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View Full Version : Why Don't You Use Lights at Night?


David
11-01-2010, 02:09 PM
Inspired by the 3-year-old helmet thread: same idea, just lights instead of helmets.

We all see tons of people riding in the dark without lights. I don't get it. Is this a "it's your job to see me" type of high-horse issue? Is it logical at all, or people just don't really care if they're visible?

If you don't ride with lights, I'd be curious to hear why!

Simple Nature
11-01-2010, 06:48 PM
I'm not one of those... I like being seen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfkBKxumaoU

...but I agree, I've seen some pretty scary situations on the streets at night.

OnTheRoad
11-02-2010, 08:58 AM
Proposing a corollary question to if you don't use lights at night.

Why do you wear black or dark clothes at night?

The two watchwords I've used to keep me safe cycling are Visibility and Predictability.

Val
11-02-2010, 10:02 AM
A similar question, true, but I suspect that the answers may be a bit simpler and (hopefully) less contentious. For myself, I always use lights at night (and during the day, as well, in the dim overcast Pacific Northwest light), but there was a time when I did not. It was years ago, and the lights avaialble were pure crap, or worse. Generator sets were better than what battery lights there were at the time, but they weren't great, and not all my bikes were set up with them. Even the dim and somewhat draggy sets that could be found then were not cheap, and could be problematic to install (give thanks for modern dynamo hubs and capacitors). When riding dark, I always assumed that I was completely invisible, and never expected anyone to see me. If you're going to be a ninja, you must learn the proper ninja technique. Now, of course, there is really no excuse - LED lights are cheap, bright, ubiquitous, and easy to use. So I do.

Spiffy
11-02-2010, 12:25 PM
sorry, I use a light, but I'm going to give what I feel are excuses...

I've been out without a light a few times before I bought one... my philosophy was, as Val says, that I was invisible and responsible for myself and to stay out of the way of anything that might want to use the same space...

it's another obstacle for poverty stricken people that can't afford lights... and batteries aren't that cheap either...

it's extra luggage that you have to take with you whenever you park... I hate taking my lights into the bar with me just so nobody will steal them...

I really have no problem with the dark ninjas with no helmet, as long as they stay invisible... which means out of everybody's way...

it's more of a liability for those with cars, since your insurance will go up from running over a ninja... but your car will get repaired via uninsured motorist insurance (or property if the ninja has their own insurance)...

bikes are nearly common enough for even the most poorest of people to have one, but helmets and lights are added expenses... some day all our bikes will have dyno lights like Amsterdam and everybody will have a built-in light.... except the bare-bones fixie crowd...

rainperimeter
11-02-2010, 03:33 PM
Proposing a corollary question to if you don't use lights at night.

Why do you wear black or dark clothes at night?

The two watchwords I've used to keep me safe cycling are Visibility and Predictability.

i wear black at night because i wear black during the day. i buy black clothes (and camo shorts). i think little of fashion beyond what color something is. but if this makes me a fashion-y guy or you think i have a death wish, so be it. i do ride with lights, always. and one bike has a generator light and hub on it. i'm into visibility but i don't think i need to run down and start buying all the neon green and yellow stuff i get my hands on. i bike in the clothes i walk around and hang out in.

despite the lights i still ride like i figure i'm not seen, even on bike with the headlight. not trying to downplay the importance of lights, because i do think you should ride with them, but i think they give people a false sense of security. same with the neon green jacket.

beelnite
11-05-2010, 12:09 PM
Seriously - I use lights on major streets - when I'm in the bike lane or bike route... my normal commute, but...

yes there are places in outer SE where I feel safer without my lights on.

I am DEAD certain I can see THEM before they see me. I act accordingly with the situation and my environment.

Nuff said.

rainperimeter
11-05-2010, 12:53 PM
yes there are places in outer SE where I feel safer without my lights on.

I am DEAD certain I can see THEM before they see me. I act accordingly with the situation and my environment.

Nuff said.

how are your lights negatively impacting your ride? i'm not trying to be flippant. are you suggesting that if drivers see you they are gunning for you? if so, say it outright. i'm with you in that some assholes might mess with you, *occasionally*, but i think very very few people really want to hit you. but i'm not sure what you're trying to say, so i'll stop there.

this isn't what you would do if you were driving a car, safety is safety, so i don't know what you're meaning.

David
11-06-2010, 10:40 AM
how are your lights negatively impacting your ride?

This is what I'm wanting to hear too.

rainperimeter
11-08-2010, 03:52 PM
Nuff said.

he was serious about that i guess.

beelnite
11-15-2010, 11:00 AM
OK there are certain places where you don't want to be alone, you don't want to be vulnerable and you don't want to be seen - I'm just saying - certain places in Portland where you will get "checked out" by several people in an automobile and it can be quite unnerving if you aren't prepared for it.

There are certain places where you should probably very quickly and with determination, unwaveringly and confidently - get your bike moving a bit quicker than normal... particularly at night.

I contend that if one chooses to be Ninja for "social" concerns - they be given license to do so - however... whomsoever chooses to move silently and secretly through the night in hopes of not attracting unwanted attention should ALWAYS remember they cannot be seen.


And remember - because you can't see "me" does not mean I can't see "you."

Simple Nature
11-15-2010, 05:56 PM
...such as when you're stacking or peeping into windows, huh :)

beelnite
12-10-2010, 11:09 AM
I do have much greater visibility of my surroundings than a typical motor vehicle... I can't say I haven't seen some amazing things from the saddle one might miss from the bucket seat!

All completely legal of course!!! I don't feel I have adequate traction on residential lawns or flower beds.:D

But speaking of visibility - as in the ability to see, hear, feel a vehicle approaching and ride by moonlight safely... bicycles have a distinct advantage.

I contend some people have the skills, ability, brainpower and- if the desire is there so be it - to ride Ninja without the rest of us worrying a shred about it.

Don't worry about the REAL Ninja's setting a bad example for the rest of us either...

Remember you can't see them!