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Thread: Why do you fit extra lights?

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?


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    Quote Originally Posted by The Spin Doctor View Post
    Does what I've just written give you any second thoughts about that strategy?
    That part of my reply might not have been entirely serious, that picture and scenario always struck me as very contrived.

    I've no extra lights lights fitted now. Sometimes I ride with my lights on, sometimes I don't. As and when it seems suitable. My main risk avoidance tactic is not actually riding the bike.

    IME the vast majority of bikes fitted with extra DRLs is that they are appallingly and ignorantly badly adjusted, maybe that's part of the plan. That and loud exhausts don't do motorcyclists any favours, especially the DRLs at night.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Also I do a very small amount of blue light driving (mostly on single track roads) and dislike it, I'd rather drive without them as they can cause other road users to do stupid things, including deliberately jumping passing places to make you stop.

    Might be irrelevant to this discussion, but it's adds to my world view. I'm a strong supporter of the 'They won't see you if they aren't looking' theory.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheb View Post
    IME the vast majority of bikes fitted with extra DRLs is that they are appallingly and ignorantly badly adjusted, maybe that's part of the plan. That and loud exhausts don't do motorcyclists any favours, especially the DRLs at night.
    I think some bicyclists are even worse, deliberately aiming halogen lights to dazzle. I've'seen' it where the lead rider's helmet light was so bright it obscured the riders following him.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheb View Post
    Also I do a very small amount of blue light driving (mostly on single track roads) and dislike it, I'd rather drive without them as they can cause other road users to do stupid things, including deliberately jumping passing places to make you stop.
    Their instructor at the first bike training centre I was with was an ambo driver (years before we had 'paramedics' said that they would often turn the blues off to stop people doing daft, panicky, things.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Yes, and yes.

    Why 'paramedics'? They are paramedics, not just drivers. And they are ambulance technicians, as they aren't just drivers.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Spin Doctor View Post
    Probably whilst thinking... "self-important twat".
    Probably that, or worse. It was fun, but I'm not sure it was safe, or legal.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheb View Post
    They are paramedics, not just drivers. And they are ambulance technicians, as they aren't just drivers.
    Not in the early 1980s, they weren't. They were ambulance men and women. Not saying they didn't have skills, but nowhere near the advanced levels that current staff are able to provide.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post

    Basic misunderstandings of 'conspicuity'*, what the rider thinks the lights can achieve, and what is actually likely to happen.

    *
    'Visible' - is it in line of sight, can you see it if asked to look for it?
    Attention conspicuity - high contrast etc, attracts your attention
    Search conspicuity - gets your attention if you're asked to look for it
    Cognitive conspicuity - you have an understanding of what you are seeing



    !
    Do most fit them for discrimination - in ye olden days, bikes used to stand out if they had a light on; perhaps the thinking now is that a triangle of lights signifies 'bike'? If so, the triangle should at least be standardised - two above one or two below one. And/or contrasting colour might help achieve that.
    But it won't provide Spin's desired depth perception. I've posted before about setting up an overtake on a dull morning, before the oncoming vehicle was anywhere near inconvenienced, only to find that it was a twin-headlamped quadbike, considerably closer to me than I thought when I perceived it as a distant car. IYSWIM.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by slowsider View Post
    Do most fit them for discrimination

    setting up an overtake, only to find that it was a twin-headlamped quadbike
    Spin's posted similar, IIRC, a dual-headlamp bike.

    Yes, it could be to look 'different', but to expect observers to understand 'bike' is a big ask, plus that could lead the rider to believe that not only will the observer 'know' it's a bike, but also that they will understand the implications.

    The Habit of the Three Invisibles by Henry Gregor Felsen

    Riding in traffic, you need the habit of being invisible in three different ways.

    Most cycle accidents involving another vehicle, involve a car. Most of the time - about 70 to 80 percent of the time - the accident is the fault of the motorist. The usual excuse is "I didn't see the motorcycle."

    Most of the time that's the truth, even if the driver of the car was staring right at the cycle.

    Most of the time the accidents that are the fault of the motorist are the fault of the cyclist. It doesn't seem to make sense to say that, but it's true.
    Most drivers on the road today are over thirty years of age. Most have never ridden a motorcycle or received any instruction or information about how to share the road with a cycle.

    It is up to the cyclist to remember that and not to expect the auto driver to understand his problems.

    Unfortunately, hundreds of thousands of cyclists are too young to drive cars, so they don't know the problems of the auto driver. And they do things that invite accidents, like not knowing that a car has many blind spots when it comes to a little machine like a cycle, and if you ride in a blind spot, you're inviting an accident that is technically the auto driver's fault, but really the cyclist's fault for getting in a dangerous position.

    So to be safe, you develop the habit of the three invisibilities.

    Think of this:
    In order really to see you, the motorist must be able to see you three ways.

    1. He must see you physically.
    2. He must see you mechanically.
    3. He must see you emotionally.


    1. You assume when you ride that he cannot or does not see you in those three ways, even if he is looking right into your baby blue eyes. And you think for both.

    In order to be the most visible physically, you wear bright colors, turn your headlight on, day or night, avoid riding in his blind spots, and give him every chance to see you.

    In this country our driving eyes are still trained to look for big cars and trucks. We are learning to adjust our eyes to look for small cars, but motorcycles still sneak up on us, get lost behind a window post, seem farther away than they are, and, being small, seem to be travelling slower than they are.

    So we make mistakes and hit cycles.

    Have the habit of thinking physically invisible.

    2. Motorists who do not ride cycles and who see it physically do not see it mechanically.

    They do not know that a cycle has greater traction problems in bad weather, and it has to slow down for street conditions that a car can ignore. Expecting the cycle to start, stop, and behave like a car, they don't know how to give it a chance and pile into it.

    So, you assume that no motorist understands your road and bike problems and expect the worst. If you expect it, you won't get it.

    Remember your mechanical invisibility.

    3. Seeing you emotionally.

    If the car driver thinks of all cyclists as Hell's Angels and hoods, noisy nuisances who flout law and order, get in his way, and are looking for trouble, you're in trouble, even if you're wearing your pin for perfect attendance at Sunday School.

    The motorist who does sees not you, but his idea of what all cyclists are like, is dangerous. He won't give you a break even if he sees you physically and mechanically, and in a shoot-out his big car has your light bike outgunned.

    Assume that the motorist is hostile toward cyclists until proved otherwise, and hold your habit of feeling that you are emotionally invisible.

    Perhaps I should add a fourth category, that of seeing you legally.

    Your cycle is entitled to a full lane of traffic. You ride left of center, where the traction is usually best, and so cars won't treat you like a skinny bicycle and try to squeeze you into the curb. The motorist doesn't know your rights. He wants to get by, and you seem to be blocking him. He thinks you are an arrogant road hog and might give you a bad time in return.
    I am happy to say that my own state of Iowa—and we're one of the big cycle states in the country—is doing something about that. When you get your materials to study for a license to drive a car, it includes how to understand and share the road with cycles.

    Too bad that more cyclists don't seem to know. If you treat your cycle like a toy and squeeze between cars, don't expect them to yield a full lane to you when you need it. Know your rights, ride according to them, and watch out. Being in the right is fine, but it doesn't stop the bleeding.

    .

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by cheb View Post
    That part of my reply might not have been entirely serious, that picture and scenario always struck me as very contrived.
    OK, fair enough

    But it does happen... I featured a vid on the FB page a year or so back sent by a rider from his in-car cam, which did in fact show a motorcycle approaching a junction and intending to turn right where his headlight just happened to line up with the car behind. He mentioned he didn't spot the bike till the last second.




    I've no extra lights lights fitted now. Sometimes I ride with my lights on, sometimes I don't. As and when it seems suitable. My main risk avoidance tactic is not actually riding the bike.

    IME the vast majority of bikes fitted with extra DRLs is that they are appallingly and ignorantly badly adjusted, maybe that's part of the plan. That and loud exhausts don't do motorcyclists any favours, especially the DRLs at night.
    Unfortunately, the 'set on stun' extra lights are a fashion item now... get an adventure bike and they're a bolt-on extra from the manufacturer catalogue.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by Horse View Post
    With the risk that the driver sees …

    Bike approaching No light
    Bike approaching No light
    Bike approaching, now very close, No light
    Bump. Flash!
    "Oh yes, thank you, I will pull out"

    I think this is worse / more likely with the 'projector' style headlamp rather than the older types where the glass is a lens, so 'glows' IYSWIM.
    I've never seen any hard evidence for the frequency of this particular issue, though I'm sure it happens. But the flickering I'm talking about here is on a 60 mph road, with traffic moving at 50-ish in my direction (thanks to the HGV ahead) with bikes coming the other way at 60-ish. So I was seeing them some way off - probably half-a-mile as the road's so straight.

    It's noticeable that the cut-off for HID and LED lights is very sharp, presumably because of the extra light output over a halogen.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    To sum up: whatever lighting / dayglo etc you have some people won't see you or if they do will not understand what they're seeing. So the only sensible thing to do is to assume that they haven't seen you and ride accordingly.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by iansoady View Post
    To sum up: whatever lighting / dayglo etc you have some people won't see you or if they do will not understand what they're seeing. So the only sensible thing to do is to assume that they haven't seen you and ride accordingly.
    From here

    We are fallible
    We are not invincible
    We are responsible for the actions we take
    We cannot expect other people to look out for us
    We cannot expect people to react the way we want them to
    We are not Borg

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    I've found with twin headlight bikes people are less likely to pull out on me if only one light of two is working, no idea why, maybe it's an asymmetrical thing.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by RiceBurner View Post
    I'm not at all surprised, I've noticed the same thing. (but been shouted down most times I've mentioned it).
    Unfortunately, we have had so many years of advice to fit DRLs, that people believe that they work at night too, thanks in part to companies making the lighting systems exploiting it.

    Just to re-describe it (stand back... I'm a professional tautologist. ) - what you're saying is that the beam pattern of the auxiliary lights doesn't 'end' at a particular point/plane, so it's ALL just pointing straight forwards, meaning that there's no 'edge' of the pattern that can be aimed just below a driver's sightline (like dip-beams are aimed).

    Again - I totally agree.
    Essentially, that's it. So the effect from ahead is simply glare. When view against a dark backdrop (particularly from close-up when people stand at the end of the drive and look at their own bike in front of the garage door) it appears to work. But as soon as there are a multiplicity of other vehicle lights, it's camouflage.

    My take on this is that the triangle of light is ONLY useful WHEN the observer actually KNOWS what they're looking at.
    Otherwise it's just 3 lights that could be anywhere (they could be 2 different vehicles travelling in convoy! a tall bike with a single beam following a Caterham 7 for example).
    That seems to be the result of the most recent research. The triangle doesn't appear to reduce urban SMIDSYs - probably because at the point that the driver makes the 'looked but failed to see' error, the bike must be less than 20 m away (further off, and the rider could stop easily). It has been suggested that there is a 'conspicuity benefit' at night, but I suspect that the research either didn't take into account the backdrop where there are a lot of illuminated vehicles, or the subjects 'learned' that a triangle = bike, which skewed the results.

    Further - to know how far away the triangle is, you need to know how far apart the beams are set, which the observer won't know until the vehicle has arrived.
    Senso stricto, that's perfectly true... but one of the big problems of judging PTWs speed and distance seems to be their narrow width : height ratio. It seems we're better able to judge via the change in the horizontal plane (ie width) than vertical (height). Bikes are narrow but tall, and so put a bike and a four-wheeled vehicle side-by-side approaching at the same speed and observers will judge the bike to arrive later. It would seem there's more sense of width with the triangle.

    My personal take on auxiliary lights is that they should be there to aid my OWN vision (thus mine are wired to come on with full-beam ONLY), and adding more lights to my bike at other times only serves to cause confusion to other road users, and obscure my own presence.
    I'm not entirely anti-DRLs though the evidence that they work is limited (and if it does the accident reduction rate is only very small) but relying on them is daft.

    FWIW - I have Hella FF50s on my bike (wired to full-beam), and they're pants. The pattern is a fog-light pattern and totally useless for filling in the 'full-beam' pattern.

    Of course, if manufacturers actually designed PROPER full-beam and dip-beam patterns (and yes, I've worked in lighting design, it's possible) then a lot of these extra lights wouldn't be necessary. The BMW GS full-beams are notoriously SHIT on full-beam (especially the R1150GS/Rockster).
    I had SUPERB headlights on the ZXR400 and CBR400, clear as day and an excellent beam-pattern in both modes.
    I've ridden behind some shockers. The SRZ660 was only matched by the original KTM Duke for awful lights. When I flipped to main beam on the KTM I genuinely thought the bulb had blown. The CX500 had a great headlight.
    Last edited by The Spin Doctor; 20-09-19 at 10:31.

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    Default Re: Why do you fit extra lights?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Spin Doctor View Post
    I've never seen any hard evidence for the frequency of this particular issue, though I'm sure it happens.
    I've seen the 'bump-flash' happen. Only heard of one crash as a result, told about it by the insurance company investigator dealing with my claim.

    But crashes are rare events anyway! [I'm sure I've heard someone point that out ]

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