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(Rick Sheeley GWRRA)
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659 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Given the growing amount of conflicting data being learned about Emergency Responder/Law Enforcement deaths and warning lights.

There seems to be a good amount of that is contradictory to the accepted knowledge for lights and how we respond to them.

Here's one link on the subject:

Emergency Vehicle Warning Lighting Systems from Crash Data

I've also attached two PDF's on the subject....

We have alot of riding experience in thia forum, looking forward to the discussion.
 

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Oh - THAT guy...
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3,275 Posts
Blinking lights do tend to attract drunks- they focus on them and it is not good.
I find the headlight flashers VERY annoying.
 

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239 Posts
I have had annoying people pull over when i had the headlight modulator on my ST1100.
In some instances they help. BUT it is NEVER 100% safe or not safe. It may help you not get rear ended or people pulling out in front of you..I have the wig wag on my Wing.
 

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Premium Member
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I have a wig wag on the rear end and it sure gets the attention of other driver because freinds and even car driver stop me and ask if it ok and normal that my brake lights a flashing like a school bus.....;)
 

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Just Winging It
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3,327 Posts
My wig wager (installed by the PO) stopped wig waging and I had no break lights at all. I took it and the head light flasher that didn't work either both off and threw them away.

As for safety I think some good bright fog lights that light up more of the road are a must with the deer here in Tennessee. As for cars I try and stay out of their way.
 

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It aint rocket science
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Like most things over the years the conventional wisdom is more or bigger is better and this goes for emergency lights on official vehicles as well even our traffic control signals which some are so bright during nighttime hours they wreck your night vision. You also need look no further than some of the high end passenger vehicles with their self adjusting HID lights behind you dancing up and down in your rear view mirror causing a nuisance distraction for the lead vehicle.

Whelen Engineering for their strobe lights always had a Hi-Lo power function in their power supplies which were for nighttime and daytime use. It was often never activated by the installer due to the number of switches being limited in most installs and when they were the operators always ran them full power anyways.:banana:

Approaching some accident scenes at night I am often blinded by the emergency lights and am unsure of what is exactly in front of me and I do not consider myself old yet which is when it gets worse for the elderly drivers.

Light Pollution is what it comes down to and is across the board.
 

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771 Posts
Trains have a wig- wag headlight, red flashing lights at crossing and people hit them every day.
 

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If people cant see a train, they sure aren't going to see a bike. But with that said, I cant wait to get a modulator back on my bike.
I had one on my Intruder I had right before my GW, as well as Kisan Techs tail blazer I believe it was called - brake light modulator.
Speaking solely from my own experience with and without them, I truly do believe they saved my life more than once. People see them. I had many times I could watch someone and just about tell you the point they saw it, and followed immediately by them slowing down, jerking their head back to attention, or something similar.
Nothing is fool proof. And we all know there is enough fools out their to prove that point!
I for one think they are good insurance.
 

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Have to admit when following some of them it can be annoying, wait a minute ! guess that means I noticed them so guess they work!
 

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I have the headlight modulator and think it is well worth the cost. Since I installed it a year ago I have only had one person pull out in front of me. She was busy on the phone an never looked my direction. You still have to watch out for every vehicle but it is evident that the modulating light catches people's attention. Some times you will see when a driver ahead of you notices you and they will slow down to the speed limit and have even had a few pull over to let you by. I am fine with them slowing down to the speed limit but sometimes I do get embarrassed when they pull over to the side of the road but it is not my fault that they don't notice that there aren't any red and blue flashing lights signaling that they need to pull over. I have had a few signal me or pull up beside me to tell me that there was a problem with my headlight. I just thank them and tell them that is is working as it should and that it is to catch people's eye when they aren't paying attention. I just added a brake light flasher two weeks ago and so far the comments from friends have been positive but I still watch my tail.
 

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Mile high on a Gold Wing
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41 Posts
The study that talks about Emergency lighting is not new this comes up every few years, when I was in EMS in the 80's the same study's were going on. It is a fact that it is best when you roll up on a accident if your not part of traffic control (First or last in line) you should turn your lights too your four way flashers because overheads are to distracting.
The NFPA has found that more often then not people respond or wake up because of the flashing lights on a fire alarm system and some people will sleep through the noise made by that system. You will see soon strobe lights as part of home fire alarm systems for that reason.
My vote is yes to a flashing break light and no to a flashing head light. Someone had posted a great article with a perspective view of how small items disappear (people motorcycles) from view at deferent angles as you are moving into an intersection or driving down the road. Always remind yourself to be aware that you are easily not seen and try to avoid the unavoidable.
 

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Vintage Rider
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2,410 Posts
I have headlight and brake light modulators on my Vulcan 750, and they make a noticeable difference, for the better. About half the Goldwings around here seem to have them. I would have them on all 6 of my bikes if I could afford it. 4 way flashers can be a big help as well. My Vulcan 750 has them, the switch for them broke on my Goldwing, and I have rewired the turn signals on a couple of my scooters to make them work as 4 way flashers. They are legal to use here up to 30 mph. I have also rewired the cornering lights on my LTD to function as full time running lights.
 

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I'm in fire trucks with lots of emergency lights and siren going and have noticed myself that it's the lights that seem to grab peoples attention before they here the siren ..we also have the modulating front headlights on our newest fire truck and stopped using it when it seemed to confuse people coming at us

I do have the brake dancer on my wing that I think graps peoples attention and 2 chrome helmet holders on the back that just dangle there that is quite noticeable also
 

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Premium Member
1985 GL1200 A
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953 Posts
I'm a newbie, only riding motorcycles for 40+ years.

You can have every light imaginable, paint your bike and yourself day-
glow orange, have the loudest pipes ever heard, and a horn from the Titanic.

And, there is only one thing that will make a REAL difference: Your own sober judgement.

Ride as though they're all TRYING to kill you and they won't succeed!
 

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Senior Member
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650 Posts
i have the tailblazer on my 2012 not sure if it gets noticed anymore then the regular light but i do notice once the car behind me see's it for the first time they tend to stay back further.
 

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Vintage Rider
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2,410 Posts
I'm a newbie, only riding motorcycles for 40+ years.

You can have every light imaginable, paint your bike and yourself day-
glow orange, have the loudest pipes ever heard, and a horn from the Titanic.

And, there is only one thing that will make a REAL difference: Your own sober judgement.

Ride as though they're all TRYING to kill you and they won't succeed!
I ABSOLUTELY agree with that. IMO it goes without saying. Everybody out there in a car/truck IS trying to kill you, even if they are not aware of it. You are completely surrounded by the enemy when you are on a bike. You have to be aware of everything, look for possible problems, and have a solution already worked out if/before they happen, if you intend to last very long.

But, I'll take all the help I can get, and I have noticed that cagers tend to turn or pull out in front of me quite a bit less with the headlight modulator. And around here, riding in stop and go rush hour traffic, you are just as likely to be hit from behind when traffic comes to a stop, and the cell phone operator behind the wheel of the vehicle behind you does not notice in time. That's where the brake light modulator and hazard flashers come in handy. Certainly no guarantee, but they do seem to help some, and some just might be all you need at any particular time.
 

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Just Winging It
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3,327 Posts
And, there is only one thing that will make a REAL difference: Your own sober judgement.

Ride as though they're all TRYING to kill you and they won't succeed!
I agree. I've had cars pull out in front of me, change lanes to push me off the road, and try to rear end me all in a 2 mile stretch of road with a 45 mile speed limit all in the same day. I was beginning to feel invisible. Got to watch those cars.
 

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Still a winger at heart.
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20,868 Posts
my concern with a hl mod is that it makes people pull over in dangerous places... with Moby being a white bike, cagers confuse it with a cop... I have had people pull to the inside and stop only to realize that its a civie bike... I turn it off in certain situations...

just use it wisely.
 

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Premium Member
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The human eye notices movement quicker than a stationary object. Modulators simulate movement to the eye.

The problem with modulators for the headlight is the frequency of modulation that closely resembles emergency vehicles. I have an early Signal Dynamics that allows me to switch between the slower legal rate and a much faster rate which actually is illegal. However, I've never been pulled over using it in the faster mode and people notice it but don't pull over. I do believe it gets me noticed as I've had several incidents with people starting to pull out then stop when they see me.
I also have a brake light modulator that flashes 5 times then solid on and continues this until I release the brakes. I believe this helps cagers notice it and helps the cager that the brakes are applied. It works well especially if the cager wasn't looking at you when you first apply the brake and doesn't realize the change in brightness.
I won't ride without them. Oh, and 2 sets of LOUD air horns and driving lights help a lot too.
Hobie
 

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I have noticed that since I put a Wig Wag on the brake lights, cars stay further behind me at stop signs and lights..
I like it because I can give anyone 5 quick flashes that seem to be coming up fast when I'm stopped.....
Did does get their attention..........
 
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