eBent Recumbent Cycling

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Now these are Safety Lights, LivingDayLites

with 8 comments

Take a look at this day time safety light system for bicyclist, it makes sense. Steady bright yellow lights on the side of your bike that can be seen during the day. Actually the lights are yellow when seen from behind and white from the front.

This is the system required by law in most states for motorcycles and it really works. Motorcycles with running lights are much more visible. Check it out for yourself as you drive around. You will  still see some crazy Harley riders without lights. Compare their visibility with motorcycles with day lights. It works well enough that the system is on most new cars. Steady yellow lights are more effective than blinking lights that seem to confuse motorist. Placing the lights on the side of the bicycle helps drivers obey the new three foot minimum passing distance law in New Hampshire and a lot of other states.

Here’s a video that shows what they look like on a bicycle, Pedal to Power.

So far the implementation looks fairly crude and as far as I can tell they aren’t available, yet. However, there is a lot of talk about the on the Ryan Users Group website. The developer, Carl Schoolman, has a posting on Consider Biking, that says send him a note if you want to try them (use the link attached to his name to reach him). He also has a website (still under development) at LivingDayLites.

Here’s what Carl says about LivingDayLights on his site:

I’ve commuted daily by bike for 35 years, mainly in the NY snow belt.

After designing and testing bike safety systems for most of that time, I only recently discovered the benefits of putting lights on a milk crate behind the cyclist.

Until now, we haven’t had a way to greatly decrease bike crashes or greatly increase daily bike use. This is a significant opportunity to do both.

Why am I so sure that this makes bikers both safer and more comfortable?

Because the box uses the lighting principles, technology and equipment that proved most effective in research and use on motor vehicles. Moreover, experts expect them to be even more effective keeping cars from coming too close to bikes. [See experts’ analysis below.]

With my own BrightBike box, my neighborhood is totally-bikeable — from grocery shopping to valet bike parking at events. I have a bike shed, not a garage. The city has committed to becoming bike-friendly and designated my street to be its first Bike Boulevard….

Together, we can make your neighborhood bikeable, too….

Founded ConsumerXchange.org to provide personal consumer advocacy. (Limited-profit, consumer-funded.)

…………..Increasing Bike Conspicuity to Increase Cyclist Safety and Comfort

“Scary traffic” is overwhelmingly reported as the reason adult cyclists do not frequently bike on roads. “I’ve read…road biking safety tips…but still feel really awkward in traffic, mostly because I feel like cars don’t know what to do with me.”

Cyclists are uncomfortable in traffic because they accurately perceive that they are not safe. No matter what they do, some drivers don’t give them enough room, don’t see them at all or are impatient or worse.

The main reason bikes are not treated like motor vehicles in traffic is because they are not as conspicuous.

“One of the key factors in many motor vehicle crashes involving bicycles is the relatively low visibility or conspicuity of the bicyclist from the viewpoint of the motor vehicle’s driver. The bicyclist presents a much smaller profile than a motor vehicle from the front, rear and side, which makes it relatively difficult for a driver to detect, recognize, and assess its motion during day or night. Compared to a motor vehicle, a bicycle is relatively poorly lighted and poorly reflectorized, making it far more difficult for a motorist to recognize and avoid it at night than a motor vehicle. Adding to the problem is that drivers generally do not expect to encounter pedalcyclists, further reducing their conspicuity.” [1]

The BrightBike box effectively addresses all these risks: The box physically increases the width of the bike and makes it more conspicuous from all sides, day and night. It gives bikes better lighting than most motor vehicles. At night, the box illuminates the bike and cyclist. As more people bike on roads, drivers will expect to encounter them, increasing their conspicuity.

Experts have criticized the governments’ failure to address this problem and solution. In the United States, National Highway Traffic Safety Administraton and Consumer Product Safety Commission research “has generated significant controversy” because it “did not consider daytime conspicuity-enhancing approaches. A more thorough assessment of conspicuity enhancing approaches may be warranted by the apparently large causal role played by conspicuity in the bicycle/motor vehicle crash generation process.” [2]

Experts, without success, have sought funding for research on the effectiveness, use and acceptability of lights to increasebike conspicuity. [3]

A study of similar rear-facing running lights on mopeds demonstrated statistically-significant increased conspicuity, day and night. [4]

Daytime Running Lights on motor vehicles significantly reduce daytime fatal and non-fatal crashes. [5]

Most motorcycles are designed so that the headlight is on whenever the engine is on; twenty-four states require daytime motorcycle headlight use. [6]

Steady, not flashing, lights are universally required for motor vehicles, front and back. There must be two distinct lights marking the vehicle’s width, from both directions. They must be high. They must point directly ahead or behind. They must be bright, with minimal glare.

The BrightBike box transfers to bikes the lights that have been most effective on motor vehicles, day and night.

The surprise isn’t that they work well, but rather that they haven’t been used on bikes until now.

1) Bicyclist Conspicuity Issues and Topics for Future Research,” Mark Freedman / Westat in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration/Federal Highway Administration, Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Planning Research Workshops, Draft Final Report, Appendix D at 123 (2000.)

2) “Bicycle Countermeasures,” Richard D. Bomberg, Dunlap & Assoc.; preceding cite at 95.

3) “Research Needs,” Tamara Broyhill, Marietta Pearson, reporters; preceding cite at 24.

4) 1985; Personal communication with Mark Freedman, NHTSA contract researcher, 4/3/2008.

5) NHTSA Technical Report, 2004; DOT HS 809 760.

6) “Countermeasures That Work,” NHTSA 2006; DOT HS 809 980.

Patent Pending

Trademarks: BrightBike LivingDayLites

I like the concept and would add them to my slipstream now. They look big, bulky and expensive now, but that is a design challenge that doesn’t look very difficult to overcome.

I am looking forward to seeing them on most recumbents in a few years. They just make sense for most riders.


Written by Roland

September 1, 2008 at 5:51 am

8 Responses

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  1. […] Vu Hung: “One of the key factors in many motor vehicle crashes involving bicycles is the relatively low visibility or conspicuity of the bicyclist from the viewpoint of the motor vehicle’s driver. The bicyclist presents a much smaller profile … […]

  2. “I like the concept and would add them to my slipstream now. They look big, bulky and expensive now, but that is a design challenge that doesn’t look very difficult to overcome.

    “I like the concept and would add them to my slipstream now. They look big, bulky and expensive now, but that is a design challenge that doesn’t look very difficult to overcome.”

    Yes !

    Here are photos of the first [url=http://livingdaylites.com/tubes.htm]Slim and Metro versions

    And [url=http://livingdaylites.com/ryan.htm]on a recumbent
    [/url] (Ryan Vanguard).

    You (and others who want one now) can reach me at info@LivingDayLites.com….

    I’d welcome your help with the design challenge you described….

    This our best shot at making biking on roads comfortable for everyone….


    LivingDayLites LLC
    Patent Pending
    Trademark: LivingDayLites

    [Correct spelling: LivingDayLites http://www.LivingDayLites.com]


    September 4, 2008 at 2:07 pm

  3. Carl

    Looks like your comments got caught in the spam filter. They looked redundant so I just kept one copy. Thanks for adding additional information and correcting my spelling.

    I think the concept is great and the prototype looks very promising.

    I can’t tell for sure from the photos but I suspect that you are using incandescent lamps (I suspect other laamp technologies would be too hot) and that is why the battery is so big. I know that you have thought about LEDs and that white is probabaly not pratical in LEDs but couldn’t bright enough be obtained with other colors? I suspect LEDs might increase cost but they would be a nice reduction in size and weight.

    Best of luck and much success with LivingDayLites I think your concept has a lot of potential to improve bicycle safety.


    September 4, 2008 at 6:28 pm

  4. I’m sure LED’s will someday be practical, but for now they would increase the cost by well over a hundred dollars and increase the weight by more than the battery weight they would save.

    (For a bright, non-glaring surface big enough to be seen, you need lots of LED’s. And four sets for the two directions. And the set’s I’ve seen are for heavy-duty truck use. Let me know if there’s a better way.)

    Thanks for the keen analysis and encouragement….

    Here are links that should work better:


    Thanks for fixing the spelling. The last one is: Shoolman.

    I sent 3 copies because when I sent the first I couldn’t tell that it was received. (My screen kept the name data, cleared the message and didn’t acknowledge receipt.)

    Do you actually want to try it on your Slipstream?


    September 4, 2008 at 9:09 pm

  5. The idea look intriguing, so I started to puzzle out the components. Lots of manufacturers make dual faced “pedestal” or “lollipop” lights, but I could only find one that could source clear lenses: Signal-Stat.

    The bulbs used in these things typically have two filaments; I’m guessing you run both at the same time to boast the illumination. Typically this is a 1157 bulb, with the filaments running 27.3/8.4 watt (2.1/.6 AMP), so both of them together would be 35.7 watt/2.7 amp, and would give about 440 lumens. Per lamp. In typical high-end MTB LED light territory, although with pretty high current draw.

    The first hack to get the current draw down would be to replace the guts of the lamp with a 20-30W Halogen or Xenon bulb and suitable lamp holder. A 30W Halogen would give about 560 lumens, 20W 350 lumens.

    I may order some of the lamps (the NAPA part store in my neighborhood distributes Signal-Stat) and play with them a bit.

    Ryan Young

    April 28, 2009 at 3:24 am

  6. As you can see I think the concept makes a lot of sense and would be useful for a lot of riders. There isn’t anything on the market right now that is as useful.

    You are coming to grip with the issue. Conventional lamps use a lot of energy and that means a big battery. No one wants to ride around with a “Die Hard” on their rear rack. Bright LEDs make a lot of sense with the right reflector but they are still very expensive.

    Please keep trying and keep us up on how you are doing.


    April 28, 2009 at 9:26 am

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