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Thread: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

  1. #1

    Default Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    I'm disabled and must use a power wheelchair. I rarely discuss that fact on forums as it's usually not important. But lately "lights and wheelchairs" have been very important, to me at least.

    I hate staying at home, and like to be as mobile as possible. Near our neighborhood is a very busy business area. I often take off in my chair just to get out and break the monotony. Many times it's nighttime when I decide to take off. My wife worries that someone will run over me as I cross busy streets at night, so I have taken some precautions. I ordered some of the little flashing LED lights with red lens like people use on bikes. I have two of these flashing lights on the rear of my chair. I also placed some red reflective tape on each side of the front. But I found it is still dangerous as there are some real boneheads with driver's licenses. And it's even more dangerous in some areas where there are no sidewalks or streetlights, and I have no choice but to use the side of the street.

    I've carried a Fenix P3D as my EDC for quite a while. I carry it on my belt with the stock hoster any time I leave the house. I usually don't tuck in my shirt, so it's out of sight but handy. Recently I began using it whenever I'm crossing the street, or in the roadway at night. When I cross a busy street (even at the corner, with the green light and "Walk" sign) I put the P3D on "strobe" and shine it in the direction of the oncoming traffic as an added safety measure.

    Lately it has saved my life - twice! It's more effective than fixed lights or reflectors since I have it in my hand, and can quickly point it in the direction of the threat. I often find the most dangerous vehicles are not the ones coming from the left or right on the street I'm crossing, but the ones coming from almost behind me on the cross street, entering the street and turning right on the street I'm trying to cross. They look left and right (some of them), but they're looking for cars, not wheelchairs. Twice lately the only thing that kept me from becoming a statistic was my P3D in strobe mode, aimed at the car . . . one nut sliding up to me with his brakes locked. Even though I had the green light and the "Walk" sign.

    So now I have my light in my hand and flashing anytime I cross the street at night. I do my best not to blind anyone, by keeping it moving (sort of sweeping back and forth), and find most drivers are extremely polite and even come to a stop, allowing me to pass, even if they have the light. There's no doubt it makes my passage much safer. I formerly used my EternaLight X-Ray in the "Dazzle" mode for this purpose, but feel much safer with the output of the P3D.

    I use my small collection of lights for many things in and around the house just like all of you, this is just one more way they help me. Plus the hobby itself - messing with the lights, charging and recharging, modifying, etc. give me lot's of activity for otherwise boring days.

    I'm already putting together some "Light Packages" for gifts this Christmas. I'm customizing the gifts based on each recipient's needs. For example one young man is a UPS driver. He's getting an UltraFire Projection (for reading addresses at night), along with batteries and charger. In his package is also a Pelican VB3 (for use while using the UPS clipboard/computer, and he can also clip it to the bill of his cap while looking for packages in his truck). He's also getting a quality Headlamp (he works on cars a lot), a couple of the little keychain squeeze lights, and batteries for all. I'm putting it all into a Pelican Case, with the foam customized to hold it all as if it came that way. Several others will get their own custom packages, each suited to their work or lifestyle (duck hunters, hikers, campers, etc.). I'm even taking care to only purchase lights that use Li-Ion cells for those I think will take the care to use them safely (the rest get alkaline AA's, etc.) My wife loves it as it takes care of several who are difficult to buy presents for.

    I'm new to the hobby, but loving it. Thanks for the warm reception to the forum.

    - Larry
    Last edited by Wassernaut; 10-03-2007 at 11:31 PM.
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Welcome!

  3. #3
    Flashaholic Dr.K's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    One of my buds is in a chair, and it doesn't slow him down very much at all.

    Glad your here.
    Kyle

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    you should think about getting that Barbolight traffic wand, instead of strobing drivers.
    Currently own: Inova X5+X1, LP M1 XR-E, Fenix L0D CE, LP LM301, Novatac 120T+17670tube, SF 6PL+E2L XRE+M4+M962, NiteC Def+D10+EzAA
    Used to own: SF L4+ L5+G2+XRE L1, LP M1 XR-E, LP MRV,

  5. #5

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by boosterboy View Post
    you should think about getting that Barbolight traffic wand, instead of strobing drivers.
    I had never heard of it. I checked it out and it seems like a pretty good idea. Thanks brother. - Larry
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    As you have a power wheelchair, would it be an idea to fit it with lights run off the main (presumably LA) power pack? You could then use some quite power hungry units without worrying too much about run-time. Strobes are good for getting attention, and I believe an amber-colored strobe is a fairly standard "warning" indicator. Motorists wouldn't ignore it if it was good and bright.
    Resistance is futile...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    I've got to say that the strobe is a great idea. Motorists (in general) only look out for what is dangerous to them! As well as wheelchairs, pedestrians and motorcycles are also invisible.
    Funny though, police, whether on foot or on motorcycle, seem to be visible.
    Greg

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Can we issue a new law that requires drivers to be retested when their license expires (4 years here), and licenses pulled if you can't pass? I bet there's about 1/4 of the cars that are currently on the road. It would alleviate this concern, bikers, cellphone drivers, bad parkers, and general morons.
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  9. #9

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by DM51 View Post
    As you have a power wheelchair, would it be an idea to fit it with lights run off the main (presumably LA) power pack? You could then use some quite power hungry units without worrying too much about run-time. Strobes are good for getting attention, and I believe an amber-colored strobe is a fairly standard "warning" indicator. Motorists wouldn't ignore it if it was good and bright.
    Thanks for the thought! I have a very good powerchair (nearly $10,000). I ordered it with lights, both front and rear. Unfortunately, they get so few requests for lights that what they have is pretty cheesy, very low power, and lasted only a short while before biting the dust. Also, since the lights were so low to the ground, they were often overlooked by motorists. They put the lights on the "fenders", which ended up being about eleven inches from the ground. I've put the red flashing lights near the top of the backrest, one on each side, which is much higher. But, in addition, nothing beats having a light that I'm able to point in any direction needed, and direct it toward the threat.

    Thanks - Larry
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

  10. #10

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by scottaw View Post
    Can we issue a new law that requires drivers to be retested when their license expires (4 years here), and licenses pulled if you can't pass? I bet there's about 1/4 of the cars that are currently on the road. It would alleviate this concern, bikers, cellphone drivers, bad parkers, and general morons.
    Absolutely a great idea! There are many bozo's who are nothing short of dangerous to the public. - Larry
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wassernaut View Post
    They put the lights on the "fenders", which ended up being about eleven inches from the ground. I've put the red flashing lights near the top of the backrest, one on each side, which is much higher.
    You are right that something near the ground is more likely to be ignored. Maybe you could fit a revolving/strobing amber-colored light on a vertical stalk, so it sticks up above head height, like the ones you see on those electric buggies they use in airports for driving disabled people to the departure gate.
    Resistance is futile...

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Maybe getting a bit silly, maybe not, Larry, you think your chair battery would support one of those swivel lights in the front of a cop car? That would get people's attention.
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    #1 The last thing we need is more laws. Everything you're concerned about is already pretty much covered. Let's just enforce what we've got.

    #2 Strobbeing (?) or flashing directly into a drivers eyes is really questionable. The earlier comment about keeping the light out of the oncoming drivers eyes is right on. I'd be most unhappy if, blinded by someones powerful light, I tried to avoid them and ran over an unlit child or the like.

    #3 Thinking about lighting a chair, this comes to mind: an elevated amber strobe, visible 360deg. The kind of light pole used on the stern of a small powerboat might be a good starting place.

    #4 I am not unsympathetic to your plight and really want to do what I can to make your life a little easier. I think the huge majority of other people feel the same way, but do your best to help other folks to help you.

    Use the motorcycylists goldenest golden rule "ride like you're invisible."

    edit - the earlier comment about the revolving light on the airport buggies is exactly what I was thinking about.
    Last edited by BIGIRON; 10-04-2007 at 09:06 AM.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by BIGIRON View Post
    Use the motorcycylists goldenest golden rule "ride like you're invisible."
    EXCELLENT advice.

    When I'm on my motorcycle, as far as I'm concerned I AM invisible, and I ride accordingly. Assuming a driver doesn't see me has saved me countless times from dangerous situations. A wheelchair isn't quite as maneuverable as a motorcycle, though, and I can see how it would be harder to get out of a situation.

    The advice to be considerate and not blind drivers is also well taken.

    As I just posted in another thread:
    Personally, I wouldn't ever trust my life to my flashlight or to an unknown driver's reaction to it, which is basically what it comes down to if only have a split second and you make a choice to use it to turn on a flashlight instead of jump out of the way. It is ultimately the pedestrian's responsibility to cross carefully and safely... BUT if a driver appears not to be paying proper attention, a flashlight can certainly help them to.

    Again, this may not entirely apply to a wheelchair, but I think the basic point is:

    Use your head, and be careful!

    ... sometimes that may involve a flashlight.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by mchlwise View Post
    It is ultimately the pedestrian's responsibility to cross carefully and safely...
    This is absolutely true. What I didn't say is that I don't push it, and never think I have the right-of-way. You can be right, and be DEAD right. I always wait until it appears it is totally safe, sometimes that's quite a while, but so what. I really like it when there are no vehicles in sight, but you can't always have it that way, but I wait until it's as good as I can get it. If in doubt - I wait.

    And I never hit anybody in the face with the strobe, at least not knowingly, and I keep it moving just in case I do. I don't want to make 'em mad, I just want them to know I'm there trying to not get killed.

    One of my buddies told me I should wear one of those toy fire helmets with the siren and rotating red light on top! Wouldn't that be a hoot!

    Thanks for all the good thoughts. - Larry
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by Wassernaut View Post
    Absolutely a great idea! There are many bozo's who are nothing short of dangerous to the public. - Larry
    Agreed! ..... When I went in to renew my Driver's license for the first time, I was prepared to re-take both the written exam and the actual driving portion of the test. I was told I could avoid both, simply by renewing my license before the expiration date. Must admit, I found this to be rather odd and surprising.

    Also, could you tell us some more about those gift packages you are customizing for individuals you are aquainted with? It sounds like a great idea.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    You only need a light to come in handy like that once for you to really appreciate them.

    How about trying an Inova 24/7 as a tail light? You have a lot of options with that thing, and it only eats 1 CR123 cell.

    Just a thought.

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* BIGIRON's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    During my Mom's last few years she was mobility impaired, but every now and then, with a temporary remission, could be fairly mobile, and, much to my displeasure, would drive her old car some.

    I ultimately bought her an electric scooter (creatively named "Sparky") which she refused to use, saying "Oh, I might run over someone's foot or knock over a lamp or......" but she'd get in that damned Buick and drive 70 on the freeway. Thankfully, no one was ever injured and, I have to admit, I did feel a little pride hidden under my genuine concern and anger. After learning what she was doing, I pulled the ignition wire off the starter solenoid and told her it would cost several thousand $$ to fix. Thereby stopping her driving without "taking away her keys".

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    +1 to the Inova 24/7. A VERY useful tool.

    I use one on the back of my bike pack in the alternating amber/red mode. People often comment that I really stood out and was easily seen. The other functions are useful too and since I have 1/2 dozen rechargeable 123s I'm always good to go.

    The 24/7 is the one light that can be found in all my vehicles and my laptop bag. I don't always use them but when needed they save the day.


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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    I think that what you would need to do is to have someone place a pole somewhere on your wheelchair and attach a light at the top end and pointed down on you so you will be well lighted. As some have said, night drivers mainly look out for other cars. Blinding a driver is silly. When I cross the street at night I shine the light on my body so I could be seen.

    anyway, I am glad you are okay.
    A master learns from a fool but a fool cannot learn from a master

  21. #21

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Wassernaut, get a DINOTTE taillight! they strobe very fast are visible from miles away (even in fog) and use common AA'a or AA rechargables. DINOTTE also makes AMBER front (or rear) strobes, as well as BRIGHT white front lights.



    www.dinottelighting.com

  22. #22

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    I was reading an article on a law enforcement website about a study that was done regarding different warning colors. They found that drivers who were slightly intoxicated, or distracted from driving for whatever reason, tended to drive towards red lights, flashing or not. They found that amber was far more effective at warning people to stay away from something. Police are recommended to switch off red and blue lights after they pull someone over, and only use amber to warn drivers of their presence on the side of the road. I very rarely see this though, around here, I see police leave all of their lights on the entire time. I think it's a bit of a power thing, they have the lights, so they think they should use them.

    This isn't the article, but I found it to use as reference: http://www.policedriving.com/article145.htm

    I'd have to say that if you want someone to not hit you, you're better off displaying amber or flashing amber lights. You could even pick up some of the actual lights that police vehicles use. www.sirennet.com has some good deals.

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* WadeF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Has anyone seen inexpensive LED amber flashing tail lights, etc? I've heard about the drunks being attracted to flashing lights as well. In fact a police officer in the next town over was struck and killed after pulling someone over, and I think the person that hit him was intoxicated, and the officer probably had his flashing lights on.

    I have a B.O.B. dual jogging stroller that I take my kids out in and I have all kinds of LED lights all over it. I have a pair of blinking red lights on the back, a pair of cheap LED bike lights on the front, and each wheel has a blinking LED valve steam cover, so when I hit a bump they flash, etc.

    Lately I've been worried about being a target for a drunk driver. Hopefully someone will get the companies that manufacture the red blinking bicycle tail lights to change them to amber and get the red ones out of stores like Wal Mart that are selling these drunk magnent lights to the masses.
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  24. #24

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    If you're serious about being seen, this is one way to go - http://www.lssons.com/LED/12.0400.htm. I have no affiliation with the website, but I just searched around until I found this LED flasher for sale - http://www.able2products.com/Update/12_0400_Parts.htm

    It is the same light that is put on a lot of construction vehicles in amber, and police cars in blue and/or red. It has 4 LEDs in two heads, and can be changed from crazy flash patters to solid on. It isn't cheap, but it is a very solid unit. They are bright enough to light up the ground around you as well, so it's hard not to be noticed.

    Several companies make LED units like that, and they are hard to beat in terms of being noticed.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Re my post #11, here is an example of the pole-mounted flashing beacon I was thinking of. The height is adjustable, and you can get different colored globes - amber would be best for your purposes. If you set it at eye-level, no-one could possibly fail to see it. It was designed for police motorcycles, so your wheelchair power supply should run it OK.
    Last edited by DM51; 10-05-2007 at 03:39 AM.
    Resistance is futile...

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Being seen is not the issue--no pedestrian, bike, motorcycle or wheelchair is really invisible--being harmless to a 1-2 ton armored vehicle driver is the issue.
    Just get a blue flashing light and a "POLICE" sign.
    Greg
    ps-a friend rides an ex-police motorcycle that was sold with most of the accessories intact. He says he *never* has drivers do stupid stuff around him.

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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Quote Originally Posted by GregWormald View Post
    Just get a blue flashing light and a "POLICE" sign.
    Greg
    ps-a friend rides an ex-police motorcycle that was sold with most of the accessories intact. He says he *never* has drivers do stupid stuff around him.
    Not a good idea. It's against the law in every country I can think of.
    Resistance is futile...

  28. #28

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    in near future, ever think of installing a HID spotlight using via yr electric chair power supply, having one around incase u met some inconsiderate drivers, might be helpful also to 'beam' yr location across a no light road ways.

    becareful .... hope u enjoy yr daily night trips

  29. #29

    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Lots of good info, thanks again guys.

    I spent 42 years riding big motorcycles, which is out of the question for me now - but I find I'm using many of the same techniques now to be seen in the wheelchair. Not nearly as much fun but I'm not gonna let 'em slow me down and pen me up in the house. Besides, I have to find some reasons to use these lights now don't I?

    My power chair is one of the best made, and it has plenty of power (two large 12 volt batteries) to power any lights I want, if I find something that I like. It's already like the "SUV" of power chairs (it'll climb a 6 inch curb, goes well cross country, etc.) It has the colorful (metallic blue) shroud covering the base and all the mechanicals. I don't want to hang too much gear on it because I must use it inside too, including church and formal events. I like to keep it as unobtrusive and low key as possible so it doesn't become the object of attention any more than it does. All ideas are worth some thought, thanks. - Larry
    Last edited by Wassernaut; 10-05-2007 at 08:43 PM.
    Larry (aka Wassernaut)

  30. #30
    Flashaholic* jumpstat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heavy Traffic, My Wheelchair, And A P3D

    Larry,

    and have a nice weekend
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