Hello squabbling common little people, I read this article on the "bike light survey" and surmised it as - "lights, lenses and being seen". Big Deal.
Our test panel included representatives from the Ride to Work program, RACV, Choice Magazine, bicycle retailers, user groups, clubs, the Victoria Police and VicRoads. Each light was viewed from in front from the regulation distance of 200m and then from the side at 50m. Each tester rated the lights and then the scores were consolidated.
But in one sense, designing a light that enables one to be easialy seen by other road users is not that big a deal, nor is it that hard to achieve.
Even really low cost lights, with 2 AAA batteries and a few flashing white LEDS's can do a reasonable job of this - it's just some lights are brighter and have better directionality and lensing - to put the light into the eyes of other road users. This is especially good for tail lights.
But here is the crunch:
In this survey, going by what was stated in the article as follows all these high minded big knobs and experts all forgot one thing;
In respect to headlights:
The principle effect of lighting is to be able to see where one is going, to see the good path and to avoid obstacles in a timely manner - and the incidental light - as seen by other road users; is simply an added bonus.
I have used the small high intensity LED's and they are good, can easially be seen by car drivers, but when living in the country, coming into the kerb and being able to differentiate between the gravel, the kerb and the driveway, - because all are an almost identical color of dusty gray - Not a hope.
Avoiding bad pot holes, broken glass, rabbit burrows, fencing wire in the grass, deep ruts, tree branches, drains, grates, ..... etc., etc., etc...
These "geniuses" have missed the point - head lights are there to enable you to see where you are going - first and foremost.
But this committee has slung the "legislation" - being the offshoot of decent lighting, as the basis for evaluating a head lights worth.
This is just pencil necked idiocracy.
If you evaluate the worth of lights, because of the way they shine into the eyes of other road users - this committee, going by what they have said and what they have published - have missed the point of why you have a decent headlight, and have given their evaluation for ALL THE WRONG REASONS.
It appears to be the case, that not one of them took the bikes with lights for trial runs through poorly lit areas, such as bush tracks, parks and gardens, bike paths, and roads - all littered with glass, pot holes, slippery "wet and rotten leaves", things that fall off the back of trucks, like short lengths of black 2" water pipe, low bare branches, upright steel posts in the middle of pathways, the intricacacies of tram tracks in interesections on a wet road at night, car parts from collisions and other obstacles....
While they are all busy sucking hot coffee and patting each other on the back telling each other how wonderful they are - they are promoting (HEAD) lights for ALL the WRONG REASONS - and it sounds like they don't even have "one nasty objective dissenter" amongst them.
To me this reads as being such a poor joke.
"Each light was viewed from in front from the regulation distance of 200m and then from the side at 50m. Each tester rated the lights and then the scores were consolidated."
If I want lights to shine into the air, I'll take their recommendation and follow it.
But I do want and need DECENT HEADLIGHTS, that enable me to see where I am going, so I actually machine my own lights up from scratch, that light the road up wonderfully, that other road users can see as an incidental bonus.
Or if I lacked the machinery to do this, I'd dismiss the committee's "idiot" recommendation - in regards to the head light, and go speak to people who actually use real headlights, in real riding conditions, and ask them for their opinions, based upon the experience of having actually used their lights in night riding in the real world.
My opinion is to get a light that has very good forward lighting - ONTO THE ROAD and some 7 - 15 meters ahead, sort of 1/3 to 1/2 way from an idiot 3 led flashing head light - towards a downhill bush night racers flood lights
I might note that the recommended headlight did have directly sidewards lighting - for visibility to other road users - which is a very good and useful thing.
And the survey?
Sure the headlight is really good as far as being seen by other road users goes - but faced with the prospect of going sailing into a drain because the grate is missing and you couldn't see it - all on account of the fact that one is dumb enough to take on board the recommendation of a "committee" that made an worthless recommendation that, "The light is good because it shines into the eyes of other road users", instead of onto the road where is should be - No thanks - I am not that stupid.
Hot coffee, congrats and pats on the back all around?
Clubby little Vegemites - with a job well done?
Yeah they can use their own lights - and go break their own necks.