Lights etiquette, what’s the consensus?

Viewing 40 posts - 41 through 80 (of 114 total)
  • Lights etiquette, what’s the consensus?
  • tjagain
    Member

    WE have a busy shared use path near me ( north Edinburgh cycleway) Its an old railway line and streetlit. Around half of the commuters on it have overbright lights that dazzle. The rest have lights that are totally feeble.

    philjunior
    Member

    Ahh i see, “but he’d ruined my Strava segment and I’d got to get home for Love Island.“, in that case i call troll and dick.

    I call Poe’s law.

    Edit – of course it’s not fully clear if it’s me or the poster of the above that’s invoking it though!

    You pretty much rode at him with more lumens than a car with its main beams on

    This.

    Point bar light down, and look at nearside verge when cars approach. This way, you don’t dazzle folk, and if you’re sure they’ve not seen you, a quick glance in their direction and the helmet light beam will get their attention.

    I don’t fancy someone rattling towards me in upwards of a ton of metal, being blinded.

    stumpy01
    Member

    All this talk of the Defender driver forcing the cyclist (OP) off the road – but that wasn’t actually what he wrote.
    The OP wrote that ” Tonight I was forced to a stop at the side of the road ” – without more information & I could be wrong but this could just have been that the driver was so blinded by the light that he wasn’t couldn’t see enough to move over & give the OP room to pass. It depends on how narrow the road was I guess. On a narrow country lane, I can see it being the case that you are so blinded, you have no option but to stop where you are.

    Maybe the driver did force the OP off the road, but that is not what was actually said.

    I should really get out & take some beam shots on an unlit road of my Ravemen light.
    While it doesn’t meet the STVZO standard, it does a really good job of throwing the light onto the road.
    When I first fitted it, to get the approximate angle correct I leant the bike up & walked down the road looking back at the beam pattern. The difference between the dipped beam & main beam is pronounced. When riding with the light, I very seldom bother with the main beam & have the dipped beam one or two levels down from max (800). One down from max is 400 lumens and that’s plenty for most unlit roads I’ve been on so far with it.

    I’m sure it’s not as good as the specific STVZO lights in this regard, but it’s way better than a standard conical reflector, both in terms of dazzling oncoming road users & making better use of the available light (and battery power).

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    Yeah, I guess it really isn’t too surprising that the cyclist is wrong and the driver is right on this forum

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    I use to partially place my hand over the lights if vehicles or pedestrians were approaching

    I do that, but only have about a quarter of the lumens the OP is brandishing

    Yeah, I guess it really isn’t too surprising that the cyclist is wrong and the driver is right on this forum

    Not sure who you’re responding to, but this is one occasion where I’d rather be wrong and not sprawled across the front of a car for being in the right.

    Most car drivers haven’t a **** clue about the rules of the road anyway.

    FunkyDunc
    Member

    Always put yourself in the other person’s shoes.

    Bike lights have no dip, and will completely dazzle a driver coming towards you. As has been said they end up being able to see nothing but your light so either have to stop or unfortunately the brain makes them drive to the light.

    I always use my Headtorch full beam so they can see the light glow in the distance and then turn it down when they are in view

    @georgesdad

    You’ve got plenty of sensible replies, so here’s my 2cents…

    Was this the chap in the lanny???

    geomickb
    Member

    I only drove my dad’s Defender once and found the headlights so appalling that my head-torch through the windscreen gave more illumination (it was a private track).

    Fortunately I didn’t have to drive it far, just onto a low loader so we could get rid of the pile of junk!

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    You’ve got plenty of sensible replies

    Have we reached a consensus yet though? 😆

    Premier Icon Drac
    Subscriber

    I do that, but only have about a quarter of the lumens the OP is brandishing

    It’s that long since I did a night ride mine were practically dynamos.  😂

    Premier Icon tillydog
    Subscriber

    Maybe the driver did force the OP off the road, but that is not what was actually said.

    In the LR driver’s defence, it can be impossible to judge distance when being dazzled by LED lights. Particularly if there are two side by side it can look like a car with its main beams on some distance away, rather than a bicycle 10 feet away.

    I urge anyone who hasn’t done so to take the time to get off your bikes and walk around until you’re in the driver’s position. I had no concept of how dazzling and disorienting a couple of cheap LED lights could be until I did this. They are much worse than car main beams.

    Most car drivers haven’t a **** clue about the rules of the road anyway.

    And most cyclists are also car-drivers. Ergo. The UK these days is by and large a cluster**** of ignorance and entitlement on the roads from clueless road-users of one stripe, or another, or many.

    Premier Icon superleggero
    Subscriber

    I Have an MTB Batteries Lumenator which I use for off road riding and small road light for connecting tarmac sections – a Bontrager Ion 100 R. When I’m on the road I generally only use the small light.

    If I feel I need the extra vision on the road that the Lumentaor offers then I angle it right down and use the lowest setting.

    And most cyclists are also car-drivers. Ergo. The UK these days is by and large a cluster**** of ignorance and entitlement on the roads from clueless road-users of one stripe, or another, or many.

    100%. I’m fortunate enough to have a seperate NCN route, away from cars, my whole 8.5 mile commute. The amount of cyclists that are lit up like a **** oil rig is unreal.

    Does anyone know why bicycle (marketed for general/road-use) lights in the UK are nearly all using beam-patterns that are patently unsuitable for safe road-use? Doesn’t seem to matter if you buy ebay Chinese or established bike company brands, they are nearly all the same. Assume it’s because the existing standards are ignored/unenforced/inadequate + general ignorance?

    Decent article here (and interesting response below re the Bristol/Bath cycle path) from years ago, but seems nothing much has changed except for LUMENWARS INTENSIFIES

    https://www.cyclinguk.org/blog/chris-juden/bobby-dazzlers

    globalti
    Member

    My older Cree light has a swivelling mount with clicks so you can rotate it about 10 degrees either way temporarily. I sometimes do “dip” it towards the verge when meeting cars on very dark narrow roads.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    I try to be considerate with my bar mounted magic shine when commuting. Basically turn it off on the shared cycle paths and when on a country road i dip it by rotating it forward.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Yeah, I guess it really isn’t too surprising that the cyclist is wrong and the driver is right on this forum

    Mostly people are saying that both have made a mistake, the rider by dazzling the driver and the driver by reacting aggressively. In an ideal world, the driver would have calmly explained that the cyclist had basically blinded him and the cyclist would have apologised at looked at ways of being more considerate.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    Does anyone know why bicycle (marketed for general/road-use) lights in the UK are nearly all using beam-patterns that are patently unsuitable for safe road-use?

    Because unlike the Germans, we don’t have enforceable laws governing the sale of bike lights and their suitability for road use. Plus if you read the replies here, lots of cyclists either don’t care or think it’s sufficient to angle their lights downwards or to one side, put a hand over the light – leaving them riding one-handed in the dark – or haven’t really considered their impact on other road users.

    And because lights with traffic-friendly beam patterns are more expensive to produce and cost more to buy, making them a hard sell to riders who don’t really care.

    All exacerbated by the ready availability of cheap, super powerful LED lights, which are far brighter than the candle bulb conventional lights that used to be used by cyclists. So the law hasn’t really kept up with reality. See also the 55/60-watt headlight limit based on halogen bulbs, which is an irrelevance when HIDs and LEDs are now commonplace.

    Premier Icon wonny j
    Subscriber

    I hate it when peeps on the shared cycle path (runners, dogs walkers, cyclists of different speeds) use super bright lights. Just very rude and a bit dangerous.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    the cyclist had basically blinded him

    I bet the lights didn’t blind him. I bet he was just “a bit annoyed by” the lights.

    Yes, but was he revved up like a deuce?

    the cyclist had basically blinded him

    I bet the lights didn’t blind him. I bet he was just “a bit annoyed by” the lights.

    2000 + 1200* lumens of scattered light with centre spot would momentarily/effectively blind someone ahead, also photo-bleaching the retina/s. I can’t understand how this is contentious?

    *Assuming OP isn’t trolling.

    Premier Icon cheers_drive
    Subscriber

    On unlit roads, high power and poorly aimed bike lights are effectively blinding, it’s dangerous for the rider and the driver. High power strobe and flashing light are as bad. Trouble is that lights for off-road, urban, unlit, and daytime all require different strength, beam patterns and flashing or not. If you’re doing short stretches of road turn your light down, tilt it down slightly, or cup your hand over the top to act as a shield or do all 3.
    As always the rule of don’t be a dick applies to all parties.

    As always the rule of don’t be a dick applies to all parties.

    That’s one thing (DBAD, and most would agree up until they see a ‘reason’ to be one 🤣)

    A real and pernicious problem is that most often dick actors cannot properly see their own reflection. So the rule applies in their mind, but they don’t think it applies to the beautiful youthful cheeky scamp in their mirror because ‘dicks’ are other people.

    Yours,

    Count Dickula

    2000 lumens on unlit tarmac, lol.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    I bet the lights didn’t blind him. I bet he was just “a bit annoyed by” the lights.

    More likely he didn’t even notice them. He just stopped to have a go at a cyclist 🙂

    Even if that weren’t the case, if more car drivers used dark glasses at night it would be far less of an issue. They need to take responsibility here.

    Premier Icon epicyclo
    Subscriber

    In the 1960s some lights had visors over the glow worm powered headlamps so they didn’t blind oncoming traffic. (Not that that was possible with the pathetic micro-lumen output)

    A big visor would at least cut out the higher part of the beam on an LED light if the light was properly aimed.

    BadlyWiredDog
    …if more car drivers used dark glasses at night it would be far less of an issue. They need to take responsibility here.

    Some of them need white sticks… 🙂

    Premier Icon IdleJon
    Subscriber

    the cyclist had basically blinded him

    I bet the lights didn’t blind him. I bet he was just “a bit annoyed by” the lights.

    2000 + 1200* lumens of scattered light with centre spot would momentarily/effectively blind someone ahead, also photo-bleaching the retina/s. I can’t understand how this is contentious?

    I’ve had cars pull over at night on unlit roads ever since I’ve been night riding in the mid 90s.

    One time I had an argument with a driver who put his full beam on as he approached me. He had to, he said, because I’d blinded him with my lights. They were 10w/20w Cateyes*, almost certainly on the 10w setting and pointing at what I needed to see, not the sky or his eyes.

    It’s nothing to do with REALLY BRIGHT lights, it’s all to do with some drivers being unable to cope with darkness and unexpected traffic.

    *for those who didn’t have the pleasure of using lights like these, it was better to turn your lights off on clear nights with a full moon!

    easily
    Member

    Ok, here’s a question from a thicky:

    I have fairly bright lights – not full on off-road lights, but bright enough. I’m aware that they are quite dazzling, and I tend to use them on the lower settings and sometimes cover them when going towards a pedestrian or cyclist. However, I don’t like pointing them too far down, as I like to see ahead.
    If I put a strip of black tape along the top edge of the lens would this prevent some of the light from going upwards towards the eyes of pedestrians/cyclists/ drivers, while still beaming far forward to allow me to see where I’m going? Basically, would I make a cheap version of those interesting but insanely expensive German lights linked to earlier?

    theboatman
    Member

    I know that if I am driving or cycling I find it harder to judge distance and things around me when I am dazzled by light. So it makes sense to me not to want to dazzle others.

    I only road ride at nights and have an 850 lumen bar light and a cheap flashing light, and this is more than adequate for me to cycle on the unlit roads of Derbyshire. Quite often the light isn’t on it’s max setting. I find most car drivers dip their lights in good time so I’m not dazzled, so I am assuming they are seeing me in good time and I have yet to have any hassle about dazzling others.

    I appreciate more light is required for riding off road, but do you really need to keep it all on when on the road?

    whitestone
    Member

    @easily – you need to check yourself, tape the light up and go to say 50 metres in front of the bike and see what it’s like. It’s not just the upper part of the lens that’s the problem, the reflector is symmetric so you’ll get some spillage from the rest of the light. The stVZO compliant lights have a reflector that’s asymmetrical and points the light in the right place so there’s very little spillage and the sharp cutoff. The reflector shape also provides the even light level from near to far.

    I’ve ridden at 20mph on unlit roads with stVZO compliant lights with no problem, not sure I’d want to be going much faster at night with potholes etc to contend with.

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    …if more car drivers used dark glasses at night it would be far less of an issue. They need to take responsibility here.

    Some of them need white sticks…

    ‘cos they’ve been blinded by the bike lights?

    Premier Icon thisisnotaspoon
    Subscriber

    f I put a strip of black tape along the top edge of the lens would this prevent some of the light from going upwards towards the eyes of pedestrians/cyclists/ drivers, while still beaming far forward to allow me to see where I’m going? Basically, would I make a cheap version of those interesting but insanely expensive German lights linked to earlier?

    Think about hot the reflector/lens works, it’s possibly actually the bottom you want to obscure depending on where the lens’s focal length is. But no, it probably won’t work very well.

    FWIW Cateye have ~£50 and ~£70 STVZO light options. So there really isn’t much excuse cost wise.

    My B+M Dynamo light cost £40 (obviously plus a front wheel). And decent dynamo’s start at £70 so it’s not like they cost any more than a mid range set of lights (and you never need to remember to charge them).

    mattsccm
    Member

    You don’t need much in the way of lights to be an idiot. Almost all modern lights have an antisocial pattern. The German ones are about the only ones that don’t. I think Exposure do one to those standards.
    To be honest you don’t need to be on the road with super bright lights to be dimwit. So often I meet groups coming towards me on the local family trail with both super bright helmet and main lights on 3 abreast. Absolutely no concern for anyone else coming the other way and almost universally the response to a polite “dip your lights please” is abuse. My tiny Exposure Flash is bright enough for gravel and that is sub 100 l I think. people who use a flasher on the rear at night off road are as bad.

    Premier Icon BadlyWiredDog
    Subscriber

    It’s nothing to do with REALLY BRIGHT lights, it’s all to do with some drivers being unable to cope with darkness and unexpected traffic.

    Quite. It is the driver’s fault, no question. It’s why I use high beam in the car at all times. If other drivers can’t cope, that’s their look out. I find applying tape over their eyes a useful option. Or they can simply stop and wait. Job done 🙂

    Premier Icon dreednya
    Subscriber

    I run up to 3000 lumens on my head and when cars approach on country lanes I aim the beam in the hedge, saves a lot of aggro. If they don’t dip however, because I’m just a cyclist, they get all 3000 lumens in the windscreen which always makes them dip and then I re-point the head lamp in to the hedge. Sometimes even get an apology 🙂

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    So is light use on roads an indicator like how a rider behaves around dogs and walkers, or whether they believe descenders have a right of way?

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