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Strobe lights for Booger
During the past year there have been several motorcycle versus auto collisions in the central Florida area that all had one thing in common. The auto violated the motorcyclist's right of way. There were other crashes that were of different circumstances but I usually figure that I could do something about those; crashes involving excessive speed or alcohol or similar contributing factors come to mind.
But the ones that got me to thinking were the typical scenarios, an oncoming vehicle turns left in front of you or someone pulls out of a side street across your path. These are situations over which a rider has little control.
I couldn't really think of any way to avoid these until I ran into a situation that suggested an idea that might provide a small edge. One night, while sitting at a stop light in my car, something caught my eye. I wanted to turn right on red, something that is legal here in Florida, and so was watching the on coming traffic for a break when I spotted a flashing white light approaching me. While I could not tell where it was as far as distance from me was concerned, and also, while it was surrounded by a sea of other white lights (headlights of on coming cars) it caught my attention and I stopped thinking about my turn and focused on it. What it turned out to be was a strobe light on a bicycle proceeding down the sidewalk approaching the intersection, the clear path of which would have carried it through the crosswalk and directly into my path had I began my turn. Had I pulled out in front of him and he collided with me I would have been legally at fault. But, that would have been only incidental to the problems it would have caused.
I was quite impressed by the fact that, instead of blending in with all the car head lights, it grabbed my attention and caused me to look again. And, this got me to thinking about some adaptation for a motorcycle. I checked the local bike shops as well as e-bay for bicycle lights but those that I found were quite expensive. Then I began to troll e-bay under a more generic heading and found that there were lots of small, relatively inexpensive, LED strobe lights offered. I settled on these as an test to see if I could get them to work.
The box had this information on it.
And it consisted of a controller, 6 lights of 3 LEDs each, and extension wires with plugs.
When I began to experiment with it I found that, while the controller had 3 different strobe patterns, it had to be reset each time the power was disconnected. This might not be a problem if it were mounted in a vehicle and was intended to be turned on and left on until it was turned off. Further, it had to be reprogrammed each time it was powered on. Again, perhaps not a problem in a vehicle where it was going to be turned on and left on for a period of time.
But, what I wanted was something that I could turn on and off instantly or turn on with a very small amount of movement and attention. So, I began to look around for another type of controller and found these at superbrightleds.com.
At $4.99 they are very inexpensive and so, with shipping at $2.99, I ordered 3 as well as 2 of these.
I realize that they may not be as durable as the ones made specifically for motorcycles but, at this price, I thought I would give them a try.
I looked around on the front of the bike for a good place to mount the lights and came up with this.
I made the mount from a piece of aluminum flat bar that I had in the shop. I think I got it at Home Depot but Lowe's and the hardware store would probably have stuff like this as well.
It is mounted by the nuts that hold the stock turn signals and, if you notice, is slotted so that the wire for the signal can be slipped through with out having to disconnect it.
The lights were attached to the bar by way of double sided tape. I hope this will be good enough. If not, I will have to add some screws. I only used 3 of the 6 lights that I got with the kit but there are other bikes that I hope to add them to if this works out.
For power I tapped into the high beam wiring. This allows me the option of using the pass button to activate them momentarily or to turn the high beams on for continuous operation. Just an aside, the high beam switch turns off the low beam and turns on the high beam. The pass turns on the high beam but leaves the low beam on as well. This seams a bit odd but is probably just an unintended consequence of the wiring method and doesn't really make much difference.
You can see the strobe controller tucked behind the factory wiring.
It was difficult to take a picture that would illustrate the LEDs very well, the head light blinded the camera (hence the towel). Probably a video would have been a better illustration but this is all I have for now. I will have to get some feed back from my fellow riders to see if this actually makes a noticeable difference. If not, perhaps I can come up with a better mounting position or even bigger lights.
But for now, we are in the testing faze.
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