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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can You See Me Now?

No, this post isn't all about hi-vis, although it may sound that way from the title.  It is mostly about a little extra help with people seeing your stopped bike when coming at you fast from behind.

I am sure we've all been there.  We stop leaving enough room for an escape route.  Not only do we watch the traffic in front and beside us, but we keep a keen eye on our six as well.  

Before you know it a car is fast approaching and you do the fancy dance on your rear brake and/or repeatedly squeeze the front brake to flash your brake lights hoping they'll slow down and stop, as you quickly rethink said escape route.

Enter flashing LED brake lights by Hyper-Lites.


I am really lucky in that Troubadour not only ordered a set for both Max and Lucy, but when I got home from work at noon last Friday they were already installed on Max, he just needed to connect the wires.  See, I told you I was lucky.

I can say this - they are bright.  When either pressing the rear brake or squeezing the front brake they will flash for 5 seconds then stay on while either brake is applied.  So, if you are stopped longer than 5 seconds when that car approaches from the rear, you simply need to squeeze the brake once to alert them of your presence rather than repeatedly.

Of course this may also alert your fellow riders when you are getting into a corner a little hot and scrubbing off some speed.

Here are a few of the photos Troubadour took of the process.

(Installed by license plate frame on reflector bracket)
(top view - they don't stick out too far)
(A view of both installed)
He also took a picture of the wiring, but I couldn't tell you what it all means.  It isn't that I am ignorant in the ways of electronics, but I wasn't present for the install, yeah that's it.  Red wire connected to the blue wire?  No, that's not it......

(one wire, two wire; red wire, blue wire)
The following pic was taken with the hyper-lights on while the bike was in the garage.  Next time we're out in the wild, I'll try to get a quick 5-second video of the flashing.

(Post flashing........ now on until brake lever is released)

I am also planning on purchasing the Rev'it Hi-Vis Indigo jacket, but I am patiently waiting until the end of May as they can usually be found on sale for Memorial Day.  I currently have the Rev'it Siren in black (the Indigo predecessor) and have had it for over 3 years.  I like it, but it is quite worn. And with a black helmet I think a hi-vis jacket would be a good idea.  It will be quite the contrast to Max's blue and white.

(Stock photo from extremesupply.com)

So.....have you done anything to your bike or your gear to make yourself a little more visible?

- Au Revoir

" Advice to children crossing the street; damn the lights.  Watch the cars. The lights ain't never killed nobody." - Moms Mabley
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52 comments:

  1. I have seen those lights here, only once that I remember. I've been impressed with the types and arrangements of bicycle lights, too. Especially in your land of fog and rain your new lights are an excellent choice!

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    1. Thanks Martha. I don't know why we haven't put them on before. I think anything that isn't too intrusive on the bike that aids in visibility is a plus.

      Delete
  2. I like the flashing brake lights. I have some installed inside the rear turn signal housings and some other flickering LED lights on the front forks and front turn signals. I've been told that the flashing brake lights really help visibility. This was by others on the road making a point of rolling down their windows and mentioning how helpful they are.

    So, you don't play well with others, eh?

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    1. For some reason we don't see a lot of the flashing brake lights around here. Not sure why. It is nice to know that people have had a good response to them.

      You caught that sticker huh? I was wondering i someone would mention it. It has been on there a while but when the top case is on (most of the time) you really have to look to see it. And no, I don't always play well with others, lol.

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  3. I'd love to install those on my bike. I tried to get the flashing function for my indicators (technically possible), but... you might have guessed it right... German authorities would't allow it. Don't ask me why.

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    1. I wonder why the authorities think it is a no-no. is that just for flashers or brake lights too I wonder.

      Brad used to have a modulating headlight on Scarlett (his Triumph America) and people used to pull over for him thinking he was a police vehicle. Go figure.

      Delete
  4. Absolutely a must and I've always wondered why these aren't installed as standard equipment. I have on both my BMW and my FZ. Good for you and Troubadour!

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    1. I didn't realize you had them on both your bikes. Maybe we are a little behind the times. Good to know they are popular.

      Delete
  5. Hyperlites are good stuff. Still you must assume they don't see you because they're texting or stupid (usually stupidly texting). When on 2 wheels, I leave an escape lane in front of me ..... when on three wheels, I leave extra space ....

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I always assume they don't see me. That is what keeps us alive I am sure.

      Be hyper aware of your surroundings and always assume they're not going to stop and/or pull out in front of you.

      We leave extra space in front just in case someone comes in too hot behind us and we do need to swerve around a car.

      Delete
  6. Excellent idea Brandy but keep looking in your mirrors!

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    1. Yes yes, always be vigilent. I have to give Troubadour props for the lights though, as they were his idea and he did the install.

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  7. This is a good reminder for. I have been wanting to upgrade the hi-vis value. I had the blinkies on at one time and was told by CHP not to use them in certain colors because it looks like them. I not only like the lighting idea but I really like that jacket too.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I have used my four-way flashers on the bike when stopped in road construction etc and worried about someone coming up behind me but luckily never been chastised by the po-po. I know we can't have white lights facing the rear or red to the front so these should be okay.

      Rev'it seems to be about the only jacket brand that fits my long arms and I can't do without the neck adjustment anymore. I tried to buy locally but no one carries them so i'll more than likely order from Revzilla during their Memorial Day Sale. The Siren jacket was from their Thanksgiving sale.

      Delete
  8. Hi Trobairitz! Great addition to Max and the jacket is nice for you, too!

    Colleen

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    1. Thank you Colleen. Hope all is well in CA.

      Delete
  9. Uh oh not the hi vis debate again. If it makes you feel safer then do it I guess but for me personally I don't think it will make any difference.

    Geez those rear lights look bright, you might fry the car drivers eyes out when they get close. Careful with those things.

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    1. There's a debate? And all this time I missed it.......

      RichardM has followed us home from Saturday coffee before and mentioned he could see Brad with his yellow on his jacket but even though I was riding behind Brad he couldn't really see me. Blending into the asphalt just isn't a great idea in my opinion.

      Delete
    2. Hi vis isn't fool proof but every little certainly bit helps. Nice lights.

      Delete
    3. I agree Flyboy. Every bit helps. It isn't that I think hi-vis will stop an accident if indeed one ever occurs (which I hope it never will) but if it does I want whoever hit me to explain to the cops why it is they never saw me while I was weather that big swatch of hi-vis.

      Even though it is illegal to text or use a hand held cell phone when driving, drivers do it in abundance here, so if I can help them see me so they can stop quicker while they are just barely glancing up I think it is good.

      Delete
  10. Whatever it takes to be seen ... personally I'm very partial to high vis neon green or yellow (whatever they call it now.) I also like the reflective strips, not that I ever ride at night, but they are there just in case.

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    1. I find personally that I notice hi-vis more than black. Even when driving the car I will notice a rider in hi-vis way way down the road. I figure it can't hurt.

      I've seen the reflective strips before too. Even helmet stickers with arrows so they reflect in the lights behind you when you are shoulder checking to turn.

      Delete
  11. I just hope the bastards aren't playing with their phones when I'm around. Seeing and noticing are two different things and I have survived so far by not expecting to be seen or noticed. Lane positioning and awareness and traditional black (no visible dirt) clothing for me. Since 1970, so far so good.

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    1. I agree. I really hate it when people are on the phone and texting while driving. If only they made a law against it. Oh wait, they did. People just choose to ignore it.

      Glad you've had nary a scratch while riding. Hyper aware of your surroundings and lane positioning are the way to go.

      Delete
  12. Trobairitz:

    I like those lights but I thought I couldn't get a set because of the Canbus system, but now I notice that they are Canbus compatible.

    I have a Neon Orange Hi-Viz jacket which I seldom wear. It's a Olympia AST. Supposed to be waterproof, but it isn't

    bob
    A weekend photographer
    or
    Riding the Wet Coast

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    1. Glad that you are able to get the lights, bummer your jacker isn't waterproof. The Rev'it has three layers so there is a waterproof layer. I've never had the jacket or pants leak, not even the pockets. My long hair has been known to wick rain down into my collar, but that isn't the jackets fault.

      Delete
  13. I love the blinky brake lights. I've wanted a set since I first heard of them. One of these days...
    I don't have any hi-viz motorcycle gear. I do have some bicycling gear that is hi-viz. Though my favorite cycling gear tends to not be the hi-viz ones. Anyways, can't say that I've ever noticed a difference with regards to hi-viz or not. Too often the neon colors get lost in the shuffle. Sam is bright green, but from behind you can't even tell.

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    1. Some day your daughter will be all better and you can come home and Sam will be waiting for the light install.

      And yes, from the back you can't tell we are on bright bikes.

      Delete
  14. I installed an Admore light bar. It provides a flashing brake light plus sequential turn indicators.

    The frustrating thing with adding extra lighting is i) How the heck do I get an idea of how effective it is because I don't have a riding buddy I could switch bikes with, and ii) when I've seen videos of my bike, it's usually a GoPro video and the shutter does a weird thing with LEDs where they just seem to flash erratically.

    What I did notice is that with the Admore unit installed, I get more respect from following drivers.

    Where lighting is concerned, more is more. Admore has come out with a larger light bar, and I think I'm going to spring for the new model. Since I've already got the wiring done it will be fairly plug-and-play.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Don't LED lights flicker all the time just not to the naked eye so when they are filmed the camera picks it up. I think I've heard that somewhere.

      Brad has noticed on his commute this week that drivers are staying back further at stops. That is a good thing.

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  15. I've been considering something similar for some time. I have the Headlight modulator (http://2smallerwheels.blogspot.com/2013/12/to-modulate-or-not-modulate-that-is.html) installed and generally think it's a good idea.

    When I am finally released to ride again, I think my first purchase will be something similar.

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    1. The headlight modulators are good for )hopefully) preventing people from turning left in front of you. The tail lights will help them notice us from the rear. Anything that potentially helps them notice us, I think, is a good thing.

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    2. Robert:

      we have had problems with headlight modulators up here. When you are driving in your car and you wish to let the other driver "go first", ie: left turn in front of you, you generally flash your lights to give them approval to make the turn in front of you.

      The flashing modulator has caused many accidents as the turning driver thinks that they have approval to go first and then turn right in front of a bike, which had no intention of stopping. The are considered dangerous and most don't use them anymore

      bob
      A weekend photographer
      or
      Riding the Wet Coast

      Delete
    3. Flashing your brights usually means "go ahead" but that's not what a modulator does as I'm sure you know. So the statistic and reasoning are flawed...

      Delete
  16. Those lights look excellent! I've thought it would be nice to have such a thing on my bike, but I haven't really looked into installing them.

    I wear a white helmet, which I suspect increases my visibility a bit. But that was more of a case of "only the white one fit right" as opposed to a deliberate choice. And like everyone else, I assume that all other road users are either blind or actively out to get me. I used to joke with a friend that paranoid people live longer... ;)

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    1. I like that they are bright, but not obnoxious looking on the bike.

      I can see how paranoid people might live longer, lol

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  17. Excellent ideas. Anything we as riders can do to be more visible is a good thing.

    (Excpet those modulating headlights--those just p!ss off other drivers.)

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    1. We don't see many people using modulating headlights here, but you sure notice them when they're on. I don't think drivers really know what to make of them and of course they are annoying in the rear-view mirror.

      Delete

  18. I have the hyper lites on my SV for several years now. I love them. Nice job!

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    1. Troubadour gets all the credit. I did nothing but take the last picture of them lit up. Good to know you have them too and like them.

      Delete
  19. thanks for checking my blog out
    can never have enough lights to warn car drivers what is going on
    they are a nice size as well
    will have to look into those to see if there allowed down here with the laws


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    1. You are welcome.

      It will be interesting to know if the laws allow it down there. They vary so much from country to country and then states and provinces within the country so you never know.

      Delete
  20. Thanks for sharing. I'm going to have to check the lights out more closely...and may end up with a set because of your write-up. I've always tried to flash my brake lights before stopping but sometimes it isn't possible. The demo video on the website looks like they work great. They are bright.

    Cheers,
    Curt

    Live Free. Ride Hard. Be Happy.
    www.curtcarter.com

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    1. You are welcome. I am glad I could share the information. They are bright for their size that is for sure.

      Hubby was in the big cities yesterday (Portland and Salem) on his Triumph Tiger and they seems to help people back off a bit. Flashing them as a car approached too close at a light and they didn't pull up near as close at the next light. To me that is a win.

      Delete
  21. Trobairitz,

    Cool lights! Hope that gives you some peace of mind and helps protect you. Better to be safe than sorry, I'm sure.

    I've thought of those getting those lights, as well as the Screaming Horn (whatever that was called) but I have decided not to at this point. My bike is rather bright, being red and chrom-ey and all, so I haven't felt the need. My helmet has sparkles too, which helps with the visibility. I could always glue my crown to my helmet for more glitter. . . It goes with my Sash. :) (Hence the name. . . )

    The look cool though! What a lucky chick to have such a helpful hubs!
    Smooches,
    Sash
    http://www.sashmouth.com

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  22. I have a Steibel horn for the bike but it isn't installed. If I can keep a proper lookout and anticipate traffic I shouldn't need it. Shouldn't.....

    Your tiara glued to the helmet, now that would be something to see!!

    And yes, I am very lucky to have Troubadour in my life.

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  23. I used to have flashing lights on my old Kawasaki but haven't installed any on the new one. I bought the same flasher unit I had on the Kawi and plan on designing my own flashing light, just haven't had the time. Yours looks good and bright. I personally don't like the high Viz colors on jackets or helmets but they might be a good idea.

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    1. Troubadour followed me home from coffee on Saturday as he wanted to see how bright the Hyper Lites were and he was pleased they were so bright. A good idea, designing your own flashers.

      I am torn with the hi-vis. While I like the grey jacket better I think I should go for hi-vis as it couldn't hurt. But then I've read helmet research that says grey is the most visible color, maybe that was before hi-vis.....

      Delete
  24. Great idea. And, yes, you are lucky. I try not to take Hubby for granted. It's funny that "handiness" isn't something girls consider when choosing a mate, but it should be. Life would be so different if I didn't have a mate that can do just about anything.

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    1. Red Green used to say "If they can't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

      We're lucky our men are handsome and handy!!

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