Auxiliary Forward Lighting Conspicuity Study (NHTSA) - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Auxiliary Forward Lighting Conspicuity Study (NHTSA)

I'd be surprised if this hasn't been posted/linked to previously on the forum. But I did a quick search and didn't find it, so I thought I'd post it up.

While researching adding auxiliary LED lights to my Wee, I ran across a motorcycle-specific 2011 study conducted by the NHTSA.

Motorcycle Conspicuity and The Effect of Auxiliary Forward Lighting


They tested the assessments of left-turning drivers as to whether it was safe to turn as vehicles (including motorcycles) approached. The motorcycles were equipped with various forms of auxiliary forward lighting: low-mounted lights, high-mounted lights, fork-mounted LED arrays, and modulated headlights.

The report is super detailed, and contains WAYYY more information than my short attention span is capable of dealing with. But a quick glance shows some interesting results.

If I'm reading it correctly, auxiliary forward lighting wasn't shown to increase the safety margin (in terms of distance). However, and most importantly, the data suggested that added forward lighting did decrease the probability of drivers turning in front of a motorcycle with an "unsafe safety margin".

The relevant quote from the Conclusion section (highlighting mine):

"Although the results of this study did not provide any evidence that the experimental lighting
treatments on the motorcycle influenced the mean safety margin (judgment of the last safe
moment to turn in front of an approaching motorcycle), there was evidence that the experimental
lighting treatments significantly reduced the occurrence of short safety margins. This suggests
that enhancing the forward lighting on motorcycles during the daytime may be effective at
reducing the probability that drivers will turn in front of the motorcycle
with an unsafe short
safety margin. "

It might make for interesting reading for someone with a more developed frontal lobe and a longer attention spa.....SQUIRREL!!
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Last edited by ScottKY; 03-18-2019 at 11:22 AM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 06:20 PM
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My observation is that motorcycles with yellow auxiliary lights mounted lower than the headlight (to give the triangle of light effect) are the most noticeable. The aux lights need to be yellow to distinguish them from headlights.

Also the forward facing lights should not be bright to the point of causing a blinding ball-o-light type of effect. That just makes the bike harder to locate spatially.

All my opinion of course but I did mount yellow lights on my bike and have them set up not to blind on-coming traffic (thread here).



Yea I know that you need to ride like your invisible and people pull out in front of fire trucks with their sirens on. Still I believe that you can try to help drivers see you. It does make me feel better, yes!
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Last edited by Spec; 03-18-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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post #3 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 06:29 PM
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It's good to bring attention to it every once in a while. The importance of alight triangle has come up in several papers on avoiding cars turning in front of motorcycles. The triangle not only gets peoples attention it helps them estimate closing speed better than just a headlight.



Having different colored lights helps a lot also. Our stock headlights are a yellowish color while most auxiliary LEDs are a hot white.
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post #4 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 08:39 PM
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Long ago, when I was a fireman, there were a number of studies related to visibility of emergency vehicle lights. The studies addressed color, duration of flash, placement of lights etc. Irrespective of all the lights, steady, flashing, red or white, we continued to have vehicles pull out in front of our engines and ambulances, or simply refuse to yield. But, what I do recall is that modulating white lights at windshield level seemed to get the best notice. Stobes (that was high tech then) were less effective than flashing incandescent lights, due to their short duration of flash...stobes later started to use groups of multiple flashes, and multiple elements to provide the appearance of longer duration flashes, if that makes sense.

Identification red flashing lights, placed too close to headlights became difficult to impossible to see through the glare of the headlights, at night.

The bottom line, to me, was that the identification emergency lights (red flashing lights on fire and ambulances) needed to be away from the head lights, low enough to be visible from the oncoming drivers level, with a longer flash time than single flash strobes of the day provided. But the white flashing lights, of adequate duration, got attention quicker than the red lights. So we understood to use white lights to get attention, and red lights for identification as an emergency vehicle. And of course, the more lights, the better.

We still had vehicles pull out in front of our emergency vehicles, and refuse to acknowledge our presence. But it seemed this was less often.

I have axillary white lights on my bike, facing forward. They are far brighter and far whiter than the low beam headlight, but I ride very defensively because other drivers cannot be relied on...not at all....


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post #5 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZ Pete View Post

I have axillary white lights on my bike, facing forward. They are far brighter and far whiter than the low beam headlight, but I ride very defensively because other drivers cannot be relied on...not at all....
I wholeheartedly agree. As far as lights are concerned, Iím in the ďcanít hurt, might helpĒ camp. What I rely on the most are my defensive riding skills. I do everything I can to anticipate potential hazards and to have a plan to avoid those hazards should they materialize.
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post #6 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 09:12 PM
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I've noticed that mine and others bikes need to do one more thing:
As we get brighter headlights and the bright aux lights, we "drowned" out our front directional indicators.
Go figure, huh.
I installed the brightest LED directional bulbs I could find and now I can see them again.
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post #7 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 10:49 PM
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Plus the driving lights need to be away and not next to the indicator lights or else you may as well not use the indicators (for oncoming traffic that is).
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post #8 of 22 Old 03-18-2019, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blaustrom View Post
Plus the driving lights need to be away and not next to the indicator lights or else you may as well not use the indicators (for oncoming traffic that is).
Maybe one of the smart kids will spell out the best way to flash our aux lights with our directional lights.
(I bet the Blinker Geni" thing could do that)

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post #9 of 22 Old 03-19-2019, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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On my Harley, I replaced the front turn indicators with Dynamic Ringz from Custom Dynamics. They are bright white LEDís that turn flashing amber when the directional signal is activated, and then go back to white.

I wish something like that was available for the Strom.
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post #10 of 22 Old 03-19-2019, 10:18 AM
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I have this but I need to tone them down a bit. Seem to do what intended though.


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