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Thread: Pulsing headlights?

  1. #31
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    Any device / accessory is not relied on for safety, but simply added to my toolbox of options and behavior to be safe - SEE (Search, Evaluate, Execute) - a constant process!
    I only ask the question because I find that I tend to fixate on modulating headlamps to the exclusion of other things going on around me and have to forcefully pull my attention elsewhere. So I don't like them because there is a danger to me!

    But that's my problem and I recognize it as being my problem. It does leave me wondering, though, if others have the same issue. I can imagine an inattentive driver fixating on the blinking lights, forcing the rider to take action to avoid a situation that might not exist without the blinking lights.

    That's just idle thought on my part. I won't use them, but don't mind if others do unless they are behind me on a group ride in which case they will either turn them off or lead instead of follow. I have pulled over and waited until a fellow rider made up his mind which he was going to do.

  2. #32
    Registered User donbmw's Avatar
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    No amount of lights flashing or just on is going to help be seen when that on idiot on the phone behind a car stopping and final see it and you are next to them as they come into your lane to pass that stopping car. You lay on the horn and they just look at you. This happen to me today. They pass me latter and still talking on the phone. We come to a stop light and I am next to them she still did not see me come up next to her still on the phone the hole time. I honk the horn she looks with a blank stare.

  3. #33
    Kbiker BCKRider's Avatar
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    Boy, am I glad I started this thread! Lots of thoughtful comments pro and con.

    I don't think there is any doubt that pulsing headlights get attention, despite a lack of definitive scientific studies. The real questions are whether they may cause "target fixation" to the point that SOME oncoming motorists don't pay attention to other important matters and whether they are another reason for motorists to hate riders.

    Greenwald asserts that they don't, and I'm inclined to agree with him for 4-wheelers. They think "motorcycle" and move on. Riders are either intrigued or annoyed and have to get out of that mind-set, move their vision, to see what they need to see as another poster said.

    Both Greenwald and Loch Miwa make the point that there are situations where they turn the pulser off because it is not useful or indeed would be annoying. They seem to make a point I really like: there is a balance between being safe and being a visual nuisance. I would like them to elaborate on when they do and do not use their pulsing headlights. I'd also like to know how they remember to turn them on and off!

    Another poster suggested running your low beams but hitting the bottom of the button several times when you think somebody may do something unfriendly. Seems like a great idea for those of us who don't want pulsing headlights. And maybe move to the right side of the lane before doing it, if you think somebody might try to pass where they shouldn't.

    And, of course, as so many have said, no amount of "visibility stuff" reduces the odds of some inattentive driver snuffing you out to zero. But all of it improves our odds and reduces the number of times we have to take emergency action. We have to be aware and ready, but we are also humans too, occasionally prone to error. If we can reduce the number of times we are threatened, without ever thinking any gizmo makes us bullet proof, I think that is good.
    Doug
    1992 K100RS

  4. #34
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Ain't nothing in this world that is 100% effective all the time in every situation. If your criteria for use of something is that it work 100% of the time, you should stay in bed as you will forever be disappointed.

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  5. #35
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    I HATE modulators

    I find them to be extremely annoying!!! Almost to the point of wanting to run them off of the road. I think that flashing lights should only be for emergency vehicles... with the exception of brake lites.

    But i do wear HI VIZ riding gear, and ride like i am invisible.
    Somers, NY

    Just enjoying the ride.......

  6. #36
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marchyman View Post
    I only ask the question because I find that I tend to fixate on modulating headlamps to the exclusion of other things going on around me and have to forcefully pull my attention elsewhere. So I don't like them because there is a danger to me!

    But that's my problem and I recognize it as being my problem. It does leave me wondering, though, if others have the same issue. I can imagine an inattentive driver fixating on the blinking lights, forcing the rider to take action to avoid a situation that might not exist without the blinking lights.

    That's just idle thought on my part. I won't use them, but don't mind if others do unless they are behind me on a group ride in which case they will either turn them off or lead instead of follow. I have pulled over and waited until a fellow rider made up his mind which he was going to do.
    I won't dispute that your scenario of another rider fixating on the approach of a modulating biker is possible.

    It's just that in my five years experience with modulator use, haven't perceived that to have occurred.

    Enjoy whatever your ride!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  7. #37
    Registered User greenwald's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCKRIDER View Post
    Boy, am I glad I started this thread! Lots of thoughtful comments pro and con.

    I don't think there is any doubt that pulsing headlights get attention, despite a lack of definitive scientific studies. The real questions are whether they may cause "target fixation" to the point that SOME oncoming motorists don't pay attention to other important matters and whether they are another reason for motorists to hate riders.

    Greenwald asserts that they don't, and I'm inclined to agree with him for 4-wheelers. They think "motorcycle" and move on. Riders are either intrigued or annoyed and have to get out of that mind-set, move their vision, to see what they need to see as another poster said.

    Both Greenwald and Loch Miwa make the point that there are situations where they turn the pulser off because it is not useful or indeed would be annoying. They seem to make a point I really like: there is a balance between being safe and being a visual nuisance. I would like them to elaborate on when they do and do not use their pulsing headlights. I'd also like to know how they remember to turn them on and off!

    Another poster suggested running your low beams but hitting the bottom of the button several times when you think somebody may do something unfriendly. Seems like a great idea for those of us who don't want pulsing headlights. And maybe move to the right side of the lane before doing it, if you think somebody might try to pass where they shouldn't.

    And, of course, as so many have said, no amount of "visibility stuff" reduces the odds of some inattentive driver snuffing you out to zero. But all of it improves our odds and reduces the number of times we have to take emergency action. We have to be aware and ready, but we are also humans too, occasionally prone to error. If we can reduce the number of times we are threatened, without ever thinking any gizmo makes us bullet proof, I think that is good.
    As for the specific questions from this poster about "when I use a modulator and when not," and "how do I remember to turn them off," let me make a few comments.

    I make use of modulating headlights (actually it's only the high-beam bulb on an R1200RT that flashes) in heavy, multi-lane traffic, where my little bike can easily become 'lost' in all the rushing around and jockeying for lane positions. Seems to work well getting people's attention away from their cell phones, shavers, I-pods, snack wrap, Cliff Notes, pet-grooming, etc.

    If I get bogged down in 'bumper-to-bumper' mode, I shut it off - what's the sense of flashing if I'm but 10 feet from the cager ahead of me?! And of course, once traffic thins out enough, I revert back to traditional illumination - a subjective call on my part.

    Hard and fast rule: I never use it if not the lead bike in a group of bikers - never blind the rider ahead of you.

    I will also use it from now on in fog (learned how well they worked this past week observing them in the Smoky Mountains during thick, early morning mist) and if/when I think a motorist directly ahead of me is clueless as to my presence. It is a real attention-getter.

    My Kisan was wired up to my high-beam switch when it was installed at my BMW dealer, so when they're activated, so is the blue light on my dash (high-beam indicator). Kind of hard to forget I have them on, so remembering to turn them off - not a problem. When I shut off the bike, it automatically defaults back to low-beams.

    Hope this addressed some of your curiousity. Again, for me, they represent a solid advantage in certain riding scenarios, and I will always have one on whatever bike I ride.

    Ride Safe!
    Kevin Greenwald - Touring Tips Editor
    Nationally Certified Law Enforcement Motor Officer (Ret.) / IBA Member #34281
    MSF RiderCoach # 121656 (BRC,SBRC,IS,IME,SMARTrainer)
    Motorcycle/Driving Instructor - ROAD AMERICA Race Track

  8. #38
    Cam Killer marchyman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    I won't dispute that your scenario of another rider fixating on the approach of a modulating biker is possible.

    It's just that in my five years experience with modulator use, haven't perceived that to have occurred.

  9. #39
    Registered User MOTOR31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greenwald View Post
    I won't dispute that your scenario of another rider fixating on the approach of a modulating biker is possible.

    It's just that in my five years experience with modulator use, haven't perceived that to have occurred.

    Enjoy whatever your ride!
    Neither has it been in my experience from the work bikes (about 1991 when the department installed them on the KZ1000P) to today in multiple states on my civilian bike.

    I have also seen flashing lights (on the roof albeit) of school busses here in Louisiana and no one seems to be veering into them either.
    DEFINITION OF A VETERAN A Veteran - whether active duty, retired, national guard or reserve - is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a check made payable to "The United States of America", for an amount of "up to and including my life."
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  10. #40
    Registered User richardak's Avatar
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    I've been giving this gadget some thought as I see bikes with them all the time and they really are much more visible to oncoming traffic. The Motolite approach may help other motorists gauge distance and approach speed but the modulating headlight helps get their attention in the first place. Much more so than any other method. One other option is the blinking leds that attach to the fork that some vendor had at the last MOA rally. I don't remember the vendor, but they only seemed to flash when they were in your peripheral vision. Since just about all of my riding is in daylight (dark means cold, ice and snow). I guess I never found modulating headlights even the least bit annoying unless it was someone behind me in traffic.
    1983 R100RT hacked w/Cozy Rocket My blog
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  11. #41
    Seattle-area Rounder OfficerImpersonator's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdpc2 View Post
    I find them to be extremely annoying!!! Almost to the point of wanting to run them off of the road. I think that flashing lights should only be for emergency vehicles... with the exception of brake lites.

    But i do wear HI VIZ riding gear, and ride like i am invisible.
    I've never had the opportunity to discuss my modulating headlight with an annoyed motorist because I've never encountered a motorist who was annoyed with my modulated headlight.

    However I have had my spiel ready for several years now.

    Emergency vehicles ONLY display flashing blue and/or red lights. No emergency vehicles display flashing white lights only. Law enforcement emergency lights are a combination of blue and white, blue and red, or blue, red and white. Fire/ambulance/medic units use a combination of red and white flashing lights.

    Again, no emergency vehicles in North America have white flashing lights only, so there is NO excuse for confusing a motorcycle with a modulating headlight for an emergency vehicle. Don't blame me for other motorists not knowing the rules of the road.
    Seattle, WA
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    2002 R1150RT-P
    1992 K75S sold

  12. #42
    "Running Out The Clock" grafikfeat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sdpc2 View Post
    I find them to be extremely annoying!!! Almost to the point of wanting to run them off of the road. I think that flashing lights should only be for emergency vehicles... with the exception of brake lites.

    But i do wear HI VIZ riding gear, and ride like i am invisible.
    I've been paying attention to motorcyclists out here in WA State.
    Mostly as to what did I 'notice' about them. Where did my 'eye' land first.

    It's always the headlight.

    In an approaching motorcycle too much of the 'hi-viz' is obscured by:
    A. The fairing/windscreen, B. The brightness of the headlight.
    I'd argue in favor for the rear view but many riders have seat backs/trunks that also obscure.

    I ride a real dangerous road every day. I've had people pull over thinking I was a LEO. I've had people flip me off in their mirrors and I've had people flash back at me up until they passed me going the other direction.
    Good.
    They saw me.
    I'm not out there riding to make friends. I'm out there riding because I enjoy the hell out of it and as a fully licensed driver/rider I make myself seen in a legal and responsible manner.
    If I thought for one moment you were trying to run me off the road...
    I'd yank you out of your car or off your motorcycle and beat you like an egg.
    End of story.
    "Stupidity, if left untreated, is self-correcting."

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