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    • CommentAuthornttilma
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    Hello,
    I am an industrial design student and bike commuter, and I need some research information. Would you please take the time to answer a few questions I have about bike turn signals?
    1. How do you indicate turning? Proper arm motions? Point your arm in direction going?
    2. Do you have any LED turn signal devices? If so, do they work well? What could be improved with them?
    3. If you don't have LED turn signal lights, would you consider getting some?
    4. What would you like to see in a turn signal device? Seat post mount? Backpack lights? Arrows?
    Anything else?

    Thanks,
    nttilma
  1.  
    I don't really think drivers would see or pay attention to little blinking turn signal lights on a bike. Most drivers don't even see people on bikes too begin with!

    If there is cars directly behind me and I'm having to slow down to take a turn, I will signal with my arms the direction I'm turning to warn them to slow down, or sometimes even if they are making the turn too.

    To be honest, I don't think any little blinky lights would be useful as turn signals. Cyclist just need to use hand signals, because they can be seen from ALL directions… not just from behind you and at night (which is the only time a device like this would be potentially useful)

    Poor idea. No deal.
    • CommentAuthornttilma
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    Thanks for your feedback.
  2.  
    I figured I should bring up this video, despite this being just a concept, and not exactly efficient or safe (where are the front turn signals? and when it's not doing anything, the lights could be distracting) but it just looks rad.

    http://www.bored-to-death.com/33543/LED-Bicycle-Backpack-Video

    Hands are certainly the best way to indicate turning, they're three-dimensional and are easy to see.
    • CommentAuthorjburnha
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    Hello nttilma, I'll respond according to your question numbers:
    1. To indicate a turn, I use the old car-default if your blinkers dont work: both directions with the left arm (for visibility reasons), pointing straight left if turning left, and when turning right, a 90 degree bend at the elbow point up with fingers. Sometimes I sort of repeat the motion to make clear what I intend. (I personally feel that a right-hand used to indicate a right-turn is useless sense the body can easily block the indication, plus drivers probably look at the right-turn signal cause they think you are flipping them off and then they realize you are turning while appropriately signalling, hah)
    2. No LED turn signals.
    3. I would consider them if they were thoroughly well designed, didnt require me to carry a battery pack and didnt fully interrupt the aesthetics of my bike (so it would have to be integrated into the bike frame). If I had a cargo-bike I might consider it considering the pace and function of the machine but mostly what I love about cycling is not having to worry about finicky mechanisms needing power or having to worry that a manufacturer has cut corners in production on an item that will ultimately fail due to vibration, moisture or dust.
    4. Its a complicated exercise imagining the best way to actuate such a device. Our hands and feet and eyes are already concentrating on so much and then to have to press a button or some how start the signal just always seems futile, althouh perhaps early motorists too thought this way..? Sorry if this isnt much help. But again, it would be a fun design exercise.

    Cheers
  3.  
    Posted By: keytarjunkie

    http://www.bored-to-death.com/33543/LED-Bicycle-Backpack-Video


    Hahahahaha. Everything about that video makes me feel amazing, warm and fuzzy inside. The music really makes it. However, the invention is complete shit.
    • CommentAuthornttilma
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    Thanks, jburnha. Your input will be helpful for my design.
    • CommentAuthorAaron C
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011 edited
     
    1. standard arm signals
    2. no
    3. nope, I've never had a "man, I had some bike specific turn signals" moment while riding. I have a hard time thinking of a situation in which LED signals would be useful enough to outweigh the negatives.
    4. It would have to be very bright, large enough to be seen, visible from all angles, weather resistant, and removable (anti-theft). At the same time it would have to be small enough not to interfere with operation of the bike.

    I could, perhaps, see this on a european style city bike, where there is little emphasis on being sporty, etc. In general though i just don't see this as feasible from any broad stand point.

    Why fix it if it aint broken, eh?
    • CommentAuthorgreg
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    I use hand signals when I know there are cars behind me and I want to communicate that I am slowing down, especially on a left turn with oncoming traffic.

    I do not use any LED turn signals.

    I think riding gloves with refllective arrows on the top would be great for night riding. The car's headlight would illuminate the arrow and catch the driver's eye. No batteries needed
    • CommentAuthoriliketoes
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    1. Hand Signals if I believe my safety, or that of the people around me, is benefited by them. (read: sometimes)
    2. Ha. No
    3. Probably not. One/two/four more extra blinky things to buy ( x multiple bikes). Cars totally ignore bikers anyway, non-standard bikelanes/sharrows/left-turn lane shenanigans would make the signal more confusing (imo)
    4. I think putting them in gloves would be a great idea. Reflective or un-obtrusive LEDS (small batteries) maybe. Integrating them into drop handlebars would be cool from a design standpoint, but wouldn't work for all bikes.
  4.  
    I gotta vote up the idea of the glove-based signal idea. Aside from the previous problems listed with a bike mounted turn signal, it seems like another one is going to be size. From a car at a distance, two little lights on either side of a bike will probably just look like one light until they're too close for comfort. Putting it on gloves, or maybe a wristband (like those reflective ankle straps for yr pants!) would spread that out and make it more obvious.
    • CommentAuthormikros
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    Anything on the bike is going to be too narrow, will just look like additional flashing to a car.

    I've thought about the glove myself - that could really work. Even if it was just a wristband that you could wear on the left, with some way to turn on the blinking before you started signalling. Maybe shake it to make the blinking start? Or have a switch near the palm that you could hit as you were reaching out?
    • CommentAuthornttilma
    • CommentTimeFeb 23rd 2011
     
    This is really helpful guys. Thanks a lot for your feedback. I am liking the the glove idea too.
  5.  
    1. I just point the direction i'm going (after a few waves to get drivers attention)
    2.No LED turning signals
    3. I didn't know they even existed, + from my experience of riding in downtown and suburbs, cars are either gonna pay attention or get uncomfortably close. my lights are pretty good, yet some a-holes just like to ignore cyclists, so I figure why bother spending more money when legally i'm set
    4. the seat post mount would be convenient but my question is what would be the process to turn 1 arrow or side of the blinker on?
    • CommentAuthor2poler
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2011
     
    Here is the issue(s) I see with this;

    1. How would you be able to tell the differance between an turn signel and a rear blinkie?
    2. How would you wire it and what would you do with the battery(s) and computer?
    3. Most of the time the problem is with oncoming traffic not watching you turn not traffic to your rear. You would need these on the front more than the rear.
    • CommentAuthorpolitburo
    • CommentTimeFeb 24th 2011
     
    1. Point, shake my hand in the direction
    2. No
    3. absolutely not
 
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