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Why not use a flashing red light on front of bike?(24 posts)

Why not use a flashing red light on front of bike?Continental
Nov 10, 2003 9:27 AM
I use a Cateye flashing red tail light on the back of my bike and am very pleased with the visibility it provides. It is more attention getting than my constant white headlight. Is there any reason not to but a flashing red light on the front of my bike to make it more noticable from the front? If flashing red is not legal on the front, what about flashing yellow or blue?
Bad idea!the bull
Nov 10, 2003 9:32 AM
If someone look to their left and sees a flashing light the might think a bike is heading away from them. It is you coming at them at 20 mph.WHAM!
Will you be coming or going?!gtscottie
Nov 10, 2003 9:34 AM
That will be the confusion. A Flashing white light works great on the front of my bike. It is made by planet bike and cost about $10.00 CND
Flashing white light would be the only thing for the frontLC
Nov 10, 2003 10:02 AM
I have seen a few different ones around. Most don't use them since your still going to need a good solid headlight for night riding. I am not sure how visable a little flashing light will be next to a 10 or 15 watt headlight, but it would be good to have as a back up and for those dusk/dawn and foggy rides.
I second the Planet Bike white flasherPsalm 147-10_11
Nov 10, 2003 10:40 AM
I've got the Planet Bike flasher and think it works great. It is pretty small, detaches easily and is quite noticeable. I use it anytime I'm out in the late fall afternoons. It cost me about $10.
re: Why not use a flashing red light on front of bike?russw19
Nov 10, 2003 9:35 AM
In some states, red in front is illegal. It is in Florida.
Same goes for blue. It is a reserved light color for emergency vehicles, but bike cops around here use it. I have never heard of anyone getting a ticket for blue or yellow, but I wouldn't recommend them. Think about what these lights normally mean in regular road situations and what you may be confused for on your bike if you use them. Yellow generally is on top of barrels or barricades and signals road construction of some sort, but at a stationary spot. A motorist may see your light and not think you are moving. Granted you should be in the other lane, but still, it's a risk.

If you just use a simple white light, an oncoming motorist will think you are either a car, bike, or motorcycle. Either way, that's what you want is them to know you are a moving vehicle.

But it's your butt on the line, so the safety issue is for you to make up your own mind on.

It is my butt on the line too, I HATE red lights on the front.MB1
Nov 10, 2003 9:50 AM
I think that front red lights are actually worse than no light at all. A red light on a road or trail singals that there is a vehicle stopped or moving away.

If that vehicle is actually coming at the observer the combined closing speeds can be pretty high and there may not be enough time for either operator to safely react by the time the party in the right realizes what is actually happening.

BTW Cateye makes a really nice flashing 3-led white front light that I use. Cateye #HL-EL200.
Point taken...biknben
Nov 10, 2003 10:40 AM
I see your point. I'll steer away from the red.

I'm just hoping to get attention. I wasn't concerned about what the motorists
i think
I am, just as long as they notice me.

My two biggest problem situations are these:
(1) car pulling out from a side street on my right
(2) car coming towards me, making a left across my path.

I get motorists who are intrigued by my headlight and will wait forever for me to go by. The other ones see white and assume I'm just another headlight or reflection. I just want to differentiate myself from all the other white lights they see.
To stand out try a helmet light as a second front light. nmMB1
Nov 10, 2003 11:00 AM
Yeah, I just found this...which I may try...biknben
Nov 10, 2003 11:09 AM
I can mount it high on my head and it has a flashing mode.

Thanks for the tips.
I'm considering the same...biknben
Nov 10, 2003 9:44 AM
Local laws may prohibit the use of red lights on the front of vehicles. In reality, that would be the last of my concerns.

I going to put one on my fork leg as soon as I get to the shop.

One concern I have is whether or not motorists will be able to see it with a bright white light nearly blinding them already.
For the sake of fellow cyclists, don't do it! nmMB1
Nov 10, 2003 9:55 AM
MB1, tell us why you think not....mainframe
Nov 10, 2003 10:34 AM
You're on the roads more than most, you ought to know.
We commute on MUT's with all the nuts.MB1
Nov 10, 2003 10:58 AM
About this time every year we see the dumbest things on the trails as it gets dark but is still fairly warm. Lots of folks with no lights (my favorite was the guy who carried a really loud whistle to warn others he was there (the problem was you couldn't see him, you only know some fool somewhere was in foul trouble)). This problem tends to fade away with cooler weather and the winter becomes our favorite time to ride.

The best I can figure out about the fools with red lights on the front is that they must just be completly clueless and that they don't know if they are coming or going. No one else can tell if they are coming or going either.

What is so hard about getting some kind of white light for the front (as the law requires) to signal to other trail users that you are there? If you are worried about people seeing you get a bright front (white) light. Miss M has 2 front lights (one that blinks) on her bike and a helmet lamp too-all of them white. I usually make do with my white blinking Cateye and a 5W headlight.
Re: MUTs with nutsvelocity
Nov 10, 2003 1:36 PM
Personally I've been using a flashing yellowish light (Zefal) on the front and a red blinkie on the back for my urban riding.

I want to scream at some of the idiots that are riding without any lights on MUTs in near or total darkness and sometimes, damn it, I do! I also dislike those who use blindingly bright headlights so that that's all you see--it looks like a motorized vehicle is headed your way. And when it's two cyclists side by side with matching unblinkingly bright white lights on the front it sure looks like a car is bearing down on you!
bigger concern is getting nailed.Steve_0
Nov 10, 2003 9:56 AM
so your cruising along southbound towards an intersection. An eastbound car stops, carefully looks both ways before crossing or entering your roadway. Your red blinkie, on the front of your bike, will blend in with the tailights of the northbound traffic.

He's (subconsciously or otherwise) looking for a white light. There's a reason red is illegal on the front.
oops. must read other replies first ....Steve_0
Nov 10, 2003 9:59 AM
sorry for repeating what the bull said.
I wish they made a flashing yellow ...Humma Hah
Nov 10, 2003 9:53 AM
... with LED's aimed about 30 degrees and 60 degrees to either side. That would not be confused with a tail-light, and would catch the attention of drivers getting ready to turn left in front of you, or pull out from the right.
Someone makes oneKeeponTrekkin
Nov 10, 2003 10:05 AM
I saw two coming towards me at dusk last friday. And they certainly were visible. The yellow seemed brighter than red flashers.
They do.Alex-in-Evanston
Nov 10, 2003 10:43 AM
I have a handlebar mount, AAA battery-powered, flashing whitish/green light that can swivel left and right. Circular, maybe 10 or twelve LED's. Mount one on either side of the stem and tilt them out like a plow. Bought 1 year ago at REI.

Why have flashing lights on bike at all?chbarr
Nov 10, 2003 11:11 AM
Personally, I follow the philosophy that a cyclist is safest when he acts and is treated like a car. Cars do not have flashing taillights, ergo, a bicycle shouldn't either.

A car's headlights are "white" (blueish or yellowish tints not withstanding). Ergo, my bicycle shouldn't have such a light on the front, if only to be consistent. Besides, the red doesn't help you see much of what is in front of you (and I'm the first to say that most of my routes are quite visilbe from streetlights alone).

That said, I'm not above other visilbity hedges (reflective tape/clothes, tireflys, etc.).
To make 'em notice we're something different ...Humma Hah
Nov 10, 2003 11:52 AM
... Bicycle headlights are smaller and mounted higher than a car's, and are single lights. Many drivers will mis-judge distance to and speed of a bicycle because of this, as the visual cues make the bike look further away. This was proven to be the case for motorcycles a couple of decades back ... most motorists assumed a motorcycle was further away because the light is higher than they are on cars.

Bicycle headlights are sharply focussed forward. They're invisible from the side. But side reflectors only work when you're directly in the headlights of a car to your side, so when they see the reflector, it may be too late. For that reason, I want something up front that catches the attention of cars to either side of me, who are probably NOT looking for, or expecting, a bicycle. A blinkie in yellow or white would do the trick ... and I worry they might think yellow is a turn signal, so maybe white is best.
I'll go with flashing white light on my helmet.Continental
Nov 10, 2003 12:03 PM
I'm 6'4" and my night/rain bike has a 70 cm frame, so the cars might think I'm a low flying aircraft.
re:gotta make um do the deer in the headlightsjrm
Nov 10, 2003 5:49 PM
go as bright as you can. i prefer the L&M HID. Yeah it gets their attention.