Night Visibility - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 1:48 pm Thread Starter
 
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Question Night Visibility

What are your thoughts and/or concerns about being visible to drivers on the road at night, especially people coming up behind you? It just doesn't seem that night visibility is getting much attention from manufacturers. I would appreciate your feedback.
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post #2 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 2:08 pm
 
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There is always a concern for visibility...and the more the better. Having just attended the motorcycle show in San Jose, I was amazed at how many manufacturers provide such a limited amount of lighting. Be thankful you ride a LT.
Part of my projects list include additional lighting. LED's in the rear and sidelights so I am more visible. The reflective strips on clothing are a great asset as well.
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post #3 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 2:38 pm Thread Starter
 
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Arrow Night Visibility

One of the issues California Highway Patrol raises is that we make a small night "target" and while people see us, they don't allow for the same space or distance. They say its called "driver's block" where we become "invisible" compared to cars or we don't register with them until they come very close.
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post #4 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 2:41 pm
 
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Always ride like you are invisible.
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post #5 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 2:44 pm
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I was going to install and test the Hella rear fog lights before I sold my LT and bought another bike. I think they would make a great addition.

There are obviously other products can be added done. Hyperlites, Signal Dynamics, Kisan Tech products, reflective tape, and LED lights among others.



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post #6 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 2:56 pm Thread Starter
 
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Arrow Night Visibility

In Southern California where the average freeway speed can be 80mph in the city, drivers enjoy coming right up behind you BEFORE they slow down. We need a way to visually discourage that --- get their attention; interrupt their cell call or their zone out daze; to say, "Hey. I'm here too." Funny how these same drivers won't zoom up on big trucks or cars that same way --- someone may be liable to slam on their brakes and they be eating bumper for dinner.
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post #7 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 5:12 pm
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David,
There is much discussion reagarding a term known as "conspicuity" or if you prefer, "visibility".

Manufacturers build machines to meet DOT requirements. These are fairly straightforward.. Cottage industries spring up fulfilling the "individual" desires for modification. Major manufacturers are also somewhat involved... There are as many ideas of what "works" as there are people.

Studies (i.e.; Hurt Study (I think)) have shown, by creating a "triangle" of lights in the front makes our machines stand out, to be "conspicuous". BMW's done that, somewhat beginning with the 05 K1200LT.

Adding "MotoLights" mounted down on the calipers expands the size of the "triangle of light". Also, adding the PIAA lights under the cowl adds to your visibility by increasing the "triangle".. as well as being able to see!

Light colored clothing is best.. unless you live where it snows all the time!

With the reduced cost, low power consumption, low heat, functionality in hostile environment and choice of colors, LED's are becoming popular. The "limitations" being angle of and output (lumens/candlepower).

Another option is "reflective" products. These, too, are numerous and of personal choice in their application and use.

We've all heard "loud pipes save lives"... but they are very annoying.

So much of this is a matter of personal choice. Of course, that's the first thing you must overcome to ride in the first place. What "works" on the vehicle... what makes someone comfortable they've done all they can to be "visible", can be any number and combination of lights, colors and application of technology.

The best thing tomake you conspicuous is your brain.

...............
J.M.J...
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post #8 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 5:23 pm
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Reflective Tape

Search around for some reflective tape which blends in well with the color of you bike.
Put some on the back of your top case, side cases, and helmet. 3M has several colors which are highly reflective. Some vendors even sell KLT specific sizes and shapes of reflective tape I think.
Add a brake light enhancement. The flashing LEDs are the best attention getters in my opinion.
HTH
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post #9 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 5:28 pm
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Others have mentioned extra lighting and reflective tape on the bike and clothing. I add this to the mix.

Cheers.

On His Ride,
Steve
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post #10 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 7:57 pm
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I've noticed it's often not question of illumiation, reflection or even rearward facing lights. It's that driving RECOGNIZING you're a bike. They see 'a red' spot from distance, they can think it's a car with a busted tail light and totally mis-judge the distance to you. Just one of severl possible scenarios.

It's almost as if we need some kind of special color light, reflective pattern - something - that can be universaly recognized as "Motorcycle Ahead" from further back.

Be careful what you do - I've seen some vehicles, bikes inclueded, that had so mch ge-haa and goo-ga on 'em you coldn't tell what the fsck it was until you were on top of it.

One reason why I'm such an enthusiast for yellow running lights on the FRONT of bikes. Not just 'be seen', but Be Recognized.

Tate

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post #11 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 8:52 pm Thread Starter
 
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Arrow Night Visibility

Your point is an important one; people see something but aren't sure what. And since what they DO see is so small ... it doesn't trigger the same level of response cars do. Increasing our visual print could be a crucial safety enhancement.
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post #12 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 9:05 pm
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Seems to me the LT has quite a bit of rear visibility, especially with the lighted trunk rack. I am not sure, other than perhaps a school bus flashing strobe, anything would make it any more visible altho' lighting parts manufacturers can suggest e a number of ways to do this. If there is a problem I think motorcycles just don't fit the normal 'rear profile' of an automobile and as such may not be noticed as readily. Alternating red and blue strobes would indeed help quite a bit.

John
Jacksonville, FL (USA)
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post #13 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 10:20 pm
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Color Blindness

I'm "color deficient" for Red and Green. yup.. it makes a difference.

...............
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post #14 of 24 Old Dec 25th, 2005, 11:13 pm
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Solas tape lights up my night.



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post #15 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 1:48 am
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post #16 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 3:33 am
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The rear fog light is there already...

Quote:
Originally Posted by RaffyK
I was going to install and test the Hella rear fog lights before I sold my LT and bought another bike. I think they would make a great addition.

There are obviously other products can be added done. Hyperlites, Signal Dynamics, Kisan Tech products, reflective tape, and LED lights among others.
I have converted the center light bulb into a rear fog light. It is already a dual filament bulb but the brighter filament is unused from the factory. Some people have converted that as third brake light, I chose the fog light route as we sometimes hit pretty funny weather over here. Switch for the fog light is one of the six on the modified Phoenix switch assembly. Here is that story:
http://www.bmwlt.net/ubbthreads/show...e=&view=&sb=&o=

Regards

Ari "the Farkle-Freak-Finn" Ignatius

Hyvinkää, Finland
2004 ('05) LT, Dark Graphite, "Sunset Cruiser II"

Bike trip from Finland to USA:

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post #17 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 10:23 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big_E
Always ride like you are invisible.
A-freakin-men

Follow your front wheel...
Steve S.

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post #18 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 1:00 pm
 
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A great question...!

I am paranoid about rear vision and getting hit from behind. I have added almost every conceivable light to the rear of every bike that I have owned. I just picked up my LT a couple of weeks ago and the first thing I did was get it into the shop for some more lighting.
I made sure the LT I bought had a tail rack with a light. Then I added a Signal Dynamics license plate bracket with running, stop, and turn signals on it after putting reflective tape over the rear panel. Then I added hyper lights to the rear tail rack and added the Kisan Vectra lighting (which provides sequential turn signals, add'l brake lights and front view running lights) to the bottom of the mirrors.
I am awaiting delivery of the xenon conversion kit and motolights for the front lighting. Ride Safe, Ron
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post #19 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 1:39 pm
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One of the biggest problems: I don't care how much light (legal) that you have on the rear, if it's coming down frog stranglers, you can't be seen.



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post #20 of 24 Old Dec 26th, 2005, 1:51 pm
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THE most important equipment on big list...

I bought Raffy's '04 LT just recently. There are 35 farkles installed by him. From electronics to comfort to lighting to sound to appearance.The lighting is really the most important to me. I have been caught out at night in the foothills twice this last week. No more am I nervous or feel out of control. With Raffy's HID package and rear allerts, I don't feel out of my game as much. Still I'm invisible to cager's. Just two days ago a pickup truck went through the red light going about 70 when I'm already about 1/3 through. I really think that he saw me first and just gunned it to get out of my way. If he had slowed down, I might have hit him. I was not concentrating as much as I should have been. There was a guy in his cage next to me(front) at this stoplight asking me all kinds of questions about my LT*. Lot's of traffic behind us. When light turned green, I just took off and before I knew it the pickup was just there in front of me, with very little time to grab and step. So I just kept going and shaking my head and then a quarter mile up, another suv popped right out in front of me requiring me to grab my brakes again. Then along side me came the driver of the cage. I remember that he has a Road King at home he never rides because of a bad back(I found out all this at the long stoplight.) He rolled his window down and just said, "Your invisible man." I looked down and noticed that the Amber Motolights were turned off. No more problems that day.

*More people are asking me questions now that I'm riding my new Night Black. Previous LT's were Champagne and Pacific Blue. I'm not sure this is a good thing.

Roger
BMW R1100RT '00
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post #21 of 24 Old Dec 27th, 2005, 10:12 am
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Quote:
I have added almost every conceivable light to the rear of every bike that I have owned.
Pictures, I want pictures. I have seen the hyperlites so I want to see what they look like on the rack.
Could you post a few?

"BONES" <///><
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post #22 of 24 Old Dec 27th, 2005, 11:01 am
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Quote:
I have lights all over the DragonFly as well as Diamond Grade Reflective Tape
WOW!!! The tape is really bright. I bet it looks cool when someone is behind you. Is it hard to apply?

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post #23 of 24 Old Dec 28th, 2005, 12:31 pm
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Here is a few picture on my RT and what you can do with the black reflective stuff.
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John & Cathy
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post #24 of 24 Old Dec 28th, 2005, 8:33 pm
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Smile Believe it or not

Do you think the negative rating I got wouldn't have happened if I had linked to this instead of link in my previous post?? I thought the thread was about night visibility.

On His Ride,
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