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Dirt
09-08-2011, 08:50 AM
T'is the season to NOT be seen by drivers. Commuting early in the morning means that we all need to be very good at making ourselves seen. We are rarely as visible as we think we are. Please put out the extra effort to be seen. We can blame others for resulting crashes, but if we haven't done everything we can, we're contributing to the problem.

Here's what works for me:

Lights front and rear. Flashy in back and front along with a more powerful headlight to see by.
Reflective bands on wrists and ankles.
Reflective tape on helmet, bike frame and on the wheels. I put some on my shoes too. When I was riding the recumbent, I put reflective tape on the soles of my shoes. It got noticed many times.
Reflective clothing if possible....

I don't wear a reflective vest. I probably should. I haven't found one that I like. I know that is a lame excuse. I need to get over that.

The newest addition to the collection?

http://farm7.static.flickr.com/6195/6127145566_c78a286f84_b.jpg
Embrocation Cycling Journal high-vis gloves made by DeFeet. Today was the first day I wore them. I had 8 people comment on them. If people are commenting on them, it means they can see them. Plus they have a cute coffee pot on the back.

What works for you?

Pete

jabberwocky
09-08-2011, 08:56 AM
Dinotte 400L taillight and 800L headlight for me, both on steady. I generally add a planet bike superflash set to blink as an attention grabber too.

Dirt
09-08-2011, 09:00 AM
That tail light of yours is absolutely offensive. I approve. :D

jabberwocky
09-08-2011, 09:06 AM
I love that thing. Cars almost always slow to a crawl and follow for 5-10 seconds before passing. I think they get confused about just what the hell I am. :D

Seriously though, I definitely recommend people get the best, brightest lights they can afford. Front and rear. I'm amazed at the number of cyclists I see only running cheap, dim blinkies around here. The PB superflash is a good, inexpensive tail light, as is the Cateye ld1100. You're competing for the attention of frequently distracted drivers, in an area with lots of visual clutter (signs, lights, reflectors). You want to stand out as much as possible.

Dirt
09-08-2011, 09:17 AM
I think they get confused about just what the hell I am. :D
That is a common problem for many of us... on and off the bike. :D

jabberwocky
09-08-2011, 09:48 AM
That is a common problem for many of us... on and off the bike. :DTo be honest, I'm not totally clear on that myself. :p

Riley Casey
09-08-2011, 10:03 PM
http://www.homedepot.com/catalog/productImages/300/2d/2da21d5c-6e1a-4427-ad82-cbbc80bde43b_300.jpg

10 bucks at Home Depot. You can wear it while you get over your sartorial reservations.





Reflective clothing if possible....

I don't wear a reflective vest. I probably should. I haven't found one that I like. I know that is a lame excuse. I need to get

Pete

KLizotte
09-08-2011, 11:43 PM
Dirt,

This is what you need:

http://www.amazon.com/Viz-Pink-Safety-Vest-visibility/dp/B001Y9UIJY/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1315543265&sr=8-22

368

5555624
09-09-2011, 03:33 AM
Dirt and I have a different definition of "early" -- 3:00 a.m. is dark regardless of the season.

That said, if you're not using lights with rechargeable batteries, change the batteries often. As the batteries die, you lights get dimmer. You may notice the head light, but not the tail light.

CCrew
09-09-2011, 04:32 AM
Dirt and I have a different definition of "early" -- 3:00 a.m. is dark regardless of the season.
.

3:00am isn't early, I'm halfway to the office by then!! LOL

Mark Blacknell
09-09-2011, 02:13 PM
3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape. Comes in white, black, silver, red, etc. No matter the color, it lights up like you'd never believe, when even a little light hits it. I've been adding it to all of my bikes.

Dirt
09-09-2011, 02:41 PM
Dirt,

This is what you need:

http://www.amazon.com/Viz-Pink-Safety-Vest-visibility/dp/B001Y9UIJY/ref=sr_1_22?ie=UTF8&qid=1315543265&sr=8-22


368

Super sexy indeed.

Dirt
09-09-2011, 02:51 PM
It isn't that I'm opposed to vests. They just don't do much for me. Any vest that you get at Home Depot will not fit when riding in an aggressive position. They provide minimal reflective help from the side, which I have TONS of reflective gear on anyways. A Home Depot vest for me will provide great protection if someone shines a light on me from above. Essentially for me to have something that works like a reflective vest for most humans, I'd need reflective patches on my butt.

I find other ways to be visible. Reflective tape, like Mark suggested is a great way.

OneEighth
09-09-2011, 03:05 PM
I would specifically recommend SOLAS tape (Safety of Life at Sea). Designed to work very well in wet conditions.

ponchera
09-09-2011, 03:19 PM
how about biking to work with this shirt instead of vest:
http://www.lapolicegear.com/511-bike-patrol-polo.html

About lights, i'm sporting 2 PB Superflash TURBOs but would love Dinotte but just can't shell out that much, front and rear light cost as much as a new bike! Any in between solution? I've seen people mention wiring up Nova Bulls but i've yet to find a good tutorial on how to do this.

PrintError
09-09-2011, 04:14 PM
In the winter/dark/night, I wear my W&OD Trail Patrol vest. It has HUGE reflective strips on it. Freakin' love that thing!

A full regiment of strobes and lights does the rest, as well as the glowing green frame (see my avatar).

KLizotte
09-19-2011, 11:00 PM
FYI: Discovered over the weekend that Ikea is selling lightweight reflective vests (with 3M reflective striping) for $4.99 ($3.99 for Ikea members). They come in various sizes (kiddie thru adult). I was glad to see that the S/M fit me perfectly, that is, snugly - no flapping in the wind (at least not in my apartment, I have yet to try it under real world conditions).

They are in Ikea's travel section and are not listed on their website for some reason.

Anyway, a good backup to keep at the office should you end up working later than expected. Cheapest I've seen anywhere and looks a little less dorky than the running vest I was using.

I wish it weren't getting dark so early already :(

WillStewart
09-20-2011, 05:08 AM
So we have 3 categories of visibility;

- Active lighting (including pulsing lights) for day or night

- High visibility colored clothing and accessories (mostly for day, unless also reflective)

- Highly reflective surfaces for night visibility


I would specifically recommend SOLAS tape (Safety of Life at Sea). Designed to work very well in wet conditions.

http://www.reflectivedecals.com/graphics/1hhbm75.jpg

It certainly does have a high degree of reflectivity, and will withstand a harsh (and wet) environment.

I've seen 2" x 12" strips for $8 online (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=SOLAS+tape&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=3293114873836361118&sa=X&ei=EGV4TvDDFOL00gHWnpjqCw&ved=0CEkQ8wIwAg);

WillStewart
09-20-2011, 05:18 AM
3M Scotchlite Reflective Tape. Comes in white, black, silver, red, etc. No matter the color, it lights up like you'd never believe, when even a little light hits it. I've been adding it to all of my bikes.

2" x6" about $5

http://www.instructables.com/image/FDKJKQBFNNK19BE/Wrap-your-bike-in-Reflective-cloth.jpg

Dirt
09-20-2011, 08:02 AM
I like that 3M reflective tape. You can get it so that in daylight it is black, but when you shine a light on it, it lights up like you see below. Very cool stuff.

Dirt
09-20-2011, 08:04 AM
Bummed that they haven't perfected introducing the octopus genes that make cats glow in the dark into humans yet.

http://www.strangebizarre.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Glow-in-the-dark-cats.jpg

(PS: I'm joking.... sort of.)

ronwalf
09-21-2011, 01:21 AM
My Pearl Izumi gloves were comfy, cheap and bright. After a summer of sweat and sunscreen, they're comfy and ugly:
402

Dirt
09-21-2011, 07:50 AM
I had a nice chat with a Ninja this morning. They stubbornly refused to do anything to be more visible and got really angry at me for a) singing loudly at 0500; b) telling them that they are almost impossible to see; c) using a light on the front of my bike; and d) laughing at him because he was behaving like a spoiled child. I suppose I could have been nicer. I was polite... except for the laughing at him part.

Greenbelt
09-21-2011, 09:09 AM
So last night was my first near-full dark trail commute. Tried out my new lights. Went with the Vis 360 helmet light system -- very lightweight, and decent directional light (plus a very bright tail light). Lightweight enough that I'll just leave it up on the helmet all the time I think. I like the side lights for road sections. Went with another lightweight light, a Stella 200 lumen mounted on the handle bar -- it lit up the trail just fine for my speeds (16mph or less after dark). I didn't like the velcro attachment for the battery, because it didn't seem secure enough, like it could detach from under the stem or handlebar if I hit enough potholes or bumps after a while. So I just popped it in my bento box, plenty of room and the wire reaches fine. Plus, that makes it easy to take off the bike to recharge. Very happy customer for day one. We'll see how they last.

PrintError
09-22-2011, 01:58 PM
Dirt, I want your gloves! In the winter when commuting McLean to the W&OD all on-road, I rocked a trio of SuperFlashes set to strobe, hi-vis everything, my W&OD Trail Patrol vest (big reflective strips), a dual-halogen 25W headlight, and my infamous glowing green frame (multiple 11" LED strips). I was a rolling traffic jam because some drivers were straight up scared to pass me.

Honestly, in the winter/dark, I had NO bad encounters with cars. No rude drivers, no close calls, nothing. In the summer/daylight commutes, it was one incident after another.

DaveK
09-22-2011, 03:12 PM
my infamous glowing green frame (multiple 11" LED strips)

I want to do this for this season - did you buy the setup or make it yourself?

PrintError
09-23-2011, 07:42 AM
Completely DIY: http://www.oznium.com/flexible-led-strips

Joe Chapline
09-24-2011, 10:44 AM
Just saw this product from MonkeyLectric. Commute by Bike has a review (http://www.commutebybike.com/2011/09/23/monkeylectric-bike-wheel-light-review/).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLtbeU8FJW0

vvill
09-25-2011, 08:13 PM
Yeah those sound fun for a "party" group ride sorta thing but the cons of it being heavy on your wheel and the bling of it put it out of my options.

I typically commute in the mornings with a long sleeved bright hi vis orange jersey from Performance, which often gets comments, so I'm sure it's noticeable. I also have a similar fleece vest I can layer over a dark shell or jacket as it gets colder. I also wear white gloves (cheap softball ones from Target - at least they say "Easton") year round as I figure it helps with signalling. For lights I currently just have a bog standard Blackburn setup (powered by 4 AAs in front, 2 in back) which works fine for low light, but not for night. Other things I'll do are attach an extra blinky on my backpocket/backpack, and use one of my many reflective ankle straps - one even has a flashing light built into it.

This will be the first year that I plan to commute deeper into the season (I hate cold). I've never been much of a night rider so I recently ordered some LED lights and will see how they go. I will probably also get some reflective tape, and a reflective vest I can overlay for wet weather days.

Incidentally, I did a Contes ride a few Tuesdays ago (my first group ride) and it was pretty dark by the time we made our way back. I was one of a handful in the group who actually had my lights on... is that weird?

Greenbelt
09-27-2011, 09:18 AM
I got off work late last night -- headed home from DC around 9pm. Lots of bikes out -- it was actually crowded on the PA Ave bike lane, and lots of bike traffic up toward Union Station. It was a warm night, and great to see all the bikes out enjoying.

However...

I'd guess that only about 1 in 5 non-CaBi bikes I saw had a rear light. And 1 in 10 had a front. I realize that there are streetlights, but it's still fairly dark out there.

Please remind your co-workers and others that it's really easy to get a simple fair weather blinker for front and back that's easy to detach from seatpost/handlebar and put in a pocket or purse when you lock up somewhere?

I understand lots of urban riders might not want to invest in expensive weatherproof trail lights, but just getting more people in the habit of popping on a cheap light for night errands or joyrides in the city would be nice. Unlit bikes can be hard to see, even when you're looking out for them.

Dirt
09-27-2011, 09:33 AM
I strongly suggest singing "Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport" really loud in the future. It confuses people and when they ask you to stop, you can tell them, "I'll stop when you put lights on your bike."

That's the way it works in my dream world. In reality, I end up annoying most people and they never ask me to shut up. Oh well. I can dream.

jrenaut
09-27-2011, 09:44 AM
I got scared the other day when I was driving and lost a cyclist I had just passed. He was riding at night with no lights and I was actively looking for him and couldn't find him as I came up to a traffic light. If someone who bikes in the city nearly every day couldn't see a cyclist that he was actively looking for and knew was there, how in the world is your average driver going to?

KLizotte
09-27-2011, 10:33 AM
I got scared the other day when I was driving and lost a cyclist I had just passed. He was riding at night with no lights and I was actively looking for him and couldn't find him as I came up to a traffic light. If someone who bikes in the city nearly every day couldn't see a cyclist that he was actively looking for and knew was there, how in the world is your average driver going to?

This is one problem I have with the CaBi bikes (their dynamo lights are weak and the bikes don't have any reflective striping except the wheel rims). Downtown DC night CaBi riders are less of a problem because of all the street lights but Arlington can be quite dark in many parts and people are driving faster since there are fewer traffic lights.

jabberwocky
09-27-2011, 10:39 AM
Several years ago I had someone pass me on the W&OD in the winter, sans lights. As he passed, I asked if he usually ran without lights in the dark, and he said something like "yeah, I'm only going a few miles". A mile or so later, I came across him and another rider sprawled in the middle of the trail. No-lights guy apparently couldn't tell what lane the oncoming rider was in (oncoming rider had lights) and swerved into his path at the last minute and they hit each other head on. Fortunately nobody was injured. Some people are idiots.