Lighting the Way- A Life Saver

Posted on January 4, 2011 with 0 Comments

When it comes to your safety on the roadways, one of the best tools at your disposal is something I call “sensory display” or “the peacock effect”

Lighting, both day and night can be one of the more useful tools in your bag of tricks designed to get other driver’s attention . Statistical data shows that most car verses bike collisions occur because the driver of the car, never saw the bike that they collided with.

The most deadly of collisions between bikes and cars, occur when the car is making a left hand turn in front of an oncoming bike.

The good news is that your brightest lighting is pointed in that direction! Many State’s require late model motorcycles to drive headlights on all the time, day or night. In fact this law is so ubiquitous that bikes start coming without a headlight “on/off” switch long ago. At Maxair we ride with high beams on during the day to increase this degree of safety. You can also increase the wattage of the bulb -but be careful here because I have melted a headlight plug and fuse relay doing this in the past. Better to wire a fused heavy gauge feed directly from the battery with a switch relay, if you are going to increase your headlights wattage significantly.

Another option is a headlight modulator but they are not legal in all States. This automatically pulses your light higher & lower during the daytime but with a light sensor reverting back to non-modulated mode at night. Unfortunately my personal feeling is that they do not do much. That said, a lot of people swear by them and there is some statistical data to support this….I doubt it can hurt.

Driving lights, in my opinion are one of the best options available for front lighting. Aside from doubling or tripling the amount of light you are projecting, they also scream ” I’m a bike” at distance, instead of perhaps a car missing a headlight. I strongly recommend running a separate power circuit with a relay for these too set up so you can run them with both high and low beams. If your charging system will support it (and most modern bikes will) high beams and driving lights on make a powerful and dominating life saving presence during the day while at night the additional light will be a welcome change. In some places Johnny law might hassle you so always have the “oops I must have switched to high beam by accident ” excuse ready and act surprised.

Ok now for the rear of your vehicle. Here I recommend converting to LEDs lights whenever possible. This will take some pressure off your electrical system and brighten things up at the same time. LEDs are purported to last the lifetime of the vehicle. The next thing I strongly recommend is one of the many modules on the market that convert your directionals to running lights and additional brake lights. They still function as directionals but are a blast of extra light when you stomp on the brake. I also advise the type of module that flashes all the rear lights in fast succession for a few cycles during breaking. A real attention grabber! I routinely sit at stop lights activating this flashing light show by releasing and engage my brake until all vehicles behind me has stopped.

As for the side of your bike there are not a ton of options. There are some directionals out there like mine, that show light on the side of the directional to let someone in your blind spot know you are turning. These really only work at night. During the day hand signals are recommended along with directionals,

The marketplace also has produced some new innovations with the advent of the LEDs allowing for extended small battery life i.e. AA AAA and so on. One such device attaches to your helmet and senses that you have applied your brake lighting up to create an eye level auxiliary brake light. Fantastic idea and well worth looking into. You can never have too much light in my opinion.

Finally I’ll mention carrying a Tactical flashlight esp. at night. Get a bright one with a strobe function. This is one of the best devices you can have should you need to make an emergency stop on the side of the road day or night. Here is one such story from my blog http://www.maxairengineering.com/blog/?p=60  I set mine on the white line facing rearward but in front of my bike so mine don’t forget it. Also check out the tactical lights at our friends at www.TacticalResponse.com tell them Maxair sent you.

Max

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