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I used to think headlight modulators were a good thing...


DogGone

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I've been ambivalent towards headlight modulators until this morning. I thought they helped draw attention to the bike, which is always good. They just weren't my style.

 

This was one of those beautiful Florida mornings that make up for having mostly straight roads. I'd been neglecting the Cagiva and decided to give it a run.

 

Towards the end of the ride, I found myself at a 4-way stop out in the country. Across the intersection from me is a bloated pig of a Honda Gold Wing, (apologies, but you should have seen this thing) with dual hi-intensity headlights flashing like strobes.

 

Because of traffic, he and I had arrived at the intersection simultaneously. I pulled out to go straight through at the same time he pulled out. Except he was turning left. dopeslap.gif

 

The damned headlights completely distracted me from noticing his turn signal. eek.gif

 

I was sitting across from him for 10-15 seconds and never even noticed he had the signal on.

 

Be careful if you insist on using these things, they might do too good a job of attracting attention.

 

pete

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I've been ambivalent towards headlight modulators until this morning.
You make a good point. I use a modulator with the high beam and always switch it off in heavy traffic or when I am following fairly close, simply because it is too irritating to surrounding drivers.
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I had it on my 1150R but have not fitted it on this one yet as it may be too large and someone said they cause the Canbus to indicate a fault.

And yes turned off in heavy traffic and when follwing cars not to aggrevate them.

Good point though.

 

h

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Most headlight modulators (well, the good ones at least) cycle between approx. 20% and 80% of full brightness so they actually less bright than a constant beam while being more conspicuous. As to which is more bothersome to other drivers (a headlight on full bright 100% of the time or one that is modulated at a lower brightness), I suppose that would depend on the individual. In any event the line between being adequately conspicuous but never annoying is a very fine one indeed and if it comes down to being slightly on one side vs. the other I know where I want to be.

 

Still, an interesting point about modulators drawing so much attention that driver might overlook a turn signal... quite possible I suppose, and in a way a tribute to their effectiveness. Me, I don't take other driver's turn signals (or lack of them) too seriously and I would guess that experienced drivers assume the same of me.

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Most headlight modulators (well, the good ones at least) cycle between approx. 20% and 80% of full brightness so they actually less bright than a constant beam while being more conspicuous.
In my experience as a cage driver, it's the whacka-whacka-whacka that is disconcerting, and distracting, regardless of the brightness. I think drivers may see it as a "get out of my way" thing.
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I agree totally with the headlight mod group that find them annoying/distracting. They have been on occasion SO distracting that I have felt the need to hold up my left hand to shield my eyes from the opposite direction 'flasher' in traffic.

 

VERY ANNOYING crazy.gif.

 

Jim

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Pat_Da_Geeeze_Donahue

There's MUCH more than a remote chance he didn't turn the signal on until he started rolling. I see it all the time around DC. Turn signals don't go on until the vehicle is already part way through the turn. Can't really call 'em signals then. What would you say? Turn rememberers?

 

Pat

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Great point!

Related question, if the new GT is to come with the high intensity lights as stated will those lights be compatible w/o damage to bulbs and or warranty of the bike? confused.gif I am still confused as to weather the lights will even be on US models but BMW Blue & White lights will be a nice touch on the ones that do have it. thumbsup.gif

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I have had a '94 1200 sportster (in addition to my '98 R1100RT which I only have had since last summer) for about 4 years now. I was only on my 2nd ride on the sporty when a teenage girl in an Eclipse yakking on a cell phone almost took me out permananently. Thats when I started looking in safety lighting products. I ended up putting on a Signal Dynamics headlight modulator and a back-off rear brake light modulator which flashes the rear brake lights 3 times. I live in a city in SW Florida where it is extremely dangerous to ride. Until you get out in the lesser-populated towns and counties, driving in the city is an action-packed experience. The main drags are like race tracks- young people speeding and constant lane-changing in their imports, old folks pulling out in front of you, (3 ladies killed just this week- 1 lost control and crossed into other lane, 2 others pulled out in front of a dump truck and a big suv), plus contractors & service people racing around to get their work done. I am a firm believer in the headlight modulator and will continue to run one. It captures people's attention so that they are more likely to see you. Plus, at night it has saved me a few times when people were ready to pull out in front of me at the last instant. You hit the horn at night, and it strobes the headlight quickly for a couple of seconds. Bikers get killed around this neck of the woods regularly and the standard response is always " I didn't see him, officer." So, then they plead guilty to failure to yield or some other stupid damn charge and get a $100 fine for taking the life of a father, brother, husband, etc. Of course, women get taken out too, now as they are 10% of all bike riders. While modulators may be annoying to some, I believe that their safety benefits outweigh everything else.

[/code]

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Global_Rider
The damned headlights completely distracted me from noticing his turn signal.

 

I was sitting across from him for 10-15 seconds and never even noticed he had the signal on.

 

Not just headlights, but bright driving lights make noticing turn signals even tougher due to their proximity to the turn signals.

 

I noticed that last summer when my friend was running with his Hella FF50s on during the day. I could not make out his flashing turn signals and neither could any oncoming car. I now run with ny high beam on and save my Hella FF50s for when I really need them.

 

As for modulating headlights drawing attention, they may do that, but the most important factor is the judgement used by the person that noticed your modulating headlights in the first place.

 

I'd sooner use and always have used what is "between the ears".

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[slight hijack]

someone said they cause the Canbus to indicate a fault.
Not true. I have one on my R1200GS, works fine, no faults.

 

[/slight hijack]

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Around these parts (mid-Atlantic America) a flash of the hi beam means 'go ahead, I will yield'. It applies at stop signs, turning lanes, most driveways, intersections, parking lots, changing lanes. Several flashes mean move over and let me by.

 

I have always feared that a headlight modulator would be mistaken for this signal. Never yet seen such a report.

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I have always feared that a headlight modulator would be mistaken for this signal. Never yet seen such a report.
That's probably because headlight modulators flash at a twice-per-second rate... not likely that anyone is going to confuse that with a manual headlight flash signal.
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The fact still remains that the modulator commands the attention of other vehicles on the road. Ask anyone who has one. You shouldn't confuse this with the fact that someone can be blinded by other lights or that they may become confused themselves and not know how to continue. In most cases it has been my experience that if they are stopped they wait until the situation clarifies itself. The flashing light draws attention to it self and most people are more likely to see the turn signal mentioned. You don't stop using an effective safety tool just because someone fails to see a turn signal which might have been missed if the light had been on normally.

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I don't really know what the guy had on this thing. They certainly weren't flashing 4x per sec. More like 2x at the most. When I was coming up to the intersection I thought it was an emergency vehicle and was surprised people weren't pulling over. The woman in front of me actually DID slow way down and start to slide over to the shoulder.

 

Part of the problem was the layout of the lights. The GW has two headlights outboard and the turn signals moulded into the mirrors. This meant the headlights were only a short distance from the turn signals. And he had obviously replaced the bulbs with some ultra-hi intensity ones.

 

Funny, when we talk about target fixation, we don't often think about it from a cager's point of view. They must be susceptable as well.

 

pete

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Shortly after purchasing my 04 1150RT I added a modulator after I had several "almost pullouts" by cars that didn't see my dark blue bike. Since I put the modulator on, there have been many double takes by drivers and I believe more than once the modulator prevented me having to take drastic evasive action.

The bonus is there have been a few times I've been mistaken for a state patrol bike (same color in adjoining state of Oregon)and afforded an open lane of traffic! cool.gif

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