Those slow flashes

Thursday, December 6th, 2018 at 10:21 pm

Today was was my first time riding to work in too long and although there was plenty of light, as I rode on the suspended section under the freeway near Kooyong I was reminded of something that annoys me because it can be dangerous: a slow flashing front light.

So what am I talking about? Consider this road rule:

259. Riding at night
    The rider of a bicycle must not ride at night, or in hazardous weather
    conditions causing reduced visibility, unless the bicycle, or the rider, displays -
    (a) a flashing or steady white light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the front of the bicycle; and
    (b) a flashing or steady red light that is clearly visible for at least 200 metres
        from the rear of the bicycle; and
    (c) a red reflector that is clearly visible for at least 50 metres from the rear of
        the bicycle when light is projected onto it by a vehicle's headlight on low-beam

On its face this is all reasonable, my particular issue is with the word “flashing” because it doesn’t indicate how slow or fast the flash should be.

I prefer a fast flash as it draws your attention, but is still continuous enough that you can follow where it is, especially when there is a bend or obstructions.

On the other hand a slow (where you can notice the delay) flash I find to be dangerous as you may not have seen enough flashes to get an idea of the direction and speed the bike is moving, before you need to allow for the direction to be changing because of a bend or curve in the path.

The compounding factor with this morning’s example was that it was also a super bright light. The sun wasn’t quite up and the freeway casts a decent shadow, it isn’t good to be faced with a blinding intermittent light on a narrow path with metal railings on both sides.

For the record I had my lights on, if I want to see I have the front on steady, but I wanted to be seen so today was the fast flash…

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