I have to say that I find this entire thread confusing. I have been riding the Mount Vernon Trail from DC/Rosslyn to the stone bridge south of Old Town for over a decade. I don't find blinking lights problematic at all. I just don't stare into them. What drives me over the edge are the few cyclists with death rays. These melt your retinas and leave you in tears. There is a bike light standard that the Germans use that prohibts the sale of death rays.
BTW, one reason people use blinkies is that they extend battery life.
Now, car headlights, especially those that are improperly aimed, are a much bigger worry. I have been stopped in my tracks several times this week as I ride home.
I will change my ways, though. Steady as he goes.
I've never had a problem with the strobes until last night. There was someone with a ridiculously bright one that destroyed any extra night vision that I had. I usually look away, but I was coming around a corner on Four Mile Run and it blasted me. I had to creep along until the flashes went out of my eyes.
I don't mind the strobes on the trail, just not the insanely bright ones.
Totally subjective but IMO < 35 ln = blinkie; 35-50 ln = bright; > 50 ln = strobe of doom. I think that there is also an electrical difference between a true strobe (pre LED it would have been a built up discharge) and a LED that just turns on and off (blinks)
Originally Posted by ozmeister1984
People may have different tolerances for them (maybe based on pupil size?) but short of physically covering my eyes with a hand (not very safe) I can't hide from the damn things even with my eyes closed. On the plus side, when I'm not blinded, I have awesome night vision...
This is even more relevant, given the particular colors of the holiday season, but it seems that science would favor bluish-green as the color of choice for headlights (since red is already in use for tail lights). Anyone seen any additional or bike-specific research on this?
Astronomers seem to be the only ones particularly concerned with this:
--If you need the fastest dark adaptation recovery and can adjust to the limitations, or everyone in your group is using night vision equipment then blue-green.
--If you must see detail (reading a star chart, or instrument settings) and can lose peripheral vision (see note 1), then a very long wavelength red at a very low level. Red really only has an advantage at very low levels (were the night blind spot is very obvious).
--A general walking around light so that you don't trip over the tripod, knock over equipment or bump into people, then blue-green with enough red added to get rid of the night blind spot, or maybe just use white. Blue-green at higher brightness also works very well and at a lower intensity than white.
Now that you mention it, I followed a bike with a green rear reflector.
I do know of one prominent night traveler who uses a red light but he's only using it on the night of the 24th. His doesn't blink.
That page is focused on trying to maintain night vision using dim lights. I hope nobody is trying to do that on metro area bike trails--there are too many light sources to have any hope of maintaining night vision good enough for cycling speeds.
On the perils of BUI
Travelling home from one of the many holiday parties, I was cruising south at Gravelly Point, I faced a brilliant northbound light. "Nice light," I shouted. There was no response from theoffender. Half-blinded, I noticed the trail turning right. The airplane passed harmlessly overhead.
PS: I pity you folks with a night-time commute on the MVT south Those northbound cars are much worse than any bike light. Perhaps I am getting old, but I had a hard time following the trail.
Just now came through there southbound. I always have to take that area a little more slowly - those darn northbound airplanes! Seriously, the lights of the oncoming cars, sometimes combined with Ninja joggers, make it a little interesting right there.
I was again being tailgated on the W&OD section between Columbia Pike and Bluemont Park by a park ranger. For some reason he was using his brights, only dimming them on the few occasions that there was an oncoming runner.
Originally Posted by DismalScientist
I used to ride that daily. It improved tremendously with a bright headlight on my bike.
Originally Posted by DismalScientist
I admit to blinking last night. It was twilight when I started out just before 5, and I figured the basic light wouldn't have had much visibility, nor was it necessary. So I ran the blinker mainly to be seen. I would've switched to steady if I'd known it was an issue. As to the taillight blinkies... since half my commute is on the street, I need the visibility. and they're not easy to switch back and forth. I ride from the White House up Penn, across Key (all on street until) turn onto Custis, jump off at N. Aberdeen, Wash Blvd, left on Lee, onto W&OD for a mile, before heading up to the WFC metro. I hope this hasn't thrown anybody's eyesight off!