I’ll say right up front that I’ve never really understood the need for a flashing headlight on a bike. Isn’t the point of a headlight to be able to see where you’re going? I finally decided that cyclists must use them as another way to be visible to motorists and others.
But last night, I had an interesting experience. I was on Allen Blvd. in Beaverton, driving east on my way home from the Safeway. There was a cyclist on Allen (a very brave soul indeed to ride on a very busy street with no bike lanes, no shoulder, and fairly narrow travel lanes). He was also going east. When I passed him, he took the lane behind me.
He had a blindingly bright flashing headlight. Unfortunately, it was aimed high enough than when I checked my mirror, I got that bright flash right in my eyes.
So the end results was this: I couldn’t keep an eye on him, to know where he was, whether he might be on my right when I needed to make a right turn, because that flashing light completely destroyed my night vision. I could not tell where he was on the road.
If he wanted to use that light for safety, he actually made things worse. He might have it aimed properly for those driving SUVs and vans, but for those of us who still drive regular old sedans, that light was more of a hazard than a safety feature.
So, for those of you who use flashing headlights, please consider its effect on those around you. Thank you.