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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few days ago I was driving right around dusk and passed three cyclists going the other way, all of whom had flashing white headlights. They weren't annoying, just very noticeable.

I have an old set of headlights with a separate battery pack that I used to use when I rode before dawn. They were so good that cars coming towards me would actually dim their brights as they approached, but I can't get up that early anymore. Nowadays, if I'm going to be riding around dusk, I have a six LED light that I use on the front, mainly to be seen, not so I can see. After seeing these flashing headlights, I thought this might increase my chances of staying alive on the road.

Does anybody have any experience with these, and does anyone know if they are legal?
 

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Knives, Guns, and Booze
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Yep. Get yerself a 555 timer chip (the Texas Instruments TLC555CP is a common one and comes in a DIP package), a PFET (I use Fairchild NDP6020P units in my flashers), a common DIP switch (SPST is fine), some 18 gauge insulated multi-strand copper wire, two 6.8KOhm resistors (1/4 watt are fine), and a 10µF capacitor (a 25V rated electrolytic works well). Pop the components together onto a blank circuit board (or you can just solder the components together), and you have a current-regulated 555 timer flasher circuit. If you want the flash rate to be higher, then change the 6.8KOhm resistors for some of a lower value (4.7KOhm, 3.6KOhm, 2.2KOhm, etc.), or if you want the flash rate to be less frequent, then use a higher value (such as 5.6KOhm, 6.2KOhm, etc.). If you need a circuit then search teh Googelz for some 555 timer IC LED flashing circuits.
 

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In winter, when my commute home is in the dark,I use a small light mounted on my helmet, and keep it in flashing mode. I can point it in the direction of vehicles that are a particular hazard, especially cars entering from side streets on the right. I think it helps a lot. I have a steady light on the handlebar.
 

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About a month ago, I started using a blinking led on the front and a PB superflash on the rear during daylight hours. It seems to have reduced the number of times someone pulls out in front of me or passes too closely.
 

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So. Calif.
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There is no question that flashing or rapidly changing lights are more readily perceived by the human visual system and brain.

Cateye EL-220 is a very bright 6-LED (?) headlight that has a flashing mode ... if anything it's too bright in flashing mode, as it illuminates the roadway with a stroboscopic effect. Probably indicates the EL220 is aimed too low! About $40, IIRC.

Cateye LD150 is a very bright, 5-LED tail light with several flash modes. The mode where individual LEDs flash in a semi-random , back & forth pattern is especially visible. About $15-20, IIRC

The standard included Cateye mounting brackets are prone to slipping, but Cateye makes optional inexpensive brackets that are more robust.
 
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