/ Cyclists 2

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Dave Cumberland - on 01 Oct 2017
Earlier tonight, I drove home after another visit to Keswick wall, along the same roads as described in "Cyclists". Pitch black, windy.
At one point I was confronted by a huge bright full-beam searchlight straight into my face, rendering visibility impossible. I slowed, again slowed, slowed further to a snail's pace, almost stopped as I passed the source of the light (a cyclist).
Now as a cyclist, whenever I am confronted by an oncoming car on narrow country roads, I feel it is both polite, and very much safer, for me to shade my light with my hand so it shines onto the road rather than in the drivers face. A sort of dipping mechanism if you like.
I found some of the responses from the previous post quite disturbing, so I hesitated before adding this - but on reflection, I could not resist the impulse to tell the tale.
There is nothing quite so offensive on a dark winter's night as a bright light straight into your face. Even when walking, it is sensible to shine the light onto one's legs so THEY can see you - NOT into their faces, which blinds them.
DC.
Sir Chasm - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

"I slowed, again slowed, slowed further to a snail's pace, almost stopped"

Sounds very safe, well done.
davidbeynon on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Put your beams on, same as you would for any other impolite driver. Alternatively fit bull bars.
Stuart en Écosse - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

I, and most likely every other poster on this site, could start a thread every time we see a van driver on his phone, a car driver breaking the speed limit, a motorcyclist overtaking like a bellend, a truck driver hogging the overtaking lane, a BMW tailgating, a SUV in a disabled parking space, a wheelchair user popping a wheelie, ad infinitum.

But no-one does, because it would be tedious.
davidbeynon on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Stuart en Écosse:

Some people do.
Yanis Nayu - on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Thanks for the interesting and informative update Dave.

Nurse will be along soon to wake you up for your nap.
Lion Bakes on 01 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Next, Dave gets abducted by aliens...

captain paranoia - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Okay, now I think I understand the earlier claims that you're a troll.

No lights: bad cyclist.
Bright lights: bad cyclist.

Cyclist: bad cyclist...?

I've regularly been blinded by drivers who refuse to dip their beam for me.

I even resorted to a BFO front light to turn on 'in retaliation', to get them to dip their beam (just as you would flash your full beam in a car, to someone approaching you with full beam).
yesbutnobutyesbut - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Maybe people should post everytime a car driver forgets to dip thier headlights quickly.

FFS Get a grip.
Si_G - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

I the words of my darling wife :

Some people are just c____s, however they get about.

Sadly, she’s right.
Most people who ride bikes also drive cars and use supermarkets. You’re conflicting with the ignorant ones. The bike is largely irrelevant.
These are the same people who block the aisle or drive badly. They’re just daily idiots.
Epic Ebdon on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

There are even such things as "self dipping" bike lights - my wife has one on her bike. It has a light sensor, so if it's somewhere relatively light (i.e. in a town), then it works in "be seen" mode; slightly less bright, but much higher, with a much wider visible angle to help you be seen. If it senses that it's very dark, then it turns on a very bright beam, which is narrower, and designed to help you see where you are going. She doesn't do all that much cycling when it's very dark, but it does seem to work very well.
Einriba on 02 Oct 2017
I can't wait for part 3......cyclist doesn't break the law, but it still annoyed me....grrrr
summo on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

You should carry a sprig of bracken to shield your eyes.

Ps. I have two lights on one of my bikes, if I meet someone I just turn big light off and keep going. The smaller one is ample and angled a little more downwards.
wercat on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:

beast frequency oscilator?
GrahamD - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to wercat:

muuter mutter, "I'm a cyclist but.... " mutter moan, "local lanes for local people" mutter
Neil Williams - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to captain paranoia:
> No lights: bad cyclist.
>
> Bright lights: bad cyclist.

No lights: bad
Misadjusted or non-dipping lights: bad
Correctly-aligned lights (of any brightness): good

Simple as that. FWIW, I get sick of being blinded *as a cyclist* by lights that are not properly dipped.

It's really, really dangerous for other road users.
Post edited at 10:27
hang_about - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Wait a minute - what about runners?

My cycle route home has a section on a tarmac path through a wooded unlit park. Nothing worse than being blinded by runners with a bloody lighthouse attached to their heads. I cycle faster than they can run but don't need to illuminate half of Sheffield with my (properly adjusted) cycle light.

No lights - bad runner
Bright lights - bad runner

Don't get me started on helicopters......
Neil Williams - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to hang_about:

It’s incompetent, negligent and dangerous to shine bright lights in the eyes of other road users, whatever type of road user you are.
dale1968 on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:
Well done Dave, funniest thread for a while lol
JimR - on 02 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

I often run round Grafham Water in the dark with the dogs on a gravel track, most of the time there is enough ambient light to run without a headtorch. ... until a cyclist goes by in the opposite direction with enough candle power to light up the dark side of the moon whereupon my night vision is wrecked. I do cycle at night as well and have two forward lights, one on the road to spot potholes and the other (flashing) for awareness. The high power lights, unless used appropriately and with consideration, are a menace.
JdotP - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Clearly the OP is a troll (https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=671910) but I will respond anyway. As a cyclist with very bright lights (both front and rear), I am aware that some motorists find my lights irritating. However, they are necessary due to the fact that a large proportion of motorists fail to pay adequate attention to watch out for other traffic on the road. I also drive a car myself so I - more than most people - can see both sides of the argument.
Dave the Rave on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to JdotP:

See my thread. Is it a bike or a motorbike dad? Dunno, but for some reason he is going to hit us!
Neil Williams - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to JdotP:
If your lights are not dipped, I find them *dangerous*, and that is as a cyclist or pedestrian.

In my view it is high time lights above a certain brightness are mandated, as they are in cars, to have a dim-dip feature to be used when approaching another road user of any kind.
Post edited at 22:34
Eric9Points - on 09 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Yes, some of off road bike lights are excessively bright and a hazard on the road.

I wonder if they are in breach of the law?
stubbed on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to JimR:

When I was in the army cadets we were taught to close one eye in this situation to avoid ruining night vision...
Neil Williams - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to stubbed:
The best approach is for people not to be shining lights in the air. They should be shone slightly dipped and to the left. Then there's not a problem.

Bikes should certainly have bright lights, nowadays there is no reason they should be less bright than a car. The problem is posed by their misalignment and by people who do not believe that by having them misaligned they are causing a significant danger to other road users, or who believe that causing that danger is perfectly OK because of their own safety, or who simply don't think about it.
Post edited at 11:50
DubyaJamesDubya - on 10 Oct 2017
In reply to yesbutnobutyesbut:

> Maybe people should post everytime a car driver forgets to dip thier headlights quickly.

> FFS Get a grip.

But you fail to grasp the enormity of the event. A cyclist has got hold of a light as bright as a car light.
JdotP - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> If your lights are not dipped, I find them *dangerous*, and that is as a cyclist or pedestrian.

When there is a car approaching you, it is *dangerous* if your bike lights are dipped, as in that case the car could pull across in front of you without warning at any time to make a right turn, or overtake, or pull out from a side road. Remember that many drivers do not indicate. Only last night, I was cycling home from work and a car arrived at a junction from a side road at very high speed - clearly without the slightest intention of stopping to check for oncoming traffic that had right of way over him - until I shone my headtorch into his eyes. Then he stopped.
Neil Williams - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to JdotP:
> When there is a car approaching you, it is *dangerous* if your bike lights are dipped, as in that case the car could pull across in front of you without warning at any time to make a right turn, or overtake, or pull out from a side road. Remember that many drivers do not indicate. Only last night, I was cycling home from work and a car arrived at a junction from a side road at very high speed - clearly without the slightest intention of stopping to check for oncoming traffic that had right of way over him - until I shone my headtorch into his eyes. Then he stopped.

I'm sorry, I cannot accept that kind of "war on the roads" mentality.

Shining a headtorch into someone's eyes is a clear act of dangerous aggression (because you don't know how they will react to being blinded).

Defensive cycling would have been to anticipate his error and let him make his manoeuvre. Your safety is more important than the speed of your journey. AKA, there is no point in being in the right and dead.

The only time that could have been justified would be a case of the car already starting the manoeuvre such that he would collide with you and you could not stop in time to avoid it.

And yes, I think all drivers should act like that, too.

Doing what you did is the equivalent of a car flashing their lights and sounding their horn to alert someone of their presence. It should ONLY be done in those circumstances. And maybe get a loud air-horn as well; if a car did that to me in a car I'd be on the horn and the brakes, a bicycle is no different.

Your view is equivalent to saying it would be right for me to drive my car around with main beam on all the time just in case someone isn't looking properly. That's wrong. It's dangerous and selfish.
Post edited at 13:18
Phil79 - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

The problem is most cyclist these days own cheap, direct from china, retina burning led lights, with little or no filter or focus to the beam and they just spill light everywhere.

Even if pointed at the floor they still blind oncoming bikes, cars, pedestrians.

I'm an offender too, they are dirt cheap and easily light my pitch black winter commute, but I at least have the decency to put a hand over the front when I see oncoming cyclist.
Neil Williams - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Phil79:

Hopefully for cars too. A blinded driver is a risk to you and other road users.

It is high time a legal standard is mandated for these lights to ensure they, like car headlights, are used correctly. Brightly-lit cyclists = very good. Blinded road users = very bad.

Even if you don't have one with a proper dim/dip functionality, it's hardly difficult with most of them to rotate it down slightly on the bars and back up when necessary.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Hopefully for cars too. A blinded driver is a risk to you and other road users.

> It is high time a legal standard is mandated for these lights to ensure they, like car headlights, are used correctly. Brightly-lit cyclists = very good. Blinded road users = very bad.

> Even if you don't have one with a proper dim/dip functionality, it's hardly difficult with most of them to rotate it down slightly on the bars and back up when necessary.

Many of these lights are for offroad use and are perfectly acceptable if angled correctly. I suppose you'll be advocating police checks on every corner next but that wouldn't help as a flick of the wrist could change the orientation.
Neil Williams - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to DubyaJamesDubya:
> Many of these lights are for offroad use and are perfectly acceptable if angled correctly.

Fine, but it should be a criminal offence not to have them angled properly.

I have been blinded by this type of light on many occasions while a cyclist and pedestrian, let alone in the car. That means they are *way* off in alignment.

> I suppose you'll be advocating police checks on every corner next but that wouldn't help as a flick of the wrist could change the orientation.

Hardly, though I do think there should be more in-person traffic enforcement generally; this is one of the many things that aren't enforceable using cameras. Such enforcement could be funded by increased (in cost and in number issued) fixed penalties.
Post edited at 14:28
Tricky Dicky - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to stubbed:

> When I was in the army cadets we were taught to close one eye in this situation to avoid ruining night vision...

This is why pirates wore eye patches. They would storm aboard a ship in daylight, then when they went below decks they'd switch the eye patch to the other eye, thus using the eye that had become acustomed to the dark behind the patch.
Lion Bakes on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Maybe their lights were angled perfectly fine but you were too far reclined in your seat? Remember lights can be legally mounted up to 150cm from the ground which might heave meant them shining in your eyes even if correctly angled. You often get the same effect with Lorry lights which are mounted higher.

Neil Williams - on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Lion Bakes:
This can happen when up very close to a lorry - but when I am dazzled by bicycle lights this normally occurs from some distance away.

Remember of course also that motor vehicle lights are angled down *and to the left* precisely to avoid dazzling other motorists and cyclists on the road. Hence why you're meant to use beam diverters when in a country where you drive on the right.

All I seek is that the same rules apply to cyclists as motorists when it comes to bright lighting.
Post edited at 16:11
RX-78 on 11 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

Problem is bike lights are removable so would need to be checked every time they are re-attached to the bike, not too easy to do as a slight variation in angle can make a big difference.

Bright lights in general are an issue (for me at least, my eyes seems sensitive to light, my wife is always going around turning on the lights at home, whilst I turn them off, on occasions I have had to wear sun glasses in the office at work or at home, when especially sensitive or glaring lights), whether bike lights when I am running in the park and the bike is coming towards me, bright rear flashing lights when I am cycling, and when driving my car, car lights often seem way too bright, shining in my rear view mirror and side mirrors etc.
DubyaJamesDubya - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> Fine, but it should be a criminal offence not to have them angled properly.

> I have been blinded by this type of light on many occasions while a cyclist and pedestrian, let alone in the car. That means they are *way* off in alignment.

> Hardly, though I do think there should be more in-person traffic enforcement generally; this is one of the many things that aren't enforceable using cameras. Such enforcement could be funded by increased (in cost and in number issued) fixed penalties.

I think you'll find it already is an offence and is probably enforced with the rigour applied to drivers not dipping their headlights and using mobile phones etc. But then by comparison to those things is extremely rare.
I agree there should be much more on real officer enforcement because I could give you a wish list of things I see every day that I would to see clamped down on and bright lights in the eyes wouldn't make the top 10.
the sheep - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

> All I seek is that the same rules apply to cyclists as motorists when it comes to bright lighting.

Very admirable, how do you plan to achieve this?

Neil Williams - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to the sheep:

By law. Prosecute those who dazzle people with misaligned lights. It really is not hard to adjust them.
MarkJH - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:
> By law. Prosecute those who dazzle people with misaligned lights. It really is not hard to adjust them.

As others have said, that law exist already. Reg 27 of the RVLRs apply equally to bikes as to cars. Whether many people get prosecuted is another matter, but the fact remains that the rules are the same.
Post edited at 10:31
dabble on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

What about the new car headlights that dazzle people even when adjusted properly? I've lost count the number of times I've flashed someone thinking they still have full beams on only to have them flash me back with the power of a trillion suns. I've talked to people who have them and they say "well, i can't really see without them" What? Then get off the bleeding road!
I have no answers but it seems like no one in this thread does, it's all a case of 'well, he did this so that cancels my bad behaviour out'.
Lion Bakes on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Vehicle lights are still designed to be seen from some distance and can still quite easily dazzle. Cycle handlebars are the perfect height to be aligned with a car drivers eyes. Consider they may not be misaligned it is just the height you are sitting at.

FactorXXX - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to Lion Bakes:

Cycle handlebars are the perfect height to be aligned with a car drivers eyes. Consider they may not be misaligned it is just the height you are sitting at.

If cycle handlebars are the perfect height to be aligned with a car drivers eyes and the lights are dazzling drivers, then doesn't that mean that the lights are parallel to the floor and therefore misaligned?
balmybaldwin - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> Cycle handlebars are the perfect height to be aligned with a car drivers eyes. Consider they may not be misaligned it is just the height you are sitting at.

> If cycle handlebars are the perfect height to be aligned with a car drivers eyes and the lights are dazzling drivers, then doesn't that mean that the lights are parallel to the floor and therefore misaligned?

They must be misaligned on every SUV ever made too then
FactorXXX - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

They must be misaligned on every SUV ever made too then

Possibly, but SUV's have a dip facility to counter that.
balmybaldwin - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

They still blind you though if you are in a normal car in front of them
FactorXXX - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

They still blind you though if you are in a normal car in front of them

Quite possibly, but isn't this about cyclists lights dazzling drivers and in particular, LB's assertion that it's down to driver position as opposed to light alignment on the bike?

balmybaldwin - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

I think in many instances he is right - many cyclists point lights level rather than towards the ground. This didnt used to be a problem as bike lights were crap, but now (much like LED/xenon lights on cars) they are much more intense.

Most riders ride where there are street lights so don't need the light to "see" so the have little incentive to point it at the ground.

In heavy traffic, a bike light that is not pointed straight at you is hard to pick out among brighter car headlights.

This is why for me the ideal set up for my road bike is a flashing but not super bright light on my helmet that allows me to attract enough attention, and easily direct the light away from dazzling a driver, as well as a v bright light on my bars illuminating the road 5m or so ahead.

On my mtb I reverse it and have the bright light on my head (and turn it off when on road)
FactorXXX - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

I think in many instances he is right - many cyclists point lights level rather than towards the ground.

Misaligned then?
Dave the Rave on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Spot on! I use my Myo xp on flash mode with no main beam light. Lights are far more visible up on your head and you can turn your head away from oncoming traffic so as not to dazzle drivers.
balmybaldwin - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

Yes I never claimed they weren't?

but thats my point. when I was first riding the only lights you could get ran off 2 D batteries and ran a "candle" bulb. Very similar to what old cars had essentially a tiny light bulb in front of a big reflector that was a lot dimmer and throw a wide non directional beam (so didn't dazzle anything like as much).

Now you get 20x the power out of a reflector the size of your thumb - which means it dazzles if it points straight at you and therefore more care should be taken.
FactorXXX - on 12 Oct 2017
In reply to balmybaldwin:

Yes I never claimed they weren't?

Fair enough, but the person I replied to seemed to think differently...
Neil Williams - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:
Yeah, and what I'm saying is that people need to be more responsible and ensure they *don't* misalign their lights. It's not that hard to look where the light is pointing each time you fit it - if there is no light visible on the road several metres in front of the cycle (exactly how far is relatively unimportant for this purpose), it's misaligned.

I think bright lights on bikes are a very good thing indeed, but with them comes a responsibility for the safety of others. And that's not just car vs. bike - I've been blinded by them when cycling and walking too, and that means they weren't only misaligned but pointing up in the air.
Post edited at 09:44
fred99 - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to FactorXXX:

> They must be misaligned on every SUV ever made too then

> Possibly, but SUV's have a dip facility to counter that.

All we need to do now is educate SUV driver's about such a facility.
And drivers of BMW's, ...
Lord of Starkness - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Dave Cumberland:

As a cyclist, and motorist, I despair about how dangerously bright some bike lights have become, and that many cyclists seem to be oblivious of the danger they run by dazzling oncoming traffic.

I've now got a half decent CREE front light ( actually a £12.99 Aldi Special) and have found that even on its lowest brightness setting it can illuminate unlit country lanes up to 100 metres ahead. I always angle mine downwards so that the beam 'bright spot' is about 10 metres in front of me on the road - thus showing potholes very clearly yet hopefully not blinding motorists. The light mount also has a handy 'click' rotation feature so that the beam can be angled towards the nearside kerb when vehicles are approaching.

Courtesy to other road users is not rocket science.
Neil Williams - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Lord of Starkness:

Agreed, this is exactly how people should do it.
Neil Williams - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to fred99:

It amazes me how few people know about the beam angle adjuster present on just about every car.
Si_G - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Decent cars have autolevelling xenons so you can actually see at night. It’s the kids with the aftermarket HID kits who cause problems.

Maybe cycle light manufacturers need to include obvious guidance?
I think my cheapie eBay Cree leds told you to point them down to avoid dazzle.
Perhaps the kind of rider who hasn’t already thought it through wouldn’t pay any notice to suggestions anyway.
Neil Williams - on 13 Oct 2017
In reply to Si_G:

> Perhaps the kind of rider who hasn’t already thought it through wouldn’t pay any notice to suggestions anyway.

Nor those who (and there are one or two in the thread) think they don't have to consider other road users, only themselves.

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