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I recently installed a headlight modulator on my DL. Now it is coming off. Here's why:

I had a very (and I mean, very :shock: ) close encounter with a left-turning vehicle. I was following a few cars down a two-lane road, and there was pickup facing the opposite direction, stopped, waiting to make a left turn. After the car I was following passed the waiting truck the truck stayed put, as though waiting for me. It did not turn immediately after the car passed, as I would expect if I had not been seen. Just the same, I slowed slightly planning for the worst, though at this point figuring I had been seen since the truck remained stopped.

As I got close, the truck swung into my lane. I jumped on the brakes pretty hard and just missed playing tag with the truck.

I spoke with the driver afterwards (civil conversation, no heated exchange). The driver had seen me and planned to wait for me to pass but the passenger noted the "flashing" lights and told the driver that I was flashing him as a signal to go ahead. Unfortunately, in this area the flashing lights as a "go ahead" signal is used freqently. Also, drivers around here are generally very courteous, and it is not at all unusual to have people who technically have the right of way to let others go first. That can lead to confusion.

It might be my imagination, but I think that since I have had the modulator installed, more drivers have cut me off, rather than less. At any rate, this most recent experience convinced me that at least around here, the headlight modulator is more of a liability than an asset. I feel like a buck that put on an orange jacket during deer season, only to find that it had "Shoot Me!" written on it! :?

Of course, YMMV, but I just wanted to present my experience.

As an aside, I passed another rider recently whose bike really jumped out of the background at me. His bike was equipped with driving lights. Since they burn steadily, I think they may be a better option around here than the modulator.

Tim
 

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Bunker said:
I recently installed a headlight modulator on my DL. Now it is coming off. Here's why:

I had a very (and I mean, very :shock: ) close encounter with a left-turning vehicle.
{snip}
I spoke with the driver afterwards (civil conversation, no heated exchange). The driver had seen me and planned to wait for me to pass but the passenger noted the "flashing" lights and told the driver that I was flashing him as a signal to go ahead. Unfortunately, in this area the flashing lights as a "go ahead" signal is used freqently.
{snip}
As an aside, I passed another rider recently whose bike really jumped out of the background at me. His bike was equipped with driving lights. Since they burn steadily, I think they may be a better option around here than the modulator.

Tim
Tim,

Glad you made it OK - scary story.

Folks around here us the flash-to-allow signal also. I think I'll just keep my nice bright V-Strom lights on. I think they are the best stock lights I've ever seen.

But if I wanted to add visability to myself, I think it would be a set of yellow fog lights. My cousin has them on his BMW GS, stock headlight on that stinks, but you can't miss his yellow fogs!!!



Take care,
Bob S.
 

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I have to agree 100% with the anti-modulator group. I hate them, it's been proven that flashing lights actually attract drunk/intoxicated drivers, and they are flat out annoying to look at.. Drivers think you are either flashing them to go first (oops!), or when coming up behind them, that you are flashing your brights to get them to move over - which just pisses them off.

I mean, seriously, if you don't see those Strom headlights coming, you are likely legally blind and no amount of flashing or blinking is going to change that!! :lol:
 

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Exactly why I won't install one of those or ever flash my light manually while approaching an intersection or other waiting vehicle. Flashing lights around here always means you are giving the right of way to the other vehicle.
 

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MonkeyGrass said:
I have to agree 100% with the anti-modulator group. I hate them, it's been proven that flashing lights actually attract drunk/intoxicated drivers, and they are flat out annoying to look at.. Drivers think you are either flashing them to go first (oops!), or when coming up behind them, that you are flashing your brights to get them to move over - which just pisses them off.

I mean, seriously, if you don't see those Strom headlights coming, you are likely legally blind and no amount of flashing or blinking is going to change that!! :lol:
Right there with you. Strom headlights rule.
 

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I had one on my BMW and the ONLY time I used it was when I hit the horn. It was set to flash 5 times if the horn button was pushed. Between the horn and the flashing light, I managed to stop several vehicles in their tracks, who were starting to pull out in front of me.. :shock:

Other than that, I didn't use the modulator..
 
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Wow! This post really bothers me because I am quite torn. On one hand I am VERY concerned about people misinterpreting the modulator (although having seen some in traffic, you honestly would have to be "special" to believe that the mod flashing is the same as manually flashing someone to go ahead). On the other hand, it has been scientifically proven that flashing lights garner more attention than constant on lights, hence, all of our emergency vehicles employ flashing lights.

I think usually people are in one camp or another on modulators, you either love them and "believe" or you don't and you hate them. I am one of the rare people in the middle. As a scientist and engineer, having read everything I can acquire about visibility enhancement and accident risk predictors, I truly believe that mods get people's attention more than just a bright. I also believe that a flashing light makes it much easier to deduce velocity in an oncoming vehicle. Hence, I think it is fair to say that more people will know that you are present with a modulator than without. However, as a pragmatist, I also believe that compelling someone to turn in front of you is not good either. So which is worse, not having someone see you (or misread your speed as bright lights contribute to), or have them see you and think you are letting them go?

I really hope this new study that the NHTSA is doing on MC safety will address modulator effectiveness so we can have more than anticdotal evidence to base our decisions on. Until then I will continue to use mine judiciously.

Mc2guy

P.S. I ride in most traffic with my low beam and 2 55 watt Hella FF200 Amber fogs mounted on a Adventure moto light bar and a yellow helmet[/img]
 

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I have never had anyone misinterpret my modulator and find it hard to believe how someone could. A signal giving someone the right-of-way would be a couple of quick blips of the high beam, not a continuous cycle of 4 times per second.

I don't run the modulator all the time...just when I feel it is in my best interest, and will continue to do so.
 

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I just try and stay away from people in cages!!!!!! :wink: I don't like modulators, but to each their own!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Mc2guy said:
So which is worse, not having someone see you (or misread your speed as bright lights contribute to), or have them see you and think you are letting them go?
I'm sure you could argue both sides of that question. In the above-mentioned incident, I think if I had not been seen I'd have been better off because I had already slowed some in anticipation of the "left turn syndrome." What got me was when the truck continued to wait, I felt I had been seen and thus no longer expected to be cut off.

I am in complete agreement that flashing lights are more effective attention-getters than steady lights, and it also makes sense that the flashers would improve accurate speed perception. The problem is, what is that person in the cage going to do with the information he/she receives? Unfortunately, I don't think we ever know the answer until after the fact.

Tim
 

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I have my modulator on almost all the time. I've had 2 cages turn left in front of me. The first one was before I installed the modulator, the second time I forgot to turn it on again after being stuck in line waiting for a train.

I'm also in Detroit. We would NEVER give right of way to another vehicle!
 

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Hmm

Thats interesting, I dont have a modulated on the front but do have a hyper lite in the year, i just assume that ever car WILL turn infront of me, I dont trust anyone, even cops, as i had one pull out right in front of once, i exchanged some HEATED words with him, as he was on a cell phone, He said he didnt see me, and I said well I bet if you had a doller evertime you herd that excuse you would be drive a cop car would ya.
 

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Bunker,

Interesting commentary! I've often wondered if the flashing front light can be mistaken for a "go ahead" signal. Many years of driving have taught me to always signal trucks that there is adequate clearance to pull in by flashing my brights at them.

On the driving lights - or as I call them, "Conspicuity Lights" - I think you're really on to something there.

On my KLR650 I added a set of lights to brackets I fashioned to hang them on the fork pinch bolts. I put a spacer in there, just like KHI did to mount the brake line holder. I took the bike out for a ride and passsed my wife while enroute. After I parked the bike, my wife mentioned to me that she saw me out riding. The interesting point is I have passed my wife many times in the past and even waved to her, she has never noticed me before.

I had found a pair of 15 watt YELLOW beamed lights and used those on my KLR650. I'm already planning on putting a pair of similar lights on the V-Strom at my first opportunity! I like to be seen.
 

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Someone over at ADVRider said the words that I live by.

If you put yourself in a situation where somebody has to see you, you've already screwed the pooch.

They have to see you AND give a damn.....



Think about this. People run into fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, highway trucks, and TRAINS(!) all the time in America. All these cars have flashy graphics and lights that say "Don't hit me!" yet people still run into them everyday.

I ride like I'm invisible, and I trust noone....
 
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HiSPL said:
Someone over at ADVRider said the words that I live by.

If you put yourself in a situation where somebody has to see you, you've already screwed the pooch.

They have to see you AND give a damn.....



Think about this. People run into fire trucks, ambulances, police cars, highway trucks, and TRAINS(!) all the time in America. All these cars have flashy graphics and lights that say "Don't hit me!" yet people still run into them everyday.

I ride like I'm invisible, and I trust noone....
This is not meant to be a flame toward you at all, just a clarification. I hear you and appreciate the position, but I think you are missing the point of the modulator or any other thing that makes you more visible.

I DO ride like I am invisible, even with the lights and high vis gear. By making myself as conspicuous as possible, I am reducing the % of people who ACTUALLY don't see me. There are definitely people who wont see me still, and may turn into me no matter what I look like, but being visible reduces the number of cagers who honestly are not aware of your presence. some of them may even be honest to goodness decent attentive drivers whose brains simply did not process you visually.

While I still ride like I am invisible, I am doing what I can to mitigate the "risk" that another cage doesn't see me. Just because I want more people to see me doesn't mean I count on that or that I expect they will. It simply means I am doing my best to prevent a situation where I am at increased risk. It has nothing to do with "relying" on people seeing me.

Its just like wearing gear. I don't ride like I plan or expect to go down , but I take precautions to minimize the risk.

No disrespect intended to you or to others with that opinion, I just wanted to point out that I am not counting on others seeing me.

Ride Safe,
Mc2guy
 

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If I were a betting man.....the modulated headlight systems, for anyone outside of emergency vehicles, will be illegal in the near future!!!
 

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Mc2guy said:
I DO ride like I am invisible, even with the lights and high vis gear. By making myself as conspicuous as possible, I am reducing the % of people who ACTUALLY don't see me. There are definitely people who wont see me still, and may turn into me no matter what I look like, but being visible reduces the number of cagers who honestly are not aware of your presence. some of them may even be honest to goodness decent attentive drivers whose brains simply did not process you visually.

While I still ride like I am invisible, I am doing what I can to mitigate the "risk" that another cage doesn't see me. Just because I want more people to see me doesn't mean I count on that or that I expect they will. It simply means I am doing my best to prevent a situation where I am at increased risk. It has nothing to do with "relying" on people seeing me.

Its just like wearing gear. I don't ride like I plan or expect to go down , but I take precautions to minimize the risk.

No disrespect intended to you or to others with that opinion, I just wanted to point out that I am not counting on others seeing me.

Ride Safe,
Mc2guy
Very well stated. Bravo. :)
 

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Lately I have noticed a lot more bikes with lites mounted on the forks or low on the fairing. I have lites on the forks and think the bike is more noticable overall. I would like to see the Wee coming down the road towards me to really judge the effect if I could.
 

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water warrior said:
Lately I have noticed a lot more bikes with lites mounted on the forks or low on the fairing. I have lites on the forks and think the bike is more noticable overall. I would like to see the Wee coming down the road towards me to really judge the effect if I could.
If we connect when I'm out there I'll ride it at you so you can see.
 
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