LED Bicycle Hack Makes Sure You’re Seen At Night

The bicycle tail and head lights that we’re accustomed to are small add-on modules. This take on the idea uses strips of LEDs to protect you from behind. They’re very bright, matching the pair of LED headlights that are attache to the handlebars.

Apparently [A.Davis12] had some LED strips laying around. There’s not what we’re used to seeing, but they have a similar footprint so you should be able to substitute the kind that come on a spool and may be cut to length. The majority of the build time was spent integrating the lights and their control wires with the frame of the bike. The frame already has holes in it for feeding the control wires for brakes and gear shifting inside the tubing. It sounds like it was a pain, but eventually he managed to get all of the routing done. Two red strips are zip-tied to the back of the seat stays. They are powered by a lithium battery inside the project box which mounts under the back of the saddle. A flip switch on the case lets you turn them on without stopping.

[Thanks Arpad]

13 thoughts on “LED Bicycle Hack Makes Sure You’re Seen At Night

  1. Not bright enough. If it is not blinding the Car drivers and making them swerve off the road in the daytime, it’s not bright enough to get the attention of the chick doing her makeup and texting.

    I want DC10 landing lights. 4500 lumens is a good start.

    1. Bikes do need to be more visible since many drivers do suck and/or are jerks. What are we to do about the overly bright “punk” headlights that are so blinding? Maybe the DC10 lights would be good for them?

  2. Wow. If somebody came riding up behind me at night, with that LED pointed straight into my rearview mirror, I’d want to slam on the brakes and reverse right over him. I’d settle for running him off the road.

    Making your presence known is one thing but distracting drivers is not a safe thing to do.

    1. Do you slam on the brakes and reverse right over trucks that do this to you, or are you just a jerk?

      The average bike headlight isn’t bright enough to be seen, except by those who are actively looking for them. They’re definitely not bright enough to make the road surface viewable at night… that said, I would advise rotating the headlight to angle downwards more to improve both functions.

    2. Cyclists are ‘fighting back’, and IMHO rightly so as vehicle headlights have over the recent years been steadily getting brighter and brighter.

      My bike has a headlight setup with 360 3mm LEDs pointing directly forwards, 300 above the front wheel and 60 on the handlebars, generally I ride on the roads at night with just 60 lit above the front wheel on and when the roads are busy I sometimes also turn on the 60 on the handlebars (especially when negotiating busy roundabouts), which still leaves me the ability to highbeam all 360 if needs be.

      Along unlit empty roads and cycle paths I will often put on all 360 LEDs for a ‘floodlight’ effect which allows me to see virtually everything immediately ahead of me.

      If you don’t like how bright the lights are at night then don’t drive.

    3. You have a valid point about no user of the road having a right to endanger others. . . /snark

      I like the idea of increasing the area of illumination; I wonder if it’s more effective than simply creating a very bright light?

      – Robot

    4. Bike vs Car arguments aside, bicycle headlights should be as bright as (and be aimed just like) motorcycle headlights.They’ll light up the road, will still be seen, and won’t piss car drivers off like those kids who put fake HID halogen bulbs in their stock headlight housings and blind everyone.

  3. Looking at the build log I appreciate that this is a really nice bike. However I think it a mistake to drill through the Thomson seat post clamp and cradle. Epically since the hole is too big and has so many rough edges. The clamp is probably going to split after a while.

    – Robot

  4. Curious but how will this look like from the back and sides if you had full panniers mounted? I’m sure the panniers would shield the side lighting. I use a Dinotte ( http://www.dinottelighting.com ) 140 lumen tail light powered by 4xAA’s but more tail light brightness is a good thing. Currently I’m hitting reflective targets about a block away and the cop stobes definately get the cagers attention.

  5. The rough edges have been removed, and tbh the Thomson clamps are so over engineered I doubttey would crack. If they do I an just replace them. Fwiw the lights are actually glued to the frame, not just zip tied. Thanks for the comments

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