I hate to repeat myself, but bright lights are for safety. With a few days of riding on my new dynamo light, I now have another anecdote to share. Yesterday, while riding down Mass Ave north of Porter Square, I was about 30 feet behind and to the right of a car. As they prepared to turn and, presumably checked their mirror, I had something that rarely happens, and almost never at night and from that distance (about 45 feet behind their mirror): they stopped and let me pass. In fact, on more than one occasion on that ride did I have vehicles stop and let me turn rather than cutting me off, but this was the most memorable.

Following up on yesterday’s post, I had another close call, this time from a car running the light. In close proximity to my previous anecdote, I started to ride when the light turned green. However, a car going in the other direction had sneaked through the intersection on a dying dedicated turn phase (or something like that). Luckily, he saw me and stopped. In addition, another kind biker called my attention. (The driver then proceeded to honk at either the other biker or a crossing pedestrian.)

Finally, I thought I would add a little spice with a picture of my commuter bike from yesterday.

My commuter bike

I pack the full complement of equipment: two racks (Cetma 3-rail half rack up front for big cargo, Toba rear rack for panniers, both purchased from Hub Bicycle Company), Planet bike Cascade fenders, dynamo hub and Blaze 1-watt, Kryptonite lock bracket, water bottle holder, and even a cycle computer (I mount it under my seat so I don't check it compulsively). With this set up, including lock, it weighs in at 40 lbs. Camera phone apparently only makes blurry pictures...


Temperature: 41, but feels like 50 🙂

Road condition: Basically dry

Clothing: Rain shell jacket, timberland shoes, cotton Pearl Izumi gloves, Timberland shoes. It’s so lovely outside today! I meant to wear the bike shoes for some variety, but forgot.

Comfort: Lighter clothing and still cool weather means you can ride harder, but managed to stay mostly cool.

7 Responses to “Bright Lights Mean Safety; Cool and Dry”

  1. William Says:

    I was going to rag on the Blaze 1-Watt as not actually a bright light, but then I found out that the dynamo Blaze is twice as bright as the battery-powered Blaze 1-Watt (which I have). 150 lumens rather than 76 lumens.

    I’ve been considering a NiteRider MiNewt 600, which is *600* lumens. Of course that only goes an hour and a half on the rechargable battery, but my commute is just under an hour. That also seems like it might be a little too bright. Also it’s pretty expensive at $120. More than twice as much as the Blaze 2W.

    Planet bike also has the Alias HID and Blaze 2W (146 lumens).

  2. Weather Guy Says:

    Although some commentators out there say that a 6W (dynamo) output is needed to effectively “be seen” in the city, it seems like outmoded thinking given how bright LEDs are these days. 600 lumens, however, would appear to be epic overkill: more suited to “seeing” the road or (more likely) trail rather than “being seen” on the road.

    So the question is, what’s the application for that light?

    I’ve been working on a 400 lumen dynamo light at home, which would be comparable, at least in intensity, to some very high end retail dynamo lights.

  3. William Says:

    I read some more about it, and most reviewers use the NiteRider on a much lower setting than 600 lumens. I think that’s really more for a pitch black mountain bike trail on the new moon with clouds or something.

    Then again, for comparison, car headlights are about *1700* lumens.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, the magnic light is hella cool. Contactless dynamo light using “eddy currents” induced in metal rims: http://www.magniclight.com/magniclight/index.php/en/startseite/8-magnic-light-homepage-english

  4. Weather Guy Says:

    Car headlights also have a much more intense beam: while bike light standards are for 4 candela, car standards are for 300,000 candela. Somehow I think a decimal point got moed in this comparison, but regardless: cars are casting WAY more illumination.

    I did see the magnic light: that IS a really cool concept. It will be interesting to see what the actual specs are on it for power and intensity.

  5. Weather Guy Says:

    Turns out we have this whole ecosystem of bike blogs (Boston Biker I think they call it?) and someone else also wrote about the Niterider 600 lumens. Pretty solid review – glad someone else agrees with me on the huge safety improvement of a REALLY BRIGHT LIGHT.


  6. Weather Out There » Blog Archive » Monthly Recap: February 2012 Says:

    […] got all my tutoring out this month. I had disparate posts on the importance of bright lights, avoiding dooring (when generated some strong testimony in the comments), […]

  7. William Says:

    Thanks for the link! I don’t often click away from the front page, but I have been enjoying your posts lately. I should explore the recently updated blogroll more often.

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