Originally Posted by AlanCT
On my Concours I have Electro-pods, which are Hyperlite knock-offs. I also lined the inside of my brake light with reflective tape to brighten that up, and I have taken to wearing a hi-viz yellow neon helmet.
I did this several years ago after experiencing several times the hair raising feeling you get when you are at a stop light and hear a car with locked up brakes skidding up behind you.
It has not happened since.
This. It is a better comprehensive approach. Yes, some sort of really BRIGHT flashing light is good as it gets the brain dead cager's mental slumber jarred. At that point, the cager needs to process info and make decisions. A bright colored helmet is a real bonus as the cager can see it from a long way off. Put some decent reflective stickers on it for after dark.
Another inmate mentioned a reflective vest. While it is damn hard to prove exactly how well these things work, my observations over the years have convinced me that they work surprisingly well. Assuming that one does not have a top box or gear blocking the rear view of the vest. Even if the top box blocks the bottom 2/3 of the vest, it will still work pretty good. I credit the 2.75" X 17" strip on the back of my Stich for keeping the cagers off me at stop signs 99% of the time as compared to when I wasn't wearing such gear long ago. Several budds wear full-on Icon-type vests and the effect on traffic just amazes me. Another budd (40 yr. MSF inst.) has worn a cheap 2-stripe road worker's vest for 40yrs and reports that traffic is right on top of him when he hasn't worn it for short errands. If you have hard cases mounted all the time, 3M makes some great reflective tape in a few colors that disappears when not needed.
The problem with lights is that they have to be seen in direct sunlight. Hyperlights disappear in certain sunny conditions. If you have a top box all the time, mount them in the shadows under the corners of the box. Or build a little sun sheild for them. Lots of bikers will pile up the lights around the tail light/plate. It is better to separate the lights and create an array. First, the array makes the bike look bigger and therefore more substantial making the cager leery of a 'bigger' collision. Second, The array allows the cager to triangulate better and get a good feel for approach speeds. If the bike looks like it is getting bigger faster, the cager might get into the brakes a little harder sooner.
Finally, it doesn't matter one wit what you have if you don't know how to use it. Magicians go to great expense and excruciating care making props and gear. And then they practice endlessly perfecting their presentations. Same thing with the bike. One becomes a riding magician presenting the bike magic to traffic in such a way as to manage traffic for the biker's best effect/safety. Some riders need very little in the way of lights and costume to get their presentation correct. But they do need some bit of equipment. And they have figured out their limitations for themselves so they know what doesn't work well and what to do about that. As an example, I have a small LED light bar under my plate as the lone taillight was just not enough. My riding habits include using my ring finger to flash my brake lights before actually braking to wake up following traffic. That habit requires me to be paying attention and account for the time to do the flashing brake thing. Being able to do this with alacrity actually drops my commute time by a cuppla minutes and keeps me safer allowing me to get to my destination with a more pleasant demeanor. YMMV