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Don't be a d!ck. Point your lights down.

rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,372 Lives Here
edited November 2017 in Commuting chat
For the benefit of the occasional lurker or casual browser who has ended up on the forum.

When you are using your winter cycling lights in the dark, or at night, please point them down.

Rather like cars with their full beams, modern bike lights are quite blinding.

If you're worried you 30,000 lumen light won't make you seen if you point it 20 degrees downwards, then you're a moron.

This especially applies when you are in unlit areas, where the blinding issue is more severe.

The same also applies to your rear light. Blinding the hell of out the chap behind isn't going to do you any favours when you suddenly have to stop for a deer that has appeared in the road.

I've even come up with a helpful catchphrase to help people remember, and to help people who are remind others to do so.

Don't be a d!ck. Point your lights down.
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  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    Is it that time, again? Pet peeve of mine.
    'Hahaha, i paid so little for this ebay light and it has so many lumens! Look at this road lit up like football pitch! Why is incoming traffic so wobbly and covering their eyes? Anyways, i can see so well!'

    What i found out is that turning my own light up almost never helps, it just does not occur to them there's something wrong.
  • jedsterjedster Posts: 1,717
    Oh god yes and doubly so for flashing lights which are twice as dazzling. Clue - tiny little watch battery flashers are OK to be horizontal, anything else - point it down
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    + 1,000,000 don't be an idiot, be a MEMBER of society and be considerate.

    We are the result of nearly 2,000,000 years of censored sapien evolution, yet some people seem to behave like we haven't made it into the caves yet!
  • Point down and towards the left I say just to be sure. That way side roads get lit up more so cars from the side might see you better. Well I'm always the optimist.

    BTW I will direct the main light directly at cars with full beam on in the vain hope they'll dip them. Doesn't work with my bike lights, not powerful enough or focused enough.


    My powerful head torch does work despite being officially only 180 lumens so I suspect beam pattern has an effect. Walking down country lanes looking at drivers always get them to dip their lights. Only a quick glance up so not enough to.dazzle badly.
  • Another thing to consider is a freznel lens if your light is unshaped.
    If applied to the top 2/3 of the output, all that light that is going up can be made to point down, so you can still get the beam centre out to the same distance, and it's actually brighter because you have less wasted light.

    Found this last year when struggling between oncoming cars and absolute black rural hell when your night vision hasn't reacclimatised yet.

    (Look at a fenix light for an example)
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
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  • jamescojamesco Posts: 687
    Another thing to consider is a freznel lens if your light is unshaped.
    Are there Fresnel lenses that can be fitted to small bicycle lights? I've got these on the front, for example. The Fresnel lenses I could find had a diameter of 29-39mm and were made to repace lenses screwed in with a bezel, rather than one piece plastic.
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    Point down and towards the left .

    Always do, always do.

    OK, suddenly i don't feel like a pinnacle of 2000000 year evolution.
  • redveeredvee Posts: 11,921
    The same also applies to your rear light. Blinding the hell of out the chap behind isn't going to do you any favours when you suddenly have to stop for a deer that has appeared in the road.

    One reason why I ditched the Exposure seatpost bracket for my TraceR and went with a Raceware saddle railmount. The Exposure bracket had the light horizontal and at near driver's eye level, the Raceware bracket has a fair degree of adjustment and although higher is pointed downwards.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • Quite a number seem to have the lights slightly angled up....

    As someone who rides though full dark, i.e. No street lights etc, folks with lights on flash, are fairly unpleasant to be near.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    It's hardly rocket science is it?

    I guess it's easy not to be aware of how dazzling your own light is, but surely everyone in the country must have been blinded by someone else's - how clever do you have to be to put 2 and 2 together?

    My commute is almost entirely through country roads and, when I'm out in the dark, I personally can't get enough lumens (2 allegedly 1000+ lightmall jobs, 1 spot 1 spread does it for me) but it's easy to point them downwards and towards the kerb - which also takes care of that terror moment just as you pass a car and you would otherwise be facing a totally blank view. A little bit of give in the mount allows you to reply in kind to cars that don't dip their headlights.

    Agree with the comments re tail lights too - can't see the point of the 3 million lumen rear flasher, your average cheap rear light is visible from miles off, just use two.

    Yesterday was the first time out in the proper dark, too, at least for the first half hour. I quite like it really, my only gripe is that I'm going the opposite direction to almost all the traffic for the first half so the constant stream of headlights is a bit of a pain.
  • Its threads like this that make Bikeradar Great
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  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    When I read this thread yesterday I was like, "meh, whatever". Then this morning I was driving from a bright road into a section covered with trees and consequently quite dark. As I was approaching there was a cyclist in this section, coming the other way. Their light was bright and pointed perfectly at my retinas. I could see nothing past them; in fact I couldn't even work out if it was a cyclist, motorcyclist or a car with one light out.

    Down it is.
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    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • fat daddyfat daddy Posts: 2,605
    I made the mistake of walking out the house with the dark glasses on this morning ..... I didn't realise until I got half way to work and realised I was really struggling seeing pot holes brake lights, traffic lights etc etc

    its one option to being dazzled
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,864
    The OP has obviously been cycling through Hyde Park, where it seems to be the law for all Bromptons to shine their lights up and to the right

    FFS, you're supposed to use it to see THE ROAD

    There should be a law that if you are caught doing this, you have to swap your searchlight for a 1980s Ever Ready for a month. Weight? Half a kilo or so. Light output? About the same as an unlit candle.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • Cannot stand it!
  • A mate of mine asked me yesterday what lights he should get for his bike for the winter, and it was depressing to see the general standard of lights sold in the UK, most of which dazzle, don't conform to any standards, and are therefore illegal. I've pointed him over to Rose Bikes, where all the lights sold have proper lenses, as they have to by law in Germany. A light that conforms to German standards is legal in the UK, as it's an 'Equivalent EC standard' to BS6102/3
    I don't need to point my light down. The lens shapes the light so it produces a nice pool of light on the road, and doesn't dazzle oncoming road users. It's not about the lumens, it's about the optics.
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  • I can definitely see the value in this angled down and to your near-side kerb when you share routes with cars.

    However, if you regularly encounter lorries and coaches, I would be more inclined to have front/rear lights more horizontal.

    I do like how I can choose to mount my Moon Nebula rear so its length is either vertical or horizontal with the saddle rail clamp, I use the vertical plane option, because I'm paranoid about how much of the light will be seen in horizontal mode once I start wearing my big winter overcoat.
    ================
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  • twist83twist83 Posts: 761
    Agreed while expensive. I bought an Exposure Strada with a proper lens in. Fantastic light. You don't need to spend that sort of money either to get those features either.
    Rhodrich wrote:
    A mate of mine asked me yesterday what lights he should get for his bike for the winter, and it was depressing to see the general standard of lights sold in the UK, most of which dazzle, don't conform to any standards, and are therefore illegal. I've pointed him over to Rose Bikes, where all the lights sold have proper lenses, as they have to by law in Germany. A light that conforms to German standards is legal in the UK, as it's an 'Equivalent EC standard' to BS6102/3
    I don't need to point my light down. The lens shapes the light so it produces a nice pool of light on the road, and doesn't dazzle oncoming road users. It's not about the lumens, it's about the optics.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Rhodrich wrote:
    I don't need to point my light down. The lens shapes the light so it produces a nice pool of light on the road, and doesn't dazzle oncoming road users. It's not about the lumens, it's about the optics.
    Well yes. Or alternatively you could point your light downward a bit.
  • twist83twist83 Posts: 761
    Unless you have an incredibly censored light. Even with the elevated position of those vehicles they will see you just fine and you will not blind other road users not in said vehicles when the light is dipped.

    As per above it bugs me as a cyclist when another cyclist coming the other way has a flashing front light or it blinding me so I cannot see or pick out where that person is.
    I can definitely see the value in this angled down and to your near-side kerb when you share routes with cars.

    However, if you regularly encounter lorries and coaches, I would be more inclined to have front/rear lights more horizontal.

    I do like how I can choose to mount my Moon Nebula rear so its length is either vertical or horizontal with the saddle rail clamp, I use the vertical plane option, because I'm paranoid about how much of the light will be seen in horizontal mode once I start wearing my big winter overcoat.
  • jds_1981jds_1981 Posts: 1,858
    twist83 wrote:
    Unless you have an incredibly censored light. Even with the elevated position of those vehicles they will see you just fine and you will not blind other road users not in said vehicles when the light is dipped.

    As per above it bugs me as a cyclist when another cyclist coming the other way has a flashing front light or it blinding me so I cannot see or pick out where that person is.
    I can definitely see the value in this angled down and to your near-side kerb when you share routes with cars.

    However, if you regularly encounter lorries and coaches, I would be more inclined to have front/rear lights more horizontal.

    I do like how I can choose to mount my Moon Nebula rear so its length is either vertical or horizontal with the saddle rail clamp, I use the vertical plane option, because I'm paranoid about how much of the light will be seen in horizontal mode once I start wearing my big winter overcoat.

    Cycling along a canal I regularly get this.
    I've now wired up a magic shine to a button I can reach when cycling on the hoods, so I can turn on full beam in order to see again if I'm blinded.
    Last year I passive aggressively just put my arm over my eyes and veered across the path when totally blinded.
    FCN 9 || FCN 5
  • MrSwearyMrSweary Posts: 1,699
    I have to be careful with this as my Exposure Trace has a tendency to rotate upwards. TraceR on the back is fixed, as redvee mentioned, but that is on lowest setting and angled off a bit.
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  • People riding at night without lights at all should also be aware that a perfectly reasonable light angled down can appear very bright to eyes that are adjusted to total darkness. So don't have a go at me because you haven't got a decent light when mine is already dimmed.
  • CS3 along cable Street is particularly bad, lost count of how many times I've been temporarily blinded by oncoming tards with strobes on their helmets
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    A guy I know (loosely) wouldnt commute in the winter because of the dark. I told him that shouldnt stop him as lights are so good these days and pointed him at a Magicshine type light. He told me when he got it that it was great. It wasnt until several months later that I went out with him on bikes together - only to find that he uses his old weak light on constant to light the road and had the magicshine on strobe - he was commuting like this on a daily basis. Sheer madness. Not only is the fast strobe that many of these lights totally wrong and very disorientating for people but he still wasnt lighting up the road properly to see because he was using his old light for that part.

    My favourite light currently is the Fenix BC30, with a fresnel lens on the top half to shape the beam and its not too big and doesnt need a separate battery pack - takes normal 18650 batteries so you can have backup too.

    I also loved the Jexree Owl before that - the combined flasher, using rings around the main lights, was awesome.

    If I could combine the two of these, that would be my perfect light!
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,542
    I told someone last week that their over bright front light was blinding me, but he reacted as if I'd paid him a compliment.
  • mrfpbmrfpb Posts: 4,542
    And flashing front lights at night are a no-no. Guaranteed to trigger a migraine for me.
  • apreading wrote:
    My favourite light currently is the Fenix BC30, with a fresnel lens on the top half to shape the beam and its not too big and doesnt need a separate battery pack
    Having made this mod to my Nanoshot + I highly recommend this mod to anyone with unshaped light outputs, all for the grand sum of 30 pence for a freznel magnifying glass and a scalpel.
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I've just got a Ding bike light from Oz, Designed optics to light up the road rather than blind people and it hangs underneath the bars so it defaults to basically the right position.
  • thistle_thistle_ Posts: 5,597
    BTW I will direct the main light directly at cars with full beam on in the vain hope they'll dip them. Doesn't work with my bike lights, not powerful enough or focused enough.
    I do this on my bike and when driving. Doesn't make a difference usually :(
    SecretSam wrote:
    There should be a law that if you are caught doing this, you have to swap your searchlight for a 1980s Ever Ready for a month. Weight? Half a kilo or so. Light output? About the same as an unlit candle.
    At university the security guys used to stop anyone riding around without lights and fine them £10, or sell them a set of censored lights for £10 Does anything use D sized batteries these days? :mrgreen:
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