I personally think having both is the best possible solution.
  • In my experience hi vis clothing does make a big difference. It's a bit annoying for me as I like to wear nice kit. I changed to hi vis screaming yellow this year after a bad accident (SMIDSY).

    Whenever I go out in club kit with no high vis I notice cars pull out on me more. With the hi vis screaming yellow they seem to notice me sooner and don't pull out. My evidence is a bit anecdotal but it does prove to me the value of hi vis. I only use lights during poor light/night rides.

    Better to be safe than sorry guys if you can reduce your chance of ending up dead or in intensive care then it's worth it. As for dark cycling clothing that's just a no no for me. It's just not worth it.
  • What a jerk! I don't see why what you are wearing should be so offensive to him, each to their own I say.Im with you its sad that cyclists don't get seen more easily but I always wear bright colors and helmet etc whatever time of day or year
  • Rhod81
    Rhod81 Posts: 116
    Whilst I agree, that in a perfect world everyone could share the roads in perfect harmony, at the end of the day, cars are generally a big solid lump of metal and 9 times out of 10 driven by a complete muppet with minimal spatial awareness, consideration or ability to negotiate passing anything larger than a roadside grating. If cyclists don't make an effort to make themselves as visible as possible, we're going to end up on the squished side of things...

    As this is my view of the majority of motorised vehicular users, I like to make myself as visible as possible. I tend to wear white jerseys (as well as my white helmet), which I think is quite visible. In anything other than bright conditions I have a hi-vis yellow gilet - which due to its camouflage ability against rapeseed fields, I'll be pairing with perhaps a hi-vis orange for next season.

    As regards lights, I usually have at all times a small, flashy white for the front and my Cateye rapid 5 on the seat post. As for people whinging about flashy rear lights, I have a static red light stuck on my saddlebag. I also have a red fibre flare on my rucksack for commuting purposes. Now its dark, i have a Hope headlight for the front too.
  • morstar
    morstar Posts: 6,190
    FWIW. I am NOT moaning about flashy lights! Front or bl00dy rear!

    I am suggesting that on their own, they do have what I perceive to be a limitation. Maybe I'm just making it up but I don't think so. Somebody who's never driven may not appreciate that limitation.

    I think flashing lights are great when used simultaneously with a static light. I refer to this as best of both worlds.
  • Neil_aky
    Neil_aky Posts: 211
    morstar wrote:

    I think flashing lights are great when used simultaneously with a static light. I refer to this as best of both worlds.

    I agree, I use flashing lights during the day and flashing with steady at night, I find (when driving) that a really bright flashing bike light can make it really difficult to judge the distance to on a dark road.

    The flashing light (both during the day and night) are just to get drivers' attention.

    What people sometimes forget here is that when driving it is not easy to spot a bike so we do have an obligation to try and make every effort to be seen both by the way we ride, what we wear etc. I always try to think what I would like as a driver and try to behave accordingly when riding. I find that, on the whole, I get a courteous response from drivers.

    The last thing most drivers want is to have an accident with a bike (many of them are bike riders themselves), but if, as a cyclist, I have an accident with a car I will come off worse, so I will do everything I can to protect myself and help drivers see me.