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Old 2004-01-06, 09:44 PM   #1
Amos_And_Ego
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Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

My 28" Sun is seeing more duty as a practical mode of transportation nowadays, so I decided to make it safe for street riding at night.

In the local bike store, I found some flashing plastic pedals made by Fun Source LLC (they're not listed at their web site www.funsourcellc.com). They generate energy as the pedal turns in the crank and lights up 3 red LEDs in each pedal reflector. The pedals come with a thin wrench because they don't allow enough clearance to use a normal wrench to attach them to the cranks. I cracked their cheapo wrench when putting on the pedals, so I hope that they won't ever need tightening. These pedals are thicker next to the crank (to accomodate the internal twisted wires that create the magnetic fields that turn into electricity when rotated). I don't even notice the extra thickness of the pedal when riding, but I'm not sure if the LED's are bright enough to make me any safer at night. Also the LED's only light up when pedaling so they are useless when sitting at an intersection, waiting for the light to turn. Given that I only paid $13 US for them, I can't complain.

Has anyone tried out these LED pedals? How will they hold up to the abuse of drops, unexpected dismounts, and all the things associated with normal street riding?

Also, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for mounting front headlights to unicycle frames. I can only find front headlights that are designed to be mounted horizontally on top of handle bars. Are there any headlights that can be mounted vertically to a seat post like most red back lights?

--Amos
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Old 2004-01-06, 10:07 PM   #2
Mikefule
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The flashing pedals sound fun, but I'm not convinced they are legal or (more importantly) safe.

Legality will depend on where you are.

Safety: I count myself as a very very cycle-friendly driver. I've been a bicyclist and tandemist, a motorcyclist and a scooterist, used to being on 2 wheels in all weathers, all year round, for as long as I can remember. Against this background, I have had one or two incidents on fast dark roads where I have had difficulty judging the distance to a cyclist with very bright reflective pedals, or reflective bands on his/her ankles. Flashing front and back lights can also be a problem.

Add to this a driver who is either disinterested in cyclists, or actively hostile, and I wonder whether the flashing pedals might do more harm than good. I'm not saying I'm right, and I fully expect others to disagree with me, but please consider the point carefully.

On to the more prosaic matters. On my road uni (28) I have an LED front light and an LED rear light. The red rear LED is easily attached just below the seat with a standard fitting. Because your legs project generally forwards throughout most of the pedal stroke, the rear light is never obscured by your legs as you pedal.

The front light is more of a problem. I managed to find a cheap (5 GBP) white LED light which has a clamp which fits around the seat tube (NOT seat post) at a local general sports store (Decathlon). I mounted it as low as possible on the seat tube, immediately above the fork crown, and I think it is clearly visible from in front for most of the pedal stroke. However, it isn't perfect.

Then I use a lightweight LED head torch with a choice of 1 or 3 LEDs. The elasticated band fits neatly round my helmet. I have stuck some Velcro discs on the helmet (the hooky Velcro, not the softer loopy part) and the hooks are just enough to grip the elasticated band to stop the torch pinging off and flying over the nearest hedge. I use the head torch on really dark stretches of road, or where I feel that an oncoming road user needs additional warning.

I NEVER use any of my LEDs on flashing mode. As a car driver, I find it irritating and disorientating. In local (UK law) most of these lights are not legal (not up to British Standard), although they are tolerated if they are not flashing.

Also, consider wearing retroreflective clothing, such as a safety waistcoat or tabard, Sam Browne belt, etc.

As a motorist, I reckon to see an unlit cyclist from 200 or more metres away, but that's because I'm looking for them. The lights and reflective gear are not so much to make you visible as to make you noticeable, and to consolidate your 'right' to be where you are. As a unicyclist, this is doubly important. Look like a cyclist, be treated like one; look like a clown, be treated like one.

So many motorists say, "I never saw you." They'd have seen a naked member of their preferred sex from twice as far away. It's not seeing that's the problem, it's noticing.
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Last edited by Mikefule; 2004-01-06 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 2004-01-06, 10:11 PM   #3
Sofa
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red flashing LED's are dirt cheap and even the cheapest ones can be seen from 100+ meters away.

$5

I wouldn't bother getting them for pedals as i wear my camelback all the time and it clips to it magically.

Had I no way to secure a light to myself, i would consider getting pedal versions, knowing the abuse that pedals take, they would probably not last too long.

I can't see any police arresting you for having your lights on the pedals instead of on something else, they would be as equally vidible to rear-coming traffic
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Old 2004-01-06, 11:20 PM   #4
onewheeldave
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Re: Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

Quote:

Also, I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for mounting front headlights to unicycle frames. I can only find front headlights that are designed to be mounted horizontally on top of handle bars. Are there any headlights that can be mounted vertically to a seat post like most red back lights?

--Amos [/B]
For a front light I use a cavers head lamp fixed to the frame and cheap red LED back light.

Cos the back light was a cheap one the plastic fitting thing soon broke so I started to use rubber bands, I now also use them to attach the head lamp to the frame.

They work really well, the elasticity is good for UPD's.

I use about ten bands for each light so I can be confident that breakages won't be a problem.

Method of attachment is to center the light on the frame, the bands go round the end of the light, then behind the frame and are secured round the other end of the light.
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Old 2004-01-07, 06:53 AM   #5
Klaas Bil
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Re: Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

On Tue, 6 Jan 2004 15:44:42 -0600, Amos_And_Ego
<Amos_And_Ego@NoEmail.Message.Poster.at.Unicyclist.com> wrote:

>Has anyone tried out these LED pedals?


I bought metal (not plastic) flashing LED pedals in a sale a few
months ago, but haven't come round to mounting them. I would think
that they have mainly a novelty value, as opposed to being safety
devices. The good thing is that you never need batteries.

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict
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You have to keep in mind that those of us who post on RSU are not normal. - John Childs

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Old 2004-01-07, 11:05 AM   #6
joemarshall
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mikefule
I NEVER use any of my LEDs on flashing mode. As a car driver, I find it irritating and disorientating. In local (UK law) most of these lights are not legal (not up to British Standard), although they are tolerated if they are not flashing.
They are legal if not flashing now. My rear LED is British Standard.

They're also legal under the equivalent standard in various European countries, which apparently thanks to the EU means you can ride with them anyway (because you can ride a UK road legal vehicle anywhere in the EU, and vice versa).

Joe
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Old 2004-01-07, 01:10 PM   #7
treepotato
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i'm getting a little L.E.D light that fits on my tyre valuve and when you pedal fast it turns on and looks like your whole wheel is lit up!
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Old 2004-01-07, 06:53 PM   #8
Danny Colyer
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Re: Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

Mikefule wrote:
> The flashing pedals sound fun, but I'm not convinced they are legal or
> (more importantly) safe.
>
> Legality will depend on where you are.


In the UK they would fall foul of the Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations
on 2 or 3 counts (depending on whether there are flashing red lights on
the front):
http://www.hmso.gov.uk/si/si1989/Uksi_19891796_en_1.htm

"11.—(1) No vehicle shall be fitted with a lamp which is capable of
showing a red light to the front, except .... "
(you might get away with this by calling it a side marker lamp)

"12. -1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), no person shall use, or
cause or permit to be used, on a road any vehicle to which .... there is
fitted a lamp ... which is capable of being moved by swivelling,
deflecting or otherwise while the vehicle is in motion."

"13.—(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), no vehicle shall be fitted
with a lamp which automatically emits a flashing light."

> I NEVER use any of my LEDs on flashing mode. As a car driver, I find
> it irritating and disorientating. In local (UK law) most of these
> lights are not legal (not up to British Standard), although they are
> tolerated if they are not flashing.


They don't have to be up to British Standard. The regs specify that you
must have one front and one rear light which meet BS or some other
equivalent national standard. As long as you've got that, then you can
have supplementary lights that don't have to conform to any standards.
Obviously it's still illegal for them to flash, but the regulations are
currently under review with a view to making it legal for cyclists to
use a flashing rear light as long as it is used alongside a steady
light:
http://chapmancentral.demon.co.uk/We.../Road_Vehicle_
Lighting_Regulations?OpenDocument

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Old 2004-01-07, 09:23 PM   #9
Richard Loxley
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Re: Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

Danny Colyer wrote:
>
> > I NEVER use any of my LEDs on flashing mode. As a car driver, I find
> > it irritating and disorientating.

>
> They don't have to be up to British Standard. The regs specify that you
> must have one front and one rear light which meet BS or some other
> equivalent national standard. As long as you've got that, then you can
> have supplementary lights that don't have to conform to any standards.
> Obviously it's still illegal for them to flash, but the regulations are
> currently under review with a view to making it legal for cyclists to
> use a flashing rear light as long as it is used alongside a steady
> light


As a driver I find flashing bike lights draw my attention quicker and
identify the vehicle as a bike. Although I agree that without a steady
light as well it can be a bit difficult to focus on the bike.

As a cyclist I try to keep as close to UK law as possible, whilst still
staying alive. I use a steady BS standard rear LED light, plus an
illegal flashing light (about 25% of brightness of the main one) mounted
on my pannier bag. I reckon the flashing will identify myself as a
cyclist, but it's not so bright as to detract from the main light.
Once the law changes, I think I should be legal (at least at the rear).

At the front I have an illegal halogen light. In fact the bike shop
I bought it from (well regarded as a good shop) didn't have *any* legal
front lights, because they were all far brighter than the BS standard
allows. Well my light is a small fraction of the power of car lamps,
so I'm not too bothered.

I also have a flashing yellow/green front lamp, which I attach to
my sam brown belt at the front. Not sure if this is legal or not,
because it's attached to me rather than the bike. But I don't care,
nor do I care about the fact I look like a right turnip with all
this stuff around me, if it saves my life one day.

- Richard
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Old 2004-01-07, 09:48 PM   #10
Danny Colyer
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Re: Flashing LED pedals and mounting head lights

Richard Loxley wrote:
> At the front I have an illegal halogen light. In fact the bike shop
> I bought it from (well regarded as a good shop) didn't have *any*
> legal front lights, because they were all far brighter than the BS
> standard allows. Well my light is a small fraction of the power of
> car lamps, so I'm not too bothered.


It would be legal if it was used in conjunction with a BS lamp. It may
also be legal if it conforms to e.g. a German standard (none of the 4
front lights I use on my bike conforms to any British lighting standard,
but the dynamo light conforms to German standards).

> I also have a flashing yellow/green front lamp, which I attach to
> my sam brown belt at the front. Not sure if this is legal or not,
> because it's attached to me rather than the bike.


Yes it is. The Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations cover lights attached
to the cycle, not to the rider. So the flashing red horns on my helmet
are also legal.

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