[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

Post by Peter Bi » Tue, 31 Oct 2000 05:39:47


Hi There,  My uni rides after work are now in darkness, with the occasional
moonlight and street light to guide me. I have a Insight Ultra BRT-7 Rear
light, a 7 LED red strobe at the back of my uni, which can detach when I'm in
the gym. I'd hate to get hit by a biker from the back.  Does anyone have any
safety tips or experience?  Riding night is a little freaky, like you've
entered the dark realm and you use more feel than visuals to keep on top.

*************

A ride at night a large amount.  I have flashing led lights front and back and
have never bothered with more than that.

The biggest problem is the lack of visual information.  An unexpected bump can
send you flying if you are not careful.  I find bigger wheel unicycles are
safer for night riding as the wheel size minimizes the effect of bumps.

I try to spend most of my time on the footpath rather than the road as cars
are a lot more dangerous than pedestrians.

If you tend to ride the same route home eventually you'll get to know all the
bumps and drops that will throw you off.  I ride through a very badly lit
section to get home but its not a problem as I know exactly where to cycle in
order to avoid problems.

Now for a real thrill try highspeed downhill gliding at night!  Probably the
scariest thing I've done on a uni.

Peter

 o o  Peter Bier
o O o Juggler, unicyclist and mathematician.

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[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

Post by Danny Colye » Tue, 31 Oct 2000 07:25:33

Quote:

> A ride at night a large amount.  I have flashing led lights front and back
> and have never bothered with more than that.

A red light on the front of any cycle is a really bad idea, IMHO.  Anyone
planning to try this in the UK should also be aware that it is illegal.

It might not matter as much at unicycling speeds as it does at bicycling
speeds if someone can't tell which direction you're travelling in, but
you'll still confuse people.  And you'll regret it if someone fails to dip
their lights because they mistakenly believed you had your back to them.

Last winter I did just this on my spare-wheeler - I knew there was a bike
ahead of me on an unlit cyclepath because I could see the red light.  I kept
my lights on full beam - didn't realise until I was almost upon him that he
was travelling towards me and I was dazzling him.  When I posted the story
on uk.rec.cycling, several other people mentioned near misses they'd had
as a result of someone else having a red light on the front of their
machine.

I'd add that a flashing light on its own is also a really bad idea.  The eye
needs a steady point of reference in order to track a moving object.  By all
means use a flashing light to increase your visibility, but I advise *only*
in conjunction with a steady light.

I use a Vistalite VL700 on the back of my Muni - in steady mode if I'm on
a public highway or cyclepath.  I only use it in flashing mode for riding
around convention sites (when I want to show off).

I've got 4 lights that I use on the front.  The Cateye TL-LD500-FC is always
attached - 3 really bright white LED's in a unit that fits very nicely under
the saddle.  A Petzl head torch is good for seeing where I'm going.  I also
recently fitted a mounting for my usual bike lights, Cateye Dual Daylites.
I haven't actually ridden with them yet, but it's nice to know that I can
have 16W worth of light shining out from between my legs any time I want.

Quote:
> The biggest problem is the lack of visual information.  An unexpected bump
> can send you flying if you are not careful.

Head torch good, serious off-road bike lights better.  The Cateye Dual
Daylites are a little too bulky to be ideal - I fitted them because I just
happened to have them and it was much cheaper to buy a new
mounting bracket than a new lighting system.  Any of the unicyclists
who rode in the Red Bull Mountain Mayhem ride earlier this year will
be able to give good advice on serious lighting (especially Leo, he
seems to have something different every time I see him).

<good advice snipped>

Quote:
> Now for a real thrill try highspeed downhill gliding at night!  Probably
> the scariest thing I've done on a uni.

I bet it was.  I'm suddenly full of admiration.

--
Danny Colyer (remove your.head to reply)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/danny.html
"Make it idiotproof and someone will build a better idiot."

 
 
 

[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

Post by Don Tai, Toronto, Canad » Tue, 31 Oct 2000 12:14:29

It seems like many lighting manufacturers have rear LED lights in red
that have steady and flashing modes. I've seen both bicyclists and
roller bladers use these lights in flashing mode quite effectively. The
flashing lights really seem to increase your visibility by catching
your eye's innate ability to detect movement. In fact, the manufacturer
claims that my 7 LED light can be seen up to 2,000 feet away, which is
quite remarkable. I've tested it to 30 feet and it looks pretty good to
me, but that's not too scientific. Do you think that, greater than a
certain distance that the flashing light would blur into one singular
red glow, and act as a steady light? The speed of the flashing is quite
fast, and there is a certain "afterglow" from each flash.

Thanks for your info. Does your uni still ride the same after you deck
it out with all your lighting? Where do you store the batteries? On
your uni's frame, I guess. After you fall a few times (but this
never happens!) would your lighting system still survive?

Don Tai


Quote:

> I'd add that a flashing light on its own is also a really bad idea.

The eye needs a steady point of reference in order to track a moving
object. By all means use a flashing light to increase your visibility,
but I advise *only* in conjunction with a steady light.

Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/
Before you buy.

 
 
 

[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

Post by Jeremy Chrism » Tue, 31 Oct 2000 15:03:37

Quote:
>In fact, the manufacturerclaims that my 7 LED light can be seen up to
>2,000 feet away, which is quite remarkable.

They test these things pretty well- but the distances are based on the candlepower estimated to be given off- you'll never see it from 2000' in real life.  However, you don't need to- really, 500' is enough to keep from being plastered on a windshield, though the more warning, the better.

Quote:
>Do you think that, greater than a certain distance that the flashing
>light would blur into one singular red glow, and act as a steady
>light? The speed of the flashing is quite fast, and there is a certain
>"afterglow" from each flash.

I have seen these lights from quite a distance, as well as close up, and they have always been a flashing light- the distance just akes them smaller and less bright.

Quote:
>Thanks for your info. Does your uni still ride the same after you deck
>it out with all your lighting? Where do you store the batteries? On
>your uni's frame, I guess. After you fall a few times (but this
>never happens!) would your lighting system still survive?

The cool thing about the Zefals is that they are so narrow- none of them even brush my legs while I ride, so I don't even bother to take them off when I'm riding in the day.  They're all small lights, and flat, so the weight is negligible, the size not worth thinking about, and the batteries are internal, 2 AA in the Zefal, 2 AAA in the VistaLight.(The VL gets 250 hrs of use in flashing mode or "up and down" mode- it goes up, then down, then up the  LEDs, lighting the top 4 at once, in a square.  The Zefals get either 200 or 400 hrs of use, depending on whether I set them to light all 5 LEDs at once, or just 2 at a time.)  Also, since they hug the frame, the only things that can touch the ground when I fall are the tire, the pedals, and the seat.  All the lights attach securely enough to avoid any chance of falling off from the shock of falling.

Keep on riding!
Jeremy

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[Safety Tips for City Uni Rides at Night]

Post by Danny Colye » Wed, 01 Nov 2000 04:50:15

Quote:

> Thanks for your info. Does your uni still ride the same after you deck
> it out with all your lighting? Where do you store the batteries? On
> your uni's frame, I guess. After you fall a few times (but this
> never happens!) would your lighting system still survive?

LED lights are lightweight and have no discernible effect on handling.  A
headtorch is heavier, but still not heavy, and not mounted in a position to
affect handling.

My big lights are pretty heavy (or at least the battery is), but I'd still
be
surprised if they affected handling particularly noticeably.

The battery fits quite snugly in the bottle cage on the back of my Muni
(it's
not a bottle shaped battery, but it works).  I don't know how they'd survive
after a few falls - I haven't actually ridden the Muni in the dark since I
fitted
the Dual Daylites.  I wouldn't hold out much hope if I dropped the unicycle
often, but I usually catch it when I dismount.

Cateye Dual Daylites are great for biking, but I wouldn't recommend them for
unicycling unless you already happen to have a set.  Something smaller and
less likely to get knocked will be better.  Sarah's lights (which she's
posted about) are good.

--
Danny Colyer (remove your.head to reply)
http://www.speedy5.freeserve.co.uk/danny/danny.html
"Make it idiotproof and someone will build a better idiot."