Headlights for Bicycle Riding in an urban setting

wsmarchow

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Oct 26, 2012
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Hello Generous and knowledgeable light enthusiasts,

I ride a bike on the streets of San Francisco on a regular basis. It's a challenging environment with cable cars, busses, google busses (they are twice the size of everything else), cars, street lights, and other cyclists. I'm looking for a headlight or handlebar mount that has enough brightness to stand out in the light pollution. All recommendations are welcome. I like Zebra Light, FourSevens, Fenix, etc. For whatever reason I have an awful lot of CR123 Cells at my house so let's start with that as a power source.

If you have practical experience in this type of environment that helps. The things I ride with really take a beating.

Thank you,

Wsmarchow
 

wsmarchow

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Hi Kj2,

I just took a look at those. Do you have any experience with a rechargeable flashlight system ?
 

alpg88

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i ride on nyc streets, with street lights on at night i do not really need a light to illuminate, but to make sure others see me, i use strobe front and back, any steady light will be next to useless in the city, since there is so much light from other cars\street lamps, your light wont look much different. or make people pay more attention to it that other lights. not that most drivers here even look out for cycles, i almost got hit few times when cars made right turn right in front of me, seems like they onlty care not to collide with other cars, bikes can't hurt them, so they do not care.
my advice use strobe, as bright as possible, it may annoy drivers, but at least it'll make them see you, pay more attention, if it means you either get yelled at or ran over, i'll take yelled at any time.
 

kj2

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Pulsing lights are prohibited where I live. Also when flashing, you move when the light is off. And it can disorient other drivers so they still don't know where you are. If strobe is needed to alert other drivers, why wouldn't all car headlight flash??

I don't have experience with a rechargeable bikelight system. Do have experience with charging systems for regular flashlights.
I own a Fenix BC30. I live in the Netherlands, so there are plenty of bikes and roads here. Low and medium are enough to see and be seen in traffic. Outside city limits I bump it up to high. And when needed I still have the burst of 1800 lumens.
 

alpg88

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And it can disorient other drivers so they still don't know where you are. If strobe is needed to alert other drivers, why wouldn't all car headlight flash??

.
beacuse they do not watch for cycles, they watch for other cars. or do not watch at all. no driver looks what is on his right, when he is in a right lane making right turn, they know there are no cars there, bikes are something very few american drivers pay attention to. that is what i've learned the hard way on nyc streets.
 

kj2

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beacuse they do not watch for cycles, they watch for other cars. or do not watch at all. no driver looks what is on his right, when he is in a right lane making right turn, they know there are no cars there, bikes are something very few american drivers pay attention to. that is what i've learned the hard way on nyc streets.

Have seen some YT videos how bicycles have a manage to get at their destination in NY traffic. At busy roads, cars and bicycles are on separate lanes here. The lanes are also divided from each other. And with driving lessons, you learn to look before you turn ;)
 

alpg88

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Have seen some YT videos how bicycles have a manage to get at their destination in NY traffic. At busy roads, cars and bicycles are on separate lanes here. The lanes are also divided from each other. And with driving lessons, you learn to look before you turn ;)

that is the problem, you have seen some videos, i live and ride here, also feel free to give such a priceless advice (And with driving lessons, you learn to look before you turn ;)) to all ny car\truck drivers. lmao.

we have all kinds of roads, big, small, divided, and not, we have separate bike lanes in some places, others have shared lines, other roads have no bike lines, do you think watching 1 or 2 videos will give you even half remote idea how things really are all over the city??? again, lmao. and unlike europe in usa you are not allowed to use sidewalks.
 
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kj2

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May 22, 2010
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that is the problem, you have seen some videos, i live and ride here, also feel free to give such a priceless advice (And with driving lessons, you learn to look before you turn ;)) to all ny car\truck drivers. lmao.

we have all kinds of roads, big, small, divided, and not, we have separate bike lanes in some places, others have shared lines, other roads have no bike lines, do you think watching 1 or 2 videos will give you even half remote idea how things really are all over the city??? again, lmao. and unlike europe in usa you are not allowed to use sidewalks.

Don't say I know how it is to ride a bike in NY, after watching a couple of videos. But I do have a idea.
Cycling on the sidewalk isn't allowed here either, although many people do it. Police could write enough tickets on a day, but priority is somewhere else..
 

wsmarchow

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Oct 26, 2012
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San Francisco is quite treacherous. Cyclists are forced to ride on the street integrated with automobile traffic. The accident rates are terrible, as are the mortality rates. The streets are narrow, often under construction or in poor condition, and congested. This is a not an environment where I'm out in the country and it's pitch black. It's the city. There's light pollution everywhere. That means that I need to be 2X - 5X brighter than street lights, marque lights, headlights, and any other lights in order to stand out. A strobe is an excellent idea and I'll make sure that the light I buy has that feature.
 

gravelmonkey

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Budget?

Consider a hi-viz jacket if you don't have one, sleeves with retro-reflective material helps when signalling. In an ideal world you'd have a light on your helmet plus bars. My set-up is an inexpensive 2*AAA headlamp zip-tied to the helmet on c.2Hz blink, plus a Zebralight SC600 (not CR123a compatible!) on constant on the bars. Rear lights are a red self adhesive blinky on the back of my helmet, a red AA glo-toob clone clipped to the rucksack and a Smart lunar R1 on the bike.

'Tacticool' strobe is an awful feature for a cycle light- it will just **** people off, if you desperately need an attention grabber use something that 'blinks'.
 
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