Thread started by trickmilla
at 11.29.07 - 2:30 am
Do flashing lights attract drunk drivers?
I have had 2 friends suggest to me that some drivers might actually be attracted to lights. (one claiming that "according to the CHP")
It seemed utterly absurd to me until I had a drunk sidewalk cyclist change directions to actually ride right into me while iI was standing at a stop sign leaving him plenty of room to pass in front of me ... he actually said that my light .. the blazing hot "minewt" (not flashing) confused him and that is why he ran into me as part of his slurred and garbled apology.
hmmmm. the theories of 2 wacky friends and first hand account of some staggering drunk dude who had just crashed, wasn't quite enough for me.
I did a bit of googling and all I could find is the following from a police driving guide.
"The knowledge of human perception calls into question the use of red warning lights when the vehicle is parked in or next to the highway. Instead of warning people away, the red emergency lights actually draw drivers towards the lights. This so-called moth effect refers to "a state of narrowed attention associated with excessive concentration on some object or task with the resulting in a loss of voluntary control over response." People drive where they look! Drugged, drunk, elderly and fatigued drivers will drive right into the rear of the vehicle in the road and drive off the road to hit the vehicle parked on the shoulder that is displaying the red warning lights. This happens more than we like to admit."
I heard and read somewhere of what you speak. As far as rear lights... that it's hard to judge distance when you have a blinking light. I read people like having a blinkie and another at steady to make it easier to judge distance. The Cateye LD1000 (I think) has two rows of led's in which you can steady one and have the other blinking. I have two Planet bike lights like the one pictured above and do the same when I ride alone. It sure eats the batteries on the steady... got to stock up on the rechargeables.
11.29.07 - 2:36 am
I completely misread the question. Any how... I do fear about being rear ended by someone attracted to the lights. I wondered the same a couples myself. "Oooh... lights!" Just like when some people say when two cars hit and the other ricochets off and they usually hit the first thing they see... like a light post or something. Same I fear w/ the lights. Like bugs to a light...
11.29.07 - 2:44 am
Google "target fixation". This could be another manifestation of this phenomenon.
11.29.07 - 8:29 am
This isn't about blinking and drunks being attracted to them.
But I have found when driving that those with the standard reflectors on there bike seem to work even better at getting my attention (to see they are there) then an illuminated or blinking light.
11.29.07 - 3:01 pm
I got pulled over by a sherriff because of my new Minewt ultra bright annoying blinding front light. "hey is that legal!" "why t'sure is offcier!" "well aim that thing down I got confused by it!" "oh you got it, I certainly dont want to cause you any confusion!"
11.29.07 - 3:20 pm
Cateye attracts my biz!!
My Cateye mount broke due to UV stress (as best I can tell), so I called them and they sent me a new one. I didn't even have to send the old one back; just gave 'em the part number and my addy. That's how you keep customers, I love it.
05.12.09 - 12:36 pm
I had a similar experience with Cateye. My red lens fell off my light, and they sent two replacements with no questions asked.
05.12.09 - 12:45 pm
Similar thread is also here
. Admittedly a weeee bit buried.
05.12.09 - 12:54 pm
Lights schmlights, you need to SEE whats behind you
05.12.09 - 1:01 pm
thanks penis, that was the thread I was looking for. I never thought to search JUS GOTA TRI!! (thanks to User1 for keeping me guessing).
For anyone looking for a light, I've been really happy with this one
. Flasher is nice and bright, and the constant mode is bright enough for the odd time you've got to provide your own illumination (trails, dark streets, etc)
05.12.09 - 1:01 pm
I said this before and it is going to sound insane.
When I started driving everywhere all the time and stopped riding I would notice rear lights on bikes and not pay to much attention.
When I would see something in the the distance that looked like reflectors, I would take notice and focus in on the reflectors, and pay closer attention to the cyclist when I realized that it was a cyclist that I was seeing. Something about it not being so predominate that made me want to watch it more. Of course I wasn't drunk, so it might not be relevant to this post .
My opinion (for me at least) is that reflectors get my attention and heeds my caution more then lights on bicyclist while I'm driving.
05.12.09 - 1:06 pm
There's definitely something to this. It's been suggested that you look more vehicle-like with a constant light instead of a flashing one.
In Germany they have very strict regulations for bike lighting and they don't allow flashing lights. Likewise the ACP prohibits flashing lights during randonneur events.
sexy is right, rear pedal reflectors of some kind are a good idea. It definitely signals "BIKE" for drivers. I've taken to putting some kind of reflective tape on most of my pedals and clipless shoes.
05.12.09 - 1:15 pm
I'm not sure about this. I would think a bright flashing light would be the best protection. With a lot of people picking the planet bike superflash, it seems to bare this out.
A good alternative that gives you a reflector too, is the Cherry Bomb.
05.12.09 - 1:22 pm
Our flashing lights aren't very ambiguous; people know it's a cyclist.
But reflectors could be any number of things, many of which can kill your car if you hit them. I bet that's why people are more wary of reflective surfaces while driving.
05.12.09 - 1:28 pm
I use both a blinkie and a large amber reflector on the back of my bike.
According to the research I've done, it seems that it doesn't matter if you put reflectors on your pedals or not -- it's the amber color that's important, which reflects back a lot more light compared to red.
05.12.09 - 1:48 pm
i was thinking about it but then didnt want to get attacked.
05.12.09 - 3:57 pm
It's a damned if you do, damned if you don't thing. It's certainly worse to ride without any light at all. I don't think that's up for debate.
05.12.09 - 5:14 pm