Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

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Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Nate » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:33 pm

Been thinking about this one for a while...

previously its been difficult to put lighting on bikes, but now with lightweight batteries (Li-on) and high output LEDs with VERY low power consumption, its looking more & more feasible.
I've seen a guy with blinkers mounted on his shifters at the front & it worked a treat..

So being an electronics geek & also now with my mounting experience, i'm wondering if there's a market/use for these things.
You get some super high brightness flashing LEDs, 2 x AA batteries, high value capacitor, some small switches for the tubes & away you go.
Mount the micro-switches on the bars - one quick press charges the capacitor & gives you 5-10 "flashes" of light.

Thoughts/comments/would you use them?
Prefer brake lights?
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by BNA » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:51 pm

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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby high_tea » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:51 pm

I'd use them but I druther they ran off a dynohub than batteries. I realize this might be too small a niche...
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby aaron » Wed Sep 22, 2010 2:57 pm

flashing gloves would be handy. If you could incorporate a lighting system into a glove...I'd use it
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Boognoss » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:00 pm

You know me Nate, and if it's flashy or techy I'll find somewhere to mount it on my commuter :D.

Colour me interested in the concept.


aaron wrote:flashing gloves would be handy. If you could incorporate a lighting system into a glove...I'd use it

I saw exactly this type of invention on ABC's New Inventors in 2009 (I think - maybe 2008). It wasn't a glove, but flashing lights on a wrist band that activated when the arm was held out to the side. Only a single light so you had to pick if it's front or rear-facing.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Nate » Wed Sep 22, 2010 3:58 pm

aaron wrote:flashing gloves would be handy. If you could incorporate a lighting system into a glove...I'd use it


not really practical.
to get the intensity of light - LEDs have a narrow viewing angle, so unless your glove was in the exact place - its useless.
if you use a non directional LED, then its scattering the light everywhere & the intensity & visibility are really low.

It would have to be frame mounted to achieve the efficiency/usefulness result IMHO.

Looks like i'll be hacking something up in the next few weeks
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby jacks1071 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:05 pm

Nate wrote:Been thinking about this one for a while...

previously its been difficult to put lighting on bikes, but now with lightweight batteries (Li-on) and high output LEDs with VERY low power consumption, its looking more & more feasible.
I've seen a guy with blinkers mounted on his shifters at the front & it worked a treat..

So being an electronics geek & also now with my mounting experience, i'm wondering if there's a market/use for these things.
You get some super high brightness flashing LEDs, 2 x AA batteries, high value capacitor, some small switches for the tubes & away you go.
Mount the micro-switches on the bars - one quick press charges the capacitor & gives you 5-10 "flashes" of light.

Thoughts/comments/would you use them?
Prefer brake lights?


If you look up the ABC Inventors - there was a guy a while ago who made these hand flashers - they slip on and when your hand is verticle (making a hand-signal) they turn on. When your hands are at any other angle they are off. Seemed like a cool idea if you're into that sort of thing.

Fitting flashers to the actual bike I think would be a waste of effort - you'll need too much spacing to make them effective - the hand signal would be the go.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby zero » Wed Sep 22, 2010 4:21 pm

Motorcycle blinkers aren't far apart - and motorists have no trouble telling which side of a single headlight that the blinkers are on. On older bikes they are often on short stalks attached to the headlight unit, which makes them very close together. Bear in mind the push-to-clear system that motorcycles use, and think about having an annoyance light to remind you they are on. A mate of mine was killed several years ago on a motorcycle, and failing to clear his blinker was a probable cause for the accident as the car turned across his path in a 70 zone.

You can probably get a push-to-clear switch for peanuts from a motorcycle wrecker.

Otherwise I am positive on the idea, as once you have ayups or brighter, motorists cannot see your arms properly when viewing you from the front, and that can cause fail-to-give-ways on roundabouts at night.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby aaron » Wed Sep 22, 2010 5:08 pm

Nate surely this has been explored 1000 times before don't you think?
Bikes have been around for a while.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby il padrone » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:05 pm

Already on the market - Safe-Turn bicycle indicator

$25 at Borsari Cycles.

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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:41 pm

I'm a bit meh on the concept...

Don't like the wristband from a practicality perspective, it's one more bit of kit to remember then find and put on.

As to the fixed units, great on the commuter but not real euro cool on the flash roadie. Chances are if a few commuters were to take the idea up, compulsion for all will follow, only slightly in the vanguard of draconian penalties, no doubt policed and enforced by a "dob in a hoon cyclist" scheme.
...whatever the road rules, self-preservation is the absolute priority for a cyclist when mixing it with motorised traffic.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby toolonglegs » Wed Sep 22, 2010 7:53 pm

My arms are free...easy to move and do the job just fine.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby wombatK » Wed Sep 22, 2010 8:12 pm

As il padrone and simon point out, there are various solutions around, but none of them have gained any traction.

There's two things that I'd need convincing about before it would gain traction with me...

1) If you put something like this on your bike, then I suspect the Australian Road Rules compels you to use them for all turns and lane changes. Without them, you are compelled to signal right turns only. Will it improve your safety enough to overcome the risk that failure to use a blinker in some (new) circumstances - eg because you were too busy controlling your bike on a dodgy road surface - will weaken your position in others. Left turns particularly often have road potholes, cracks and drain grates etc.,. that demand more of your attention.

2) How will it fit on the bike ? And will it be protected from damage when bike is leant up against posts, wheels removed, bike laid in car etc.,. Not much room left either on my handlebars or seat posts on my bike. Think it would need to be something that had a robust mount to the forks and chainstay, and was wirelessly connected to control buttons - with the latter maybe positioned somewhere in reach of thumbs when near hoods (but others who spend more time on drops will want something different !). And it would need to be self-cancelling after you'd completed the turn/maneouvre.

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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby }SkOrPn--7 » Wed Sep 22, 2010 11:23 pm

toolonglegs wrote:My arms are free...easy to move and do the job just fine.


I'm with legs on this so sorry Nate not for me.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby il padrone » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:21 am

wombatK wrote:1) If you put something like this on your bike, then I suspect the Australian Road Rules compels you to use them for all turns and lane changes. Without them, you are compelled to signal right turns only.

Nothing in the road rules about bicycle indicators, only that we must indicate right turns. Lots of bikes have cycle computers these days, but that doesn't mean they are legally compulsory now.

wombatK wrote:2) How will it fit on the bike ? And will it be protected from damage when bike is leant up against posts, wheels removed, bike laid in car etc

I must admit this is the great virtue of the Safe-Turn, it doesn't stay on the bike. Don't know whether I'd ever get one, but it's the best option from my point of view. Currently I'm very contented with my arm functioning (now that the dislocated shoulder is welll on the way to mended :oops: )
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby human909 » Thu Sep 23, 2010 12:40 am

Why is there a constant need to equip cyclists to be more like cars?

No I don't indicators, I don't need more equipment and half the time I don't even need special clothes!

Amsterdam cycling FTW!
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Thu Sep 23, 2010 1:27 am

I've read somewhere that in Australia we have to wear helmets. :lol: As such, a helmet mounted LED panel might be a good idea. It only needs to be visible for a few car lengths behind you. Switching it would be a bit tricky, but surely a simple wireless system is feasible. Microswitches that could be attached to brake levers (i.e. the main body of the lever unit as opposed to the actual lever) would mean it can be adapted to flat or drop bars and activated with a thumb press. Blinking LED in each switch so you know it is on. Transmitter for the helmet panel attached under the stem. Panel battery velcro'd to the top of the helmet. LED panel could either be one panel at the back of the helmet or two smaller panels mounted on each side at the rear.


--------------**---------**
-----------**----------------**
------**--------------------------**
#**-----------------------------------**#
------**-------------------------**
-----------**----------------**
--------------**---------**

Hashes are steady 0.5 W lights (only one on at a time), asterisks are lower power blinking leds maybe blinking in a trailing pattern from center to outside and from top/bottom to center (if you know what I mean).

I'd try it out.

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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby wombatK » Thu Sep 23, 2010 7:24 am

il padrone wrote:
wombatK wrote:1) If you put something like this on your bike, then I suspect the Australian Road Rules compels you to use them for all turns and lane changes. Without them, you are compelled to signal right turns only.

Nothing in the road rules about bicycle indicators, only that we must indicate right turns.

Search for "direction indicator". A bicycle is a vehicle unless excluded in particular rules.

There are rules like 46 Giving a left change of direction signal that specifically have this exclusion:
(5) This rule does not apply to a driver if the driver’s vehicle is not fitted with direction indicator lights.

So once you fit them, you are obliged to use them. Similarly for lane change, and roundabouts rules.

BigFriendlyVegans suggestion of helmet fitting would be okay for flat-bar riders, but if you are on the drops on a road bike, there's not much of your helmet visible from the rear (nor the front, which points to the ground). Nor as you look around, as you should be when approaching an intersection. Think it would need to be on the bike, and preferably built into the frame for protection.

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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Nate » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:07 pm

human909 wrote:Why is there a constant need to equip cyclists to be more like cars?


dumb people expect nothing other than cars on the road - they're the ones you need to watch out for.

As for positioning - well how do you fit your current rear light without it interferring with being leant against stuff or put in a car?
I've got a few ideas for that - basically it can fold up/down so its inline with the seatpost when not used etc.

Its gotta be part of the bike - nothing wireless or you have to put on etc, just another PITA & clutter to remember & put on etc
Wireless = $$$ + power drain

Not claiming its a complete solution or good for everyone, but on my commute's its damn handy to have a turn signal when your hands are needed on the brakes!
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby simonn » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:41 pm

il padrone wrote:Image


Is it just me or does the perspective on the above picture look as if the driver is just about to take out the cyclist?

As for the idea, I'm a bit meh as well. Just another unnecessary thing to break. Hold out your hand, if you can't you are probably going to fast. If it is a dangerous junction to turn right on, consider using a hook turn etc etc.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby toolonglegs » Thu Sep 23, 2010 4:50 pm

simonn wrote:
il padrone wrote:Image


Is it just me or does the perspective on the above picture look as if the driver is just about to take out the cyclist?

As for the idea, I'm a bit meh as well. Just another unnecessary thing to break. Hold out your hand, if you can't you are probably going to fast. If it is a dangerous junction to turn right on, consider using a hook turn etc etc.


Very bad photoshop.

What happens with those things if your scratch you head,get into the drops or grab a drink bottle?.
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby Ross » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:01 pm

Maybe you could get lights like these and fit it with amber LEDS.

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Catey ... 360045558/

The front ones could be mounted either on the handlebars or the forks and the rear mounted on the upper rear frame triangle (dunno proper name for this :oops: ).
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby lethoso » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:33 pm

yeah sure blinkers would go nicely with my spd sandals, helmet mirror, recumbent bicycle and giant beard :lol:
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby brauluver » Sat Sep 25, 2010 8:42 pm

NO
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby fatherofmany » Sat Sep 25, 2010 9:24 pm

Maybe Nate, but they would have to turn off automatically, its a pita remembering to turn them off on the motorbike, I don't want that hassle on the pushie. Not sure on how to mount the front, mind you if you've got this bright flashing LED on your bars I think you'd remember to turn them off.

Switches -
Shimano stuff has a spot under the hoods where you could mount a microswitch, but it would get in the way if you used a flight deck (I do) so maybe a microswitch on the front of the hoods so you could hit them with your forefingers?

Rear Lights -
Something small mounted on the rear stays might work, single LED say, similar to Image

or something like this seat mounted light with the middle LED flashing red, the next outer LEDs solid red and the outside 2 as yellow flashing LEDs
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Re: Blinkers for Bikes - would you use them?

Postby clarinetcola » Sat Sep 25, 2010 10:35 pm

aaron wrote:flashing gloves would be handy. If you could incorporate a lighting system into a glove...I'd use it

well the technology is certainly available.There's people making light emitting fabrics and such. I believe in 30 or 40 years flashing gloves certainly is a possibility, not weird LED dork style, considering 30 years ago there was no led flash blink lithium lightweight mass produce bike specific thing available.
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