Showing posts with label bike lights. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bike lights. Show all posts

Monday, September 17, 2012

Distant Early Warning

I must confess, I used to see people running blinky lights in the day time and think they were overcautious nerds. Why would they want to just waste their batteries that way? They were just plain smart, actually. Still nerds, but smart nerds. Hang on, this raises a question for me; are all nerds, by definition, smart? Is there any such thing as a dumb nerd? Help me out if you can.

Here's the thing: the more warning a motorist has about your presence, the better they can plan how to get around you. The less time they have to think, the worse their decisions become. If you could reach backward with some sort of signal to let them know you were there, wouldn't you?

Simple, right? I can't speak to other brands of tail lights, but the very popular Planet Bike Superflash Turbo really is visible in daylight when using the blinky setting.

Click image to see it on

I read that claim sometime before I bought it and thought, yeah, right... but after running it in the daytime and feeling like passing behaviours may have improved a little, I did an experiment in a parking lot at work and I learned two things:

1) The human eye is amazing (I already knew that... I've been thinking about it a lot lately as I review all my bike video and wish cameras worked like eyes). Anyway, I could see my Superflash blinking away in strong direct morning sunlight with my eyeballs, but video taken both from my phone and helmet cam could not. That sucked, because this post was originally supposed to be about showing the video "test".

2) The distance I used was roughly 100 yards. I could see that thing. I don't know how far away I would have had to go to lose it. Had I been driving, it would have caught my eye.

Short version: It might feel kinda stupid, but check and see if your rear light is visible in sunlight and if so, run the sucker. Early warning for motorists = better treatment and less craziness. Usually.

How Do You Use Rear Bike Lights?


Yer Pal,