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Not very scientific, but It seems to me that having a triangulated light pattern makes it easier to judge speed and distance for the observer. Look at the photos in this thread and notice that with the auxiliary lighting, there are now three or more focal points rather than just the single headlight. Our brains tell us to pay more attention to lights over background, and once noticed, we start processing velocity. Railroad safety engineers seem to agree. A single beam on a locomotive is more difficult to judge closing velocity than the light triangle common today; even better than the sweeping or oscillating beam used in the 50's and ealrly 60's.
 
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I like discussions like this. Ultimately no matter what you do to become more visible, it's your responsibility to be proactive, try to read what people are going to do in front of you and avoid the situation or get yourself noticed. Todays world with everyone thinking they have to be doing something on their phone all the time, you can only do so much. So all the ideas are great so far as far as being seen from the front, what have any of you done to be noticed from the rear? I've got my hi-viz gear, backoff xp brakelight flasher and 3m scotchlite reflective tape on the cases. I think I've done all I can for the front, and it seems to be pretty effective at being seen, I'm worried about being rear-ended more now. My work is on a 2 lane highway, the driveway is about 300 yards past a curve, we've had a couple of guys get hit waiting to turn in the parking lot. If there is a car behind me I try to take off before the curve and get some distance, put the turn signal on early and keep an eye in the mirror. If I know it's a futile attempt to get distance I put the turn signal on early, flash the brake lights a couple of times, keep an eye in the mirror and always be in a lower gear and prepared to take off pretty quick if I need to. Most of the time I can tell that they see me and back way off of me and give me some space just to let me know that they see me (I like to think that's why they do it). I like to give a wave and let them know I appreciate it.
 
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what have any of you done to be noticed from the rear?
I ride a lot locally in Illinois, and "blue dot" lights are legal here. The law I think was intended to allow for retro-style brake lights, but the law as written also allows more modern incarnations. In my version, with seriously bright lightheads, the blue catches people's attention like nothing else I've seen or tried (of course, there are always some who are completely and utterly oblivious). I have a switch to turn them off when I'm in states that don't allow them (which I think is ALL others, though I haven't checked other than the surrounding few):

since it's legal in my state (IL), I hacked together two bright blue / red aux brake lights (not modulated...that would be illegal). Based purely on observing others' reactions on the road, the blue lights make a notably bigger difference than the aux brake light with modulator.
<snip>
The clear lens housings have red LED bulbs and on braking go from off to full-intensity steady-on, while the blue also go from off to full-intensity steady-on.

One of these days I'll update my brake light bar to include nice & bright amber LED turn signal lightheads, and I'll move the red/blue brake lights up to where the stock orange turn signals are, so I have only one turn signal-ish-looking set of lights.
 

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From my own experience driving my various cages for many hundreds of thousands of miles, I would agree that bright hi-viz colors make a HUGE difference in noticing motorcyclists and bicyclists.
I didn't get my high-viz gear to be seen on the bike, but rather to be seen off of it. After my crash, the well lit bike was on the right shoulder, I was in the left lane. The traffic light changed, and every driver coming towards me was staring at the well lit bike on the shoulder, nobody spared a glance for the rider in black laying on the pavement in front of them. I was unharmed and able to get out of the way, but if I'm ever separated from my bike again, I'll be wearing something with at least a chance of drawing a drivers eye to me.
 

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I didn't get my high-viz gear to be seen on the bike, but rather to be seen off of it. After my crash, the well lit bike was on the right shoulder, I was in the left lane. The traffic light changed, and every driver coming towards me was staring at the well lit bike on the shoulder, nobody spared a glance for the rider in black laying on the pavement in front of them. I was unharmed and able to get out of the way, but if I'm ever separated from my bike again, I'll be wearing something with at least a chance of drawing a drivers eye to me.
Good point. We had a rider go down where I live last year. He was on the 4-lane bypass when someone crossed the lanes in front of him on a side road. He laid the bike down, never hit the car but subsequently after he was off the bike he got hit by a truck that didn't see him in the road and ultimately killed. I don't know all the details to the crash by any means, maybe the truck was following and couldn't get stopped (but not from what the it sounds like happened), who knows other than he got hit by a secondary vehicle. The car that crossed the road was oblivious to the fact and never stopped, apparently not realizing what had happened. One of my non-riding co-workers said something to me about the wreck and about him laying it down. I told him the guy should've stayed on the bike. He asked why and I said he didn't hit the car did he? You are almost always better trying to scrub off as much speed as you can instead of laying it down and sliding in who knows what direction and into what. Again, every scenario is different, there may be times when you would want to lay it down as opposed to hitting whatever it is. Hopefully none of us ever have to make that judgement call when we're out riding.
 

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I didn't get my high-viz gear to be seen on the bike, but rather to be seen off of it. After my crash, the well lit bike was on the right shoulder, I was in the left lane. The traffic light changed, and every driver coming towards me was staring at the well lit bike on the shoulder, nobody spared a glance for the rider in black laying on the pavement in front of them. I was unharmed and able to get out of the way, but if I'm ever separated from my bike again, I'll be wearing something with at least a chance of drawing a drivers eye to me.
Excellent point.
 

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Wife came home just yesterday and said there was a bike in her blindspot and the only reason she knew it was there is because she heard it.
I was in city traffic in a car last night and had a very loud Harley behind me. What was more destabilising was that the stereo on this thing was even louder. Must have had a sub woofer.
 
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Loud noises are easily reflected and diffused by buildings, walls, rocks, trees, and other hard objects. This makes it difficult to immediately determine where the source is.
While Iight also reflects, it is much easier to determine whether it's a vehicle or other source.

I have yet to se a study which shows that loud pipes have any effect on accident rates. There have been many studies showing that lights make a difference.
 

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if you've ever been at a railroad crossing where the track is relatively straight for a half mile/1km or more, and there is another crossing at that distance, you can see the locomotive's light coming toward you long before you ever hear the train. As it enters the distant crossing, you can't, or barely, hear the train until it blows its horn. As it approaches the crossing where you are, you begin to hear the locomotive, and really hear its 110dB+ horns. That is because the exhaust is pointing straight up, and the rail noise is diffused out to the sides and rear, so less sound energy makes its way forward of the train. The horns are forward facing, so the sound is louder. The opposite is true as the train overtakes your crossing.

If you really want to do public service with open pipes, face them forward.

edit: a V16-V20 diesel locomotive can produce up to 130dB (Federal Railroad Administration) but again the sound energy is directed straight up.
 
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Yep I do the smidsy as well. Don't know of any downside.

In city riding I always slow down for intersections or anywhere there's someone waiting to pull out on the street. Paranoia pays.
Along with that, look at the other driver's head and eyes. You can actually make brief eye contact with each other, and perceive what each other is going to do. If the other driver is looking away, to go straight or turn left in front of you, be ready to make an evasive maneuver. Always always have an escape route, and ride/drive slow enough to be able to use it.
 
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I didn't get my high-viz gear to be seen on the bike, but rather to be seen off of it. After my crash, the well lit bike was on the right shoulder, I was in the left lane. The traffic light changed, and every driver coming towards me was staring at the well lit bike on the shoulder, nobody spared a glance for the rider in black laying on the pavement in front of them. I was unharmed and able to get out of the way, but if I'm ever separated from my bike again, I'll be wearing something with at least a chance of drawing a drivers eye to me.

Read somewhere to put reflective tape on the bottom of your skid plate for the same reason.
 
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