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Rain?!? Pshhh, whatever. Seattle’s a year-round bike town

One of Seattle Bike Blog’s all-time most read stories has a simple title: How to bike in the Seattle rain.

Some people thought the post was a cop-out since, in a way, it contains little real advice about what to buy and what to wear. But that’s the point: Biking year-round in Seattle is totally awesome, and you don’t need lots of special gear to do it.

Well, here we are again, about to enter the darkest and rainiest time of the year. Daylight Savings Time ends 2 a.m. Sunday, so get ready for it to get darker sooner.

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If you feel a bit lost on how to make sure you’re ready for the winter, there are two different efforts coming up to help you keep biking no matter the weather. You may learn that winter biking is the best way to generate a bit of your own sunshine amid the seemingly endless gray skies.

Light Up Your Ride

LUYR-SBB-Ad.2015-300x250Commute Seattle is holding their annual Light Up Your Ride event 4 – 6:30 p.m. Thursday at McGraw Square (you may have seen this advertised on this blog).

Lots of the winter cycling gear out there is optional, but bike lights are not. A front headlight and rear reflector are required by law during dark hours, but we highly recommended that you have both front and rear lights at a minimum and that you also run them when it rains.

We live in a crazy country where lights are not a standard feature on bicycles, so it’s on you to buy, charge and remember your lights. I know it’s messed up, but for now that’s the way it is.

So what’s a “good” headlight? There’s no official standard in the US. Be skeptical of lights that cost less than $25 or so, and beware of cute little lights that take hard-to-find watch batteries. In the past, we wrote the following, which I still think is a pretty solid standard: “If your light is bright enough to illuminate potholes in the road in front of you, it more than surpasses all legal requirements and is bright enough for a person driving responsibly to see you.”

Using good front and rear lights are enough for many people, yours truly included. But others like to add all kinds of extra lights and reflective materials, and that’s cool too. There’s no single right way to do it. Whatever makes you feel confident on the road is great (just watch those blinking strobe headlights, especially on trails and dark streets).

You can learn all about how other choose to stay lit through the winter or show off your style Thursday. Details from Commute Seattle:

Light Up Your Ride is back! Stop by on October 29th between 4:00pm – 6:30pm for snacks, raffle prizes, safety give-aways and information on lights and reflective gear to make your bike commute safer.

Join us at 5:15 for the best lit bike contest and enter to win the Lite Brite Bike Award. Top two best lit bikes take home great prizes from Chrome and Velo!

Commute Seattle along with partners from SDOT, King County Metro and Cascade Bicycle Club as we hand out pertinent information on what you need be safer on the streets this fall. You can also enter to win prizes like a bike tune up or bike light from Velo Bike Shop and other great prizes. We’ll have reflective stickers and ankle bands so you can gear up for the darker days of winter!

You’ll see us 1st, blinking and reflecting at McGraw Square on Stewart and 5th Avenue!

Ride in the Rain

RideintheRain_posterThe Bike Month Commute Challenge is cool an all, but the real bike commute bragging rights are earned during the rainiest months.

Well, now there’s a rainy season commute challenge that everyone can join. Cascade Bicycle Club is teaming up with the University of Washington to grow their annual Ride in the Rain program into a region-wide challenge.

Just go online and sign up, then track your miles and trips throughout November. Just like during Bike Month, you can form a team with co-workers to help motivate each other to keep it up even on those dreary days when it’s really tempting not to ride.

Remember, November is the rainiest month of the year in Seattle. So if you can bike through November, you can bike through any month.

Details from Cascade:

Cascade Bicycle Club invites pedalers of all varieties-folks who ride every day and folks who are brand new-to bike as much as possible for any reason November 1-30. The idea of the Challenge is to turn a common barrier to biking-inclement weather-on its head and celebrate biking during the rainiest month of the year. We think that if you can ride during the rainiest month and enjoy it-and we’re confident you will-you’ll want to bike all year round. Bonus: Cascade and our partners are offering a series of free classes, parties, group rides, and other events throughout the month to make sure you have a blast this November. Check out the events calendar here.

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50 responses to “Rain?!? Pshhh, whatever. Seattle’s a year-round bike town”

  1. RDPence

    And please find headlights with a large diameter lens. The tiny lights may illuminate that pothole, but they are harder to see by the people in front of you.

  2. jt

    My cygolite is going strong in its 3rd year of use! Can’t recommend it enough. Anyone know of a good rechargeable tail light? My aaa powered one seems too dim.

    1. Lynn

      I have a great Cygolight up front too. Check out Light and Motion for some good USB tail lights. Many of their lights have “paceline” modes with just yellow beacons that are good to use if you are riding with a group and don’t want to blind the others.

  3. Rob Norheim

    I am regularly blinded on the Burke-Gilman by people using bright headlights. Some cyclists are polite and put their hand over their light when another bike is oncoming, but most are not and may well be oblivious. The bright headlights are great for being seen when on a roadway, but are just impolite and dangerous for others on the trail. Point them down or get another less bright light to use when on the trail. Thank you. (If you hear me yelling “too bright” when you pass me, this is what I’m talking about).

    1. Roberto

      I may very well be one of those people you yelled at! I have a super bright Cygolite (as mentioned by another commenter) which I love, but I know what you mean. Since getting yelled at, I have pointed my light more downward. Also, my light does have three brightness settings, so I put it on the dimmest setting when I see an oncoming cyclist…just as you would dim your brights in a car. My “best practice” is keep it on the dimmest setting that still enables me to see the street clearly.

      But I tell you what, boss. I INFINITELY prefer being blinded by a bike’s headlight than dealing with these bike ninjas with no lights and dressed in all black. I’ve lost count the number of times cyclists have just appeared out of nowhere…and thanks to MY damn light, we avoided a collision. And people wonder why cyclists get such a bad rap. What is it with some people?! You’re wearing night-vision goggles or something? But I’m preaching to the choir. I doubt these hell-raising cyclists read this blog. Or can someone enlighten me on what goes through your mind when you go ninja in the night?

      1. Rob Norheim

        Totally agree on the ninjas, cyclists and pedestrians. I yell “Get a light’ to them.

      2. Having been blinded and ninja’d many times, I’ll take the ninjas, TBH! You can run a non-blinding light that allows you to see unlit people ahead of you!

      3. Ben P

        The most ridiculous bike ninja I’ve encountered was where the Burk splits into two narrow one way trails by True Value. I’m riding home late when ninja suddenly appears going full speed wrong way out of the split right before I was about to entered it.

      4. RDPence

        Whenever I yell “get a light” at a bicyclist, the response has been Fuck You. So I quit the yelling.

      5. Ints

        Files this in the “can’t win either way” or the “another reason to love cyclists” folder.
        When riding home one evening on the BGT, I got a F*#k You for putting my hand up to block the glare from the flashing headlight of an oncoming cyclist. Yes, for just putting my hand up between their light and my eyes.

      6. Law Abider

        After years of yelling at people who insist on having lights with the POWER OF A THOUSAND SUNS!, I think I’m going to take a different approach this year. I’m going to get one of those bright LED flashlights and when someone is coming at me with a insanely bright light, I’m going to shine the flashlight right back in their eyes, because apparently shining bright lights in oncoming people’s eyes equates to safety.

      7. Tom Fucoloro

        Remember that there is a class element to having access to quality lights. I don’t have stats, but I’m sure people with less money are less likely to spend their cash on lights (which are sold as add-ons). So before we vilify “ninjas,” just keep that in mind.

        A few years ago, Cascade and SDOT used to hand out lights to people without them, which I thought was a great way of spreading the word about the importance of lights while also fixing the problem on the spot for people who don’t have them. That’s the kind of public safety solution I would like to see more of. Biking without lights doesn’t mean you have a death wish or you’re a jerk.

      8. Roberto

        Wow, I think I’ve coined a new term: “Bike ninja” for someone who bikes with no lights. :)

        Tom, I hear what you’re saying about the class element with regards to bike lights, and I would agree with you in terms of pricier, brighter lights that do a better job than some El Cheapo headlight. But I’m not buying the “I’m too poor to get a headlight” argument. Even the cheapest headlight is a million times better than nothing at all.

        It’s a matter of public safety, not economics. People who bike with no lights aren’t just a hazards to themselves, but to everyone they encounter: other bikers, drivers, and pedestrians. I’m sorry if you’re too broke to buy a $1.99 headlamp (http://www.amazon.com/Generic-Bicycle-Power-Front-HeadLight/dp/B00Z9B91FA), but that’s simply not my damn problem. What IS my problem is you coming at me from the shadows, giving me a few seconds to swerve out of your way.

        I get it. We all have to travel at night, maybe to our job, or to see our family. But no one, no matter their socioeconomic level, has the right to put other people in danger.

        And another thing. I bet you dollars to doughnuts that the VAST majority of these bike ninjas CAN afford at least a cheap headlamp. Why they don’t choose to is anyone’s guess. I would say stupidity is probably the #1 reason. Not because their wallet is too light.

        I do agree with you 100% that handing out free lamps is a great idea, and I wish this were done with a lot more frequency. But in the end, there is really only one effective solution. Make lights a mandatory part of a bicycle, just as reflectors are now. Every bike should be sold with at least a minimal-standard headlamp and tail-light than you can choose to upgrade later, or just go with that. Once lights become as standard as tires and brakes, there will be a lot fewer bike ninjas.

    2. Kirk

      I ride the trails all year long. I’ve never been blinded by another bike light. It’s like the sun, don’t stare at it.

      1. Leah

        Thank you! I point my light down and set it to a dimmer setting, but I don’t fault folks for their bright lights. Just don’t look at it!

      2. Law Abider

        So we’re supposed to just stare down and to the right for 5 seconds and hope we don’t hit an unseen obstacle? What another great Reddit Life Pro Tip™!

      3. Kirk

        No, just don’t look left at the light. Keep looking at where you’re going, not at what’s passing you.

      4. Fnarf

        Use that argument while driving a car with your brights on and something worse might happen to you than a bike accident.

        It’s essentially the same thing; car “brights” aren’t brighter, they’re angled upward more.

      5. Ints

        “It’s like the sun, don’t stare at it.”
        And we all know how fun that is in the morning or evening when the sun is low and shining right in your face when driving a car. That is one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Why should we have to put up with that when riding a bike?

      6. Different people have different abilities to see in poor lighting conditions. Just because you retain some ability to distinguish objects just by not staring at the lights (duh!) doesn’t mean everyone does.

        Do you seriously think we’re all stupid enough to just stare into oncoming headlights? On wet nights on dark trails, when one of these idiots with “OMG NIGHT BLINDAR 8000 W/HELMET MOUNT” headlamps approaches, the only way I can avoid being totally blinded (i.e. my field of vision is literally total blackness aside from one circle of light) is to block out view of their light with my hand. It’s bad enough that our trails mostly have no surface lighting yet are plagued with ambient light from nearby roads and building. Adding light aimed straight at people’s faces makes it impossible.

        The legitimate use for such lights is nighttime off-road riding, where you’re probably alone on the trails and head-level obstacles are likely. So there’s a direct analogy to car lights, which are much better regulated. If you have a Jeep with rally lights mounted on the roll bar, and you drive down an unlit road blinding oncoming traffic with them, you’ll be ticketed. Maybe we should make some basic attempt to follow this standard.

      7. Kirk

        OK, my comment was too flippant, but yes, seriously, there is a technique to not being blinded by oncoming lights.

        1. Don’t look at the light, at all, even from a distance. You don’t want to imprint the bright light on the center of your retina. If these lights make you so angry that you’re yelling at the other rider in passing, you’re most likely looking at the light.
        2. Make sure your eye protection has an anti glare coating. This makes a huge difference.
        3. Wear a bike hat or a helmet with a visor. This really helps block out the glare.

  4. Zach Shaner

    My rules: USB, detachable with no tools, and bright but not blinding.

  5. MikeG

    I switched to a dynamo hub system and German-made B&M headlight/taillights. Cost a bunch, but I don’t blind people because this has an automobile-like projector headlight beam with a sharp cutoff.

    And it never runs out of power.

    1. MikeG

      BTW, good B&M lights don’t have to cost a fortune. You can buy a battery-based B&M light for $50-80 that won’t blind oncoming riders.


    2. Kirk

      Busch & Müller Luxos-U Dynamo Headlight. The bomb! Even has a USB charging port. Still need the 600 lumen flashing light in heavy traffic…

  6. Fnarf

    Cars and motorcycles have vastly brighter lights than bicycles, and yet they don’t blind people. Why is that? THEY ARE SHAPED. They don’t shine up into people’s eyes. And yet all of the bike lights made in this country have stupid round fields of light that blind and annoy people.

    The answer is to look to Germany, which has the most sensible light regulations of any country. Shaped beams are required there. Get a Busch and Mueller IXON light for the front — it’s as bright as you can possibly imagine but won’t blind anyone unless they are lying on the ground in front of you.

    Steady (not blinking) red on the back. Blinking lights are stupid on the front OR the back. Again, Germany: blinking lights are illegal there. They let drivers and pedestrians know that you’re there, but they convey no information about WHERE you are. On dark, wet streets, with loads of competition from dozens of other light sources (cars, streetlights, houses), a good strong red light (or two) in the back will help keep you safe.

    Any stupid button light clipped to your clothing is completely worthless.

    1. pqbuffington

      blinking by day / steady by night

    2. Peri Hartman

      This is tough one. Certainly, on a trail, the main goal is to see the pavement and obstructions. Having a shaped beam makes sense, one that doesn’t shine in people’s eyes.

      However, on the street with cars, the main point is to be visible. If I shine the light towards the pavement, I’m less visible. So I shine it directly horizontally.

      Ideally, I think we need an entirely different kind of lighting system. One that is very visible and recognizable but doesn’t blind people.

      1. Car and motorcycle headlights have shaped beams, and they’re very visible to oncoming traffic! A shaped bike light is also very visible to oncoming trail traffic! That’s exactly what shaped beams are designed for: to be visible and to illuminate the surface without blinding oncoming traffic.

      2. Peri Hartman

        They are pretty visible. They are about 1000 lumins (at least 750, I believe) and there are usually two of them. So about 1500-2000 lumins. I think my bike light is 350 lumins. If I had 2000 lumins, I could shape it and the spill-over would still be in excess of 350 lumins.

        I think that would be a better solution but the power requirements are currently out of range for our battery systems.

        Regardless, I think there are better solutions. That requires taking a whole different look at visibility.

      3. Fnarf

        If you’re shining 350 lumens directly into my eyes as we pass on the street, I’m going to swear at you as I go past.

        The problem has been solved: the aforementioned B&M lights. Plenty bright to be seen (better than a super-bright light with an unshaped beam; lumens don’t tell the whole story). And it won’t blind anyone. And it doesn’t require any radical battery-lugging; mine runs on four AAs, and there’s a dynamo model too. No need to “take a whole different look” at something that already has a perfect solution.

        Shaped beams are the real deal. Try one and you’ll see what I mean.

      4. Peri Hartman

        I’ll have to check out B&M. I looked on their website and the product looks interesting. Anyone local have them?

        Regardless, being visible is not so much about brightness as it is about shape and depth perception. No single light is going to solve that. We need a different solution.

      5. I got my B&M dynamo light at Ride Bicycles on Roosevelt.

        Visibility is not determined by how many lumens you blast into your poor target’s pupils, it’s determined by contrast with your surroundings.

    3. Josh

      It’s no longer reliably true that car headlights are brighter than bike lights. For less than $100, Amazon will sell you a bike headlight over 5,000 lumens, more than twice the combined output of the low beam headlights on my Subaru.

      But the way they make those kilolumen lights so cheap is by spewing the light straight ahead — you’re actually staring right at the LED emitter, a brilliant point source that maximizes glare. No shaped beam at all, not even an old fashioned lens on front of the light.

      That means the cheaper high-power bike lights have more than ten times the glare of bright automotive low-beam headlights, even before you put them in strobe mode. (In strobe mode, they cause more than 100 times as much night-blindness as a car headlight, because each pulse of the strobe hits an eye that’s adjusting to the darkness between pulses.)

  7. Enduzer

    Regardless of season & whatever path you happen to ride, every bike rider needs both a front & rear light mounted on their bike or fastened to their lid. Every bike shop should have in-stock a multitude of lights suitable to your ride.

    I truly wish more bike riders will choose to be seen more clearly as the evenings become even longer now

    1. jay

      I’d just like to second that. While the law only “requires” a rear reflector (and a front light), a reflector only works if there is light to reflect, active lights on both ends are a very good idea.
      I work second shift so I ride at night every day, and at _least_ one a week I’ll see a car driving with its lights off. Last week there were at least three, one of which got pulled over by the police! LOL!

      While all bike shops wile have some sort of lights in stock, “proper” lights are less common, however two of SBB’s advertisers do stock dynamo _lights_, however one will still usually have to wait a bit to have a wheel built with a dynamo hub.

  8. merlin

    It’s been a long time since I bought a car … but I seem to remember there was never any discussion about the headlights. I was not offered 365 different options varying in brightness, blinkiness, blindingness, etc. I just bought the car and felt reasonably confident that the lights would do what they’re supposed to do. That’s the way it is in Europe when you buy a bike – or so I imagine. Sounds really nice to me.

  9. Doug Bostrom

    Blink or no-blink is surely contextual? For myself, when I see a blinking light in street traffic it tells me there’s a potentially vulnerable cyclist in the mix. Small bike lights are easily lost in the sea of taillights.

    Would love to see formal research (not anecdotes) leading to the German taillight non-blink edict. Perhaps it’s a matter of the mix and the relative amount of bicycle traffic. Here our problem seems to be at least a little bit the unsurprising effect of loads of uncalibrated automobile drivers mingled with a scanty handful of cyclists.

    But please, headlights! Day and night!

    1. predictable

      @Doug Bostrom

      There are a number of comments in this thread that I thought to reply to, but yours wins the dubious prize for the use of the term “context”. I have a lot of opinions about bike lights (none of them suitable for peer-reviewed journals) based on my muddled like as both motorist and cyclist:

      1) The higher the light, the more quickly it will be seen in most conditions. Great.
      2) Notwithstanding #1, bright, helmet-mounted headlights are uninformative with respect to direction/course, and are blinding and anti-social. They are meant for nocturnal mountain bikers.
      3) Blinking lights? In my experience, they foster initial recognition at a much greater distance whether aft or forward. This doesn’t mean they are always the right thing to do.
      4) Un-shaped, bright headlights are a hazard for “the other guy” who has to avert their gaze (as I do on the BGT) and thus “take their eye off the ball”. This problem is compounded by unimaginative manufacturers who seem to thing that the only place you can mount a headlight is on the handlebar. I have (stretching the term) “hacked” a Cygolite headlight to sit lower on a front rack, but why didn’t they figure this out? The idea and result is that a lower headlamp will have a more oblique relation to the road and show a longer stretch of what’s ahead without blinding oncomers.

      So, in the end I have a mix of lights with uncertain, debatable virtues:

      – Blinking cateye light on handlebars (pointed somewhat down) for recognition.
      – Lower-mounted Cygolite for forward visibility
      – Helmet-mounted blinky red light for recognition
      – Two Vistalight tail lights (one solid, one blinky) for recognition and navigation.

      This is just my “notion du jour” and I could be influenced by better science.

      Do I think that there are any immutable truths? Yes. Anyone who puts a red light on the *front* of their bike (and I have seen them) has a date with destiny.

      1. Kirk

        I think it’s important to have a solid light at all times for depth perception, both front and rear. Add to that a blinky or two on the rear, and use the front flasher only on the street, never on the trail. They can be turned on and off!

      2. Josh

        Note that a red light in front, like a strobing light in front, is clearly illegal in Washington, both covered by RCW 46.37.280.

        Not that I want or expect aggressive enforcement and citations, but could SPD put a couple of bike officers on “educational” patrol on major bike corridors this time of year?

        Stop people riding after dark with no headlight, with a red light in front, or with a strobing front light, and politely remind them they’re breaking the law and making things more hazardous for themselves and for others.

      3. Kirk

        Note that flashing hazard warning lamps mounted on the front of a vehicle, including a bicycle, are expressly legal in Washington State per RCW 46.37.215.

        (1) Any vehicle may be equipped with lamps for the purpose of warning other operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking, or passing.

        But they do need to be amber in color, unless your bike was made before 1969. So my 1965 Schwinn Racer gets a pass on that one…

  10. user x

    Almost everyone that I pass with a super bright, modern, light needs to point it down more than they currently do. It will light the trail more effectively and not blind the people who are desperately trying not to hit you. It will look like you have your light pointed way too steeply toward the ground when you have it aimed correctly, but if you prop your bike up and stand at a distance that you would want to be seen, you’ll find that you are very visible but not blinding. Also, the brightest mode on modern lights is not meant for commuting, but rather to light a completely dark trail at night. I don’t understand why the people who insist on creating a blinding, seizure inducing, target fixation disco think that they are somehow safer. It’s often the people driving, who see me through my entire interaction with them, that scare me the most. It’s better to simply look a block ahead and adjust your speed so you don’t have to deal with it at all. Remember that your brain, eyes, ears, and brakes are your most important safety equipment regardless of the time of year. No amount of neon, lumens, or head padding will counter stupidity and recklessness.

  11. Van Wolf

    My 2 cents on this is,USE YOUR LIGHTS TO SEE! not TO BE SEEN! There’s so many examples of people being lit up like a Vegas strip and getting mowed down by completely sober and sane folks. Never ever assume you can be seen, not until you’ve made eye contact, and even then, proceed with caution. Sure, its probably a good idea to have more lights on you, and if it makes you feel better, then by all means dress like a traffic cone. But the lights on my bike are used for me to see what is not lit up by street or trail lights, the back light is so other cyclists will probably see me, I do not assume no matter how bright my back light, that I am seen. Mostly because this is how a lot of cyclists get hit, from behind, its one of the reasons we’re so often told to “own the lane” is to increase visibility, and its probably your best chance of not getting mowed down by a sleepy commuter. Your blinking light is just going to annoy the crap out of everyone who does see it, and make you FEEL like you’ve been seen. And that feeling is what is going to get you killed. You aren’t “safe” because of lights or paint, or plastic. By all means get lights on your bike, there’s dark places filled with pot holes, but never assume you’ve been seen. And yes, lets paint more lanes, (however I’m just going to roll my eyes when I see sharrows) and infrastructure that makes travel safer.
    However, work from the assumption you are invisible, because while its a sad state of the world and the way our brains work, but the majority of motorists will never even know they passed you, so you might as well work with reality.

    1. 1st Person

      Von Hofstetter?

    2. user x

      Very well said Van. Something that has always concerned me when these conversations about lighting come up is the implicit belief that somehow being seen equals being safe. I hate to break it to everyone, but just because the season and the equipment have changed, the rules of engagement haven’t. When that person driving their car sees your rolling light show, you are going to be met with the same level of annoyance that you would be meet with on a bright sunny summer day, except now probably more so as you are actually annoying to look at. The number one concern for most people driving once you’ve been identified as a cyclist will be getting around you as quickly as possible and all those blinking lights strewn about your bike and head have now made it difficult, if not near impossible, to judge your speed and direction of travel. I always assume that I can’t be seen and try to exercise complete control over what happens in front of me. If your relying on your headlight to keep you alive for any other reason than lighting a dark trail, you are doing it wrong. Getting hit from behind is, and will always be my greatest fear, as generally what happens from behind my bike is completely out of my control. I use a Bausch & Mueller Toplight Permanent rear light which mounts to my rack and is about the size of a small rear tail light on a car. The cold hard reality is that drivers tend to hit their brakes when they feel THEIR life is threatened, but oftentimes hit the gas when they are annoyed, confused, or angry. My rear light is very bright and large and has no blinking mode whatsoever. It is my hope that I’ll be mistaken for a car with a tail light that is out or a motorcycle, basically something on the road that is a threat to them which may cause them to use their brakes instead of the gas. It’s also worth noting that target fixation on blinking lights IS a thing and drunk drivers are drawn to them like moths to a flame. Something to think about.

      1. Van Wolf

        Indeed! And not just drunk drivers, they’ve found that the physically tired are just as drawn by them as drunk drivers, and late at night in the dark… One of my brothers was struck from behind, he no longer cycles at all (he’s alive, he just won’t do it), and totally legitimate as your worst fear, its how many cyclists die:

    3. Gary

      I use a class III reflective vest to help with the “be seen” issue. But in general I find that when I run with lights even in the daytime, I get more space on the road.

      Also if I can see you before I see your lights, your lights are nearly worthless. Tail lights especially.

      A local quality light is made right here in Seattle, and while bright, and non focused it won’t blind you because it’s non focused! http://www.orfos.bike/ ie, the light is not contained so you get the benefit of increased visibility. And while not cheap they aren’t as expensive as a lot of other quality lights.

  12. Gary

    Being recognized that you are a bicycle is critical to both on coming traffic and approaching traffic. If cars coming in the opposite lane see you, and see the car behind you they will shift to their right and give everyone more room. Cars approaching need to recognize that you are moving a lot slower than they are, hence the need to separate yourself from a motorcycle or a one taillight car.

    To do this, I use the headlamp on helmet and handlebars, a light over light is the only thing that bicyclists do regularly. I use at least one flasher in the back, same thing.

    Blind drivers can’t avoid anyone, however if you drive 10ft behind me you won’t like it. 20ft, and we are both good.

    On flashers, the rate of flash seems to be the factor that is the most annoying. I have a hard time looking at the fast flash and I’ve heard that it can induce an epileptic seizure in people who are susceptible.

    The BG is a a problem because the trail is so narrow and poorly lit, and root/potholed that without adequate lighting I can’t see to ride. Shaped lights help but lumens ultimately make the difference. Unfortunately two bikes within 3 ft of each other approaching are within both beam patterns. Even with those fancy German lights. A wider trail is the solution, and reduced speeds for that momentary blindness for both of us.

    1. Josh

      The epilepsy issue, while rare, is real — even in daylight.

      e.g., see Twitter thread from earlier this year started by local racer Jessica Cutler, who politely asked, “Just a reminder from your friendly neighborhood epileptic, please turn your lights from blink to steady on the trail.”


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Jun 20 @ 7:15 pm
Point83 @ Westlake Park
Meet up in the center of the park at 7ish. Leave at 730. Every Thursday from now until forever rain or shine. Bikes, beers, illegal firepits, nachos, bottlerockets, timetraveling, lollygagging, mechanicals, good times.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
1:00 pm Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot
Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot
Jun 23 @ 1:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Redmond History Ride @ Marymoor Park Velodrome Parking Lot | Redmond | Washington | United States
Join this 13 mile bike ride around Redmond at a Leisurely pace. We’ll visit various sites both old and new as I tell stories about the city that was once known as Salmonberg.ShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
5:30 pm Downtown Greenways monthly meeting
Downtown Greenways monthly meeting
Jun 24 @ 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Last Monday of the month.  Join us! https://seattlegreenways.org/downtowngreenwaysShareMastodonTwitterFacebookRedditEmail
6:00 pm Ballard-Fremont Greenways Meeting
Ballard-Fremont Greenways Meeting
Jun 26 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Ballard-Fremont Greenways meets monthly on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Join the google group for monthly meeting information: https://groups.google.com/g/ballard-greenwaysBring your enthusiasm and ideas to share with the group or just stop in to say hello[…]
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