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 Physics and the theoretical
 'Triangle of light' - latest research
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  7:05 AM                       Like

http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/r...orcycles.htm


The effect of two novel lighting configurations on the conspicuity of motorcycles

Motorcyclists have been shown consistently to be at a high risk of being involved in road collisions (Wulf, Hancock & Rahimi, 1989; Chesham, Rutter & Quine, 1991; Horswill & Helman, 2003), and often such collisions involve another vehicle violating the path of a motorcycle at a junction or intersection. It is known that two key factors contributing to such collisions are the relatively low conspicuity of motorcyclists, and the relative difficulty that other road users have in judging the time it will take a motorcycle to reach their position (time to collision or TTC) (e.g. Wulf et al., 1989; Horswill, Helman, Ardiles, & Wann, 2005).

Here we report findings from a roadside observation study in which participants were invited to observe a section of road (60kph limit) in Albany, Auckland, New Zealand, while a trial motorcycle was ridden past their position (average approach speed 55.7kph) displaying either a single headlight, a ?V? lighting configuration with the headlight and LED lighting on the raised mirrors of the motorcycle, or a ?Y? configuration which added LED lighting on the front forks.

At night, the motorcycle was detected approximately three-quarters of a second earlier with the ?V? lighting and approximately one and a quarter seconds earlier with the ?Y? lighting than with the headlight alone, but only when the participants were instructed to search the scene for motorcycles (as opposed to reporting the things in the scene that grabbed their attention).

At night the ?V? and ?Y? lighting also led participants to report longer ?smallest acceptable gaps? (by approximately half a second and three quarters of a second respectively) in front of the oncoming motorcycle than they did in the ?headlight only? condition. Daytime detection was much earlier than night time detection, and detection was much earlier when participants were asked specifically to search for motorcycles.


Author S Helman, M Palmer, C Haines, C Reeves
Pages 49
Date 11/02/2014
Reference PPR682
ISBN 978-1-908855-89-3
ISSN 0968-4093

Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  7:06 AM
More details of the project, including earlier literature review:

http://msac.org.nz/our-work/visibility-project/
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  8:17 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
Interesting, but I'm suspect of them telling them to look for a motorcycle. On the average road, with the typical driver, often they may look to see if the coast is clear, or maybe look for "traffic", or maybe look for other cars.

Even when I am driving, or riding, I can't say I look for motorcycles. Although I'm looking for d. all the above.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  12:11 PM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

Interesting, but I'm suspect of them telling them to look for a motorcycle.


Have a read of the report . . . :)

Then come back, tell us about the methods used and whether you're still suspicious ;)
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  1:04 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I'm just remarking on the paragraphs above which mentions twice, the earlier detection of equipped motorcycles, when participants were told to look for a motorcycle.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/20/2014 :  2:28 PM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

I'm just remarking on the paragraphs above which mentions twice, the earlier detection of equipped motorcycles, when participants were told to look for a motorcycle.



No worries. But read the full report (it?s free) and you may be interested to see how the trials were run, specifically in the first (of three) sections on how participants were briefed.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/21/2014 :  8:28 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I tried. Clicking different links, reading long articles that weren't pertinent...find the likely link on their home page, and it wouldn't display for me.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/21/2014 :  11:47 AM
quote:
Originally posted by rkfire

I tried. Clicking different links, reading long articles that weren't pertinent...find the likely link on their home page, and it wouldn't display for me.



Ok that's the client's site.

As in the first post, this is the report (you may need to register to download):
http://www.trl.co.uk/online_store/r...orcycles.htm

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James R. Davis
Male Administrator
17286 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Honda

GoldWing 1500

Posted - 05/21/2014 :  2:47 PM Follow poster on Twitter  Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
It was in the 1930's, I believe, that the railroad industry did a similar study and learned that the inverted 'V' seen on ALL trains now was the most conspicuous configuration, and allowed the viewers to best ascertain approach speed.

Why must we reinvent that wheel?
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Magnawing
Male Senior Member
281 Posts


The Woodlands, TX
USA

Honda

VF750C

Posted - 05/22/2014 :  7:55 AM Follow poster on Twitter
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

It was in the 1930's, I believe...Why must we reinvent that wheel?



Because people have to continuously justify their salaries.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/22/2014 :  3:16 PM
quote:
Originally posted by James R. Davis

It was in the 1930's, I believe, that the railroad industry did a similar study and learned that the inverted 'V' seen on ALL trains now was the most conspicuous configuration, and allowed the viewers to best ascertain approach speed.

Why must we reinvent that wheel?



I'd be fascinated to hear more about that research, what can you tell us about it?
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 05/22/2014 :  5:08 PM
I've not seen locomotives running a triangle of light until much later than that. The Mars light was developed in the 1930s and started to appear in use in the 1940s along with a couple of other gyrating lights. It was a light normally mounted above the standard headlight that moved up and down as well as side to side and usually presented as drawing a figure eight.

The requirement for auxiliary lights in addition to a single headlight did not begin until 1997.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.125
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/23/2014 :  7:15 AM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

I've not seen locomotives running a triangle of light until much later than that. The Mars light was developed in the 1930s and started to appear in use in the 1940s along with a couple of other gyrating lights. It was a light normally mounted above the standard headlight that moved up and down as well as side to side and usually presented as drawing a figure eight.

The requirement for auxiliary lights in addition to a single headlight did not begin until 1997.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/49/229.125



Thanks for that. Following that link leads to an earlier version, which permits oscillating and strobe lights and steady or alternate flashing crossing lights(content edited) and includes requirements dating from 1970:

49 CFR 229.133 - Interim locomotive conspicuity measures

? 229.133Interim locomotive conspicuity measures?auxiliary external lights.
(a) A locomotive at the head of a train or other movement is authorized to be equipped with auxiliary external lights, additional to the headlight required by ? 229.125, for the purpose of improved conspicuity. A locomotive that is equipped with auxiliary external lights in conformance with the specifications or performance standards set forth in paragraph (b) of this section on the date of issuance of a final rule that requires additional or other external lights on locomotives for improved conspicuity, as required by section 202(u) of the Federal Railroad Safety Act of 1970 . ..

(b) Each qualifying arrangement of auxiliary external lights shall conform to one of the following descriptions:

(1)Strobe lights.

(i) Strobe lights shall consist of two white stroboscopic lights, each with ?effective intensity,? . . . of at least 500 candela.

(ii) The flash rate of strobe lights shall be at least 40 flashes per minute and at most 180 flashes per minute.

(iii) Strobe lights shall be placed at the front of the locomotive, at least 48 inches apart, and at least 36 inches above the top of the rail.

(2)Oscillating light.

(i) An oscillating light shall consist of:

(A) One steadily burning white light producing at least 200,000 candela in a moving beam that depicts a circle or a horizontal figure ?8? to the front, about the longitudinal centerline of the locomotive; or

(B) Two or more white lights producing at least 200,000 candela each, at one location on the front of the locomotive, that flash alternately with beams within five degrees horizontally to either side of the longitudinal centerline of the locomotive.


(3)Crossing lights.

(i) Crossing lights shall consist of two white lights, placed at the front of the locomotive, at least 36 inches above the top of the rail.

(ii) Crossing lights shall be spaced at least 36 inches apart if the vertical distance from the headlight to the horizontal axis of the ditch lights is 60 inches or more.

(iii) Crossing lights shall be spaced at least 60 inches apart if the vertical distance from the headlight to the horizontal axis of the ditch lights is less than 60 inches.

(iv) Each crossing light shall produce at least 200,000 candela, either steadily burning or alternately flashing.

(v) The flash rate of crossing lights shall be at least 40 flashes per minute and at most 180 flashes per minute.

(vi) Crossing lights shall be focused horizontally within 15 degrees of the longitudinal centerline of the locomotive.

(4)Oscillating light.

(i) An oscillating light shall consist of:

(A) One steadily burning white light producing at least 200,000 candela in a moving beam that depicts a circle or a horizontal figure ?8? to the front, about the longitudinal centerline of the locomotive; or

(B) Two or more white lights producing at least 200,000 candela each, at one location on the front of the locomotive, that flash alternately with beams within five degrees horizontally to either side of the longitudinal centerline of the locomotive.

(ii) An oscillating light may incorporate a device that automatically extinguishes the white light if display of a light of another color is required to protect the safety of railroad operations.


[58 FR 6902, Feb. 3, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 24963, May 13, 1994; 59 FR 39705, Aug. 4, 1994; 61 FR 8887, Mar. 6, 1996; 77 FR 21348, Apr. 9, 2012]
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/23/2014 :  7:31 AM
A bit og Googling found . . .


[PDF]Alerting Lights on Locomotives - Federal Railroad ...
www.fra.dot.gov/Elib/Document/2098
17 Jul 2007 - locomotive conspicuity research program with the Volpe Center, to evaluate ... lights) that formed a triangle with the headlights, shown in.


In the 1970s, the Volpe Center conducted several studies on improving train conspicuity through use of locomotive alerting lights, such as oscillating headlights, rotating beacons, crossing lights, ditch lights, ground lights, and roof-mounted strobe lights. Field evaluations showed that two strobe lights used in a triangular configuration with a standard headlight was the most effective system. Subsequent in-service tests identified the use of roof-mounted xenon strobe lights as an effective means to alert motorists to approaching trains. FRA published rulemaking initiatives on use of auxiliary external alerting light systems in 1978, 1979, and 1982. Public comments, however, raised questions on alerting light effectiveness, cost, and reliability, and the initiatives were discontinued.

Improvements in existing locomotive alerting devices were made throughout the 1980s, and new devices were invented. In 1991, FRA initiated a locomotive conspicuity research program with the Volpe Center. This included testing of triangular patterns combining the standard headlight with different auxiliary lights. In 1992, Congress required the Secretary of Transportation to complete locomotive conspicuity research and to issue interim regulations on locomotive conspicuity. As a result, FRA continued and expanded the Volpe Center research program through the duration of the rulemaking activity, ending in 1995.


Of course, it would be interesting to know whether or not there was a sustained and significant reduction in crossing crashes after the additional lights were mandated?


As a contrast, in the UK various patterns of lights on the front of trains have been used for different purposes. This may well be due to the different nature of uk railways, in that they are usually fenced and there have been few unmanned (albeit most crossings now are automatically operated), barrier-free, crossings.





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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 05/23/2014 :  10:25 AM
There is also an audible warning requirement for level grade crossings. Two blasts of the horn(whistle) are required, one approaching the crossing followed by another initiated before the crossing and held through the crossing.

Back in the middle ages when I was in high school, the guy with the highest grade point average in the school drove into the side of a locomotive. It cost our school's Swedish foreign exchange student a lower leg.

I was on a ride along on a train in Oregon once when a car stopped at a grade crossing pulled out in front of the train and stalled on the track. Luckily it was an excursion train with only four cars and it was able to stop in time. I don't know what it is about some people.

Edited by - greywolf on 05/23/2014 10:30 AM
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  11:16 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I didn't download the report after all. I just didn't feel like signing up, and then going through a lengthy report. I know, lazy, but I think I got the gist of it anyway from the rest of their site.

Another thing struck me though. They mentioned SMIDSY, and videos, but they didn't have anything about the swerve tactic to be seen by breaking up the "motion camouflage". I've added this one to my riding toolbox.

I'm all for any reasonable method to be seen better. I don't have hi-viz gear yet, but might the next purchase of helmet and jacket. Right now, on my silver bike, I have a silver helmet, and silver or gray jackets. I'm a big guy, and I think I'm presenting a bigger monolith in this way. No proof of that at all, but the typical broken lines, and shapes and colors of bike and rider were discussed in the SMIDSY video as being a visual problem.

I ran a Phillips Motovision headlight bulb, where it appears to be an orange color to other motorists. The NZ article mentioned the possibility of a "different" color headlight getting noticed. The bulb was double the price of a standard bulb, but it didn't last a year for me. I can't say it helped, or didn't help really, and it's been a few years.

I tried, and probably will again, position lights on the forks. My first pair had brackets that did not hold up to the task.

My turn signal auto-cancel device has an interesting feature. Wired to make my signals into both running lights, and rapid flashing brake lights, the odd thing is, the front signals rapid flash on braking too. I am exeriencing though, that those cars that might be creeping from a parking lot exit, or stop sign on a side road, STOP creeping once I activate that forward flashing. No proof, but that's been my experience for several years now.

Being usually about the only motorcycle on the road in my area in the cold of winter, I have noticed that motorist are observant and curteous to me. No doubt they either feel sorry, or maybe laugh at the Michelin man (in a snow suit), but they stop, they wave me on even when I wasn't first stopped at a 4 way stop. That sort of thing. My take is, whatever we can do to make ourselves different, noticed, or even odd, might help be seen.

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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  12:56 PM
The scope of the project specifically excluded any 'training' interventions.
However you will find lateral positioning mentioned in the literature review.

Why do you want lights on the forks?
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greywolf
Male Moderator
1484 Posts
[Mentor]


Evanston, IL
USA

Suzuki

DL650AL2

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  4:06 PM
quote:
Originally posted by Horse

Why do you want lights on the forks?

A triangle of light would require vertical separation from the headlight and the forks would probably provide the most separation. The lights do take a beating there though as unsprung weight.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  4:55 PM
quote:
Originally posted by greywolf

quote:
Originally posted by Horse

Why do you want lights on the forks?

A triangle of light would require vertical separation from the headlight and the forks would probably provide the most separation. The lights do take a beating there though as unsprung weight.



OK, we may have different ideas of 'lights'; do you intend that they cast light on the road,or aid coconspicuity? If the latter, then LEDs might be more robust.

However, mounting additional lights on the mirrors might improve conspicuity by providing a wider triangle, which could aid drivers' assessment of your speed. Also, thehhigher location may be more visible over and through cars.
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rkfire
Advanced Member
1688 Posts


Stratford, CT
USA

Suzuki

Bandit

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  5:26 PM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
I think the NZ study found that a headlight, and 2 lower lights better, but the high mount was best. So I'm going better rather than best, mostly for ease of intallation. I have a naked bike, and bar end mirrors. I've not figured out an elegant way of mounting lights higher.

It's been a couple years since they were mounted, but I think they were 55W halogen. LED's so far seem to be pretty pricey for motorcycle use, plus they seem to get better every year, so maybe in the future. To my eye, they seem to be the height of typical fog/spot lights on modern cars and pickups, I see those fine.
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Horse
Senior Member
257 Posts


Newbury, Berkshire
United Kingdom

BMW

R850RT

Posted - 05/25/2014 :  5:33 PM
The study didn't test single headlamp plus the two lower lamps.

The combinations tested were:
- single dip beam (control)
- dip plus 2x mirror height lamps
- dip plus 2x mirror lamps plus 2x fork lamps

Respectively C V Y
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