Headlight modulators - change of opinion - Stromtrooper Forum : Suzuki V-Strom Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 12:15 PM Thread Starter
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Headlight modulators - change of opinion

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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post #2 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 01:01 PM
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Re: Headlight modulators - change of opinion

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunker
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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post #3 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 01:26 PM
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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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post #4 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 01:36 PM
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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.

-dennis
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post #5 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 01:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MonkeyGrass
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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post #6 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 02:05 PM
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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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post #7 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 02:47 PM
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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]
post #8 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 03:41 PM
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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.

- Gary

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post #9 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 06:41 PM
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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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post #10 of 30 Old 06-29-2006, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mc2guy
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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