The case for flashing headlights and tail/brake lights - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-11-2004, 11:41 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 23
The case for flashing headlights and tail/brake lights

Greetings to all,

Now that I am back into riding (14 years off), I am looking into improving my safety on my 650 V-Strom. It's the safety of being seen. I have looked at the flashing headlights mod, the flashing brakelights mod, extra running and extra brake lights. There is simply a dazzling number of options and choices out there. All to increase the odds of being seen instead of being plowed into.

The one assumption here is that the standard 60WX2 headlights are not enough to be seen by day. The same assumption is that those 2 running lights/brake lights on my Strom are not enough. Yet, I think you'd have to be blind not to see my headlights in most any condition. My tail lights are way brighter than a single tail light in a car or truck. Same for the brake lights.

My question to all of you is this. Is there any data saying that a standard modern motorcyle (on par with the Strom's) cannot be safely seen on the road? Do we know if you need all the extra's or are they mosty "warm & fuzzys"? How many accidents would have been prevented with the extra's but not with the standard excellent lighting on the Strom?

I am not making a case here. I really do not know. However, my previous 85,000 miles on bikes and my 1.5 million miles of driving professionally, do not make me think all those extras are such a big key to safety.

I would appreciate your thoughts and any data you have.

Thanks.............. Bill

ps :wink: ...... but I strongly believe in loud air horns for those who do not bother to look!
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-12-2004, 02:47 AM
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A driver has a finite amount of brain power. When portions of that finite supply are channeled into a phone conversation, applying makeup, inserting a CD, daydreaming, unwrapping a candy bar, whatever - they are not all that focused on driving. Take a good look next time you are out on the road. An extremely high percentage of driver's are talking on a cell phone. As driver's these people are impaired - the majority of their focus is not channeled into their driving. Then you have the DUIs out there - alcohol, drugs, medication. There is an excellent chance that a driver won't see you due to impairment of one type or another. Heck, they crash into other SUVs - doesn't have to be something as small as a motorcycle. :shock:

It is probably a good idea to do what you can to improve your visibility. Headlight modulators, extra of flashing brake lights, additional side reflective material, reflective vests, riding with high beams on during the day - all that could help. But I wouldn't totally rely on any of it.

The most important thing is to ride like your are invisible. Assume that car next to you is going to change lanes and hit you. Don't hang out alongside a truck or car on the freeway if you can avoid it. Assume that the car stopped at a stop sign is going to pull out into your path. Cover your brakes and think out an avoidance route as you approach. Watch your mirrors when you are stopped at a light. Leave yourself an escape route if the car behind you doesn't stop and have your bike in gear - not in neutral. These tactics are way more important than anything you can wear or bolt onto your bike.
post #3 of 15 Old 12-12-2004, 01:32 PM
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I agree with Paul! You have to watchout for yourself more than hoping your headlights and tail lights are bright enough, not that modulators and led's aren't a good addition. I would recomend reading "Proficiant Motorcycling" and "More Proficiant Motorcycling". There are alot of statistics and techniques for street riding in them. They will dramatically help your riding if you practice what you read.

I am tempted to buy the "HYPER BRIGHT" led's for the tail light. I like the idea of a flashing/swirling BRIGHT brake light. :wink:

Good luck and Ride safe!
post #4 of 15 Old 12-12-2004, 09:05 PM
Der Strom
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Instead of installing a modulator onto the headlights, why not modulate it yourself? Use the headlight pass switch on the left handlebar, and flash your lights at intersections and whenever you want to attract attention. Try to "engage" the tin box drivers.... make eye contact.... and flash your lights at em.

post #5 of 15 Old 12-14-2004, 02:02 PM
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^^^ Good idea. But watch out for the people who think that you are letting them out infront of you. I have had that happen...only once though.
post #6 of 15 Old 12-14-2004, 10:56 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 23
Thanks guys,

I really do appreciate your imput. I will also look to get the book proficient motorcycling.

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post #7 of 15 Old 12-18-2004, 06:57 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Saskatoon, Canada
Posts: 192
Nobody's mentioned it yet, but if you are coming back after awhile, take the Motorcycle Safety Foundation course. Later, you can take their Experienced Rider course. It will be the single best thing you ever do for your safety.

The single best skill you can develop is emergency braking. Always, always use your front brake, every time you stop. That way it becomes a reflex reaction to use it, because you don't have time to think in an emergency braking situation. And at least once a month, when on some deserted stretch of road with nobody behind you, practice some hard emergency braking several times. Learn how to brake as hard as possible without actually locking up the tires.

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post #8 of 15 Old 12-19-2004, 04:17 PM Founder
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Location: Clay City, Indiana
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IMHO I woud like to see the headlight modulators outlawed. I recently had a gold wing behind me (while in my rover) with the modulator flashing. It was hypnotic and I kept getting a strobe affect from my rear view mirror. As a safety professional, I strongly feel they they have the potential to cause more harm than good, although I do not know of anything that has been studied to prove their functionability either way.

I like the idea of enhanced brake lights. The manual flipping of the high beam is good for passing, but that's about it. Like the fithcircle said, it just screams "pull out in front of me".


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post #9 of 15 Old 12-19-2004, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Hey Bob or anyone else who wants to answer,

It has been suggested I take the motorycle saftey course. about 18 years ago I signed up to take the advanced course but they accidently put me into the beginners class. I did not stay but it appeared to me that the beginners course is starts with, "this is a handlebar and your right hand goes here...". My son took the course this summer and they never got out of the parking lot. I was impressed with how little they taught. The topic of countersteering never even came up.

In any case, I do not see the benefit of taking the beginning motorcycle saftey course.. unless I am missing something. Still in all, if the advanced course is truly an advanced course, I will take that.

Yes, I have been practicing emergency stops and a lot of other things to make me a better rider. I have over 1100 miles on the bike in 17 days so things are getting smoother and better.

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post #10 of 15 Old 01-02-2005, 07:41 PM
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most car drivers dont pay attention to motorcycles, the flashers and enhancers might increase visability; but the problem is in drivers heads. motocycles just dont register! you said you are a pro driver just remember most people are not. i ride like i am invisible!
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