View Full Version : Those dirty low-down trike riders............Cont.

09-08-2013, 11:34 AM
.....need to ensure they are very visible to other road users or they are likely to meet that horrible lady known as "Miss-Adventure" [sic]. ; as a new Zombie I notice that many bikes in the gallery do have "flags" attached to improve their visibility, but many of them don't.

I would be interested to hear any practical advice in this regard.

I am contemplating a "Spinsock" ( http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RAINBOW-TURBO-SPINSOCK-WIND-TWISTER-FOR-WINDSOCK-FLAG-POLE-CHOICE-OF-SIZES-/190782309350?pt=UK_SportingGoods_Kites_Kitesurfing _CA&var=&hash=item2c6b8303e6) because I think this would be unlikely to be missed if it is suspended at typical driver head-height.

Clearly anything like this has to be tethered securely enough not to pull "free" under normal wind-resistance, but able to "break-free" rather than pull you off the road if it snags on something.

Also, what innovative materials have folks used for poles & flags, how effective are they, how essential do people feel these safety/visibility flags are?



09-08-2013, 11:55 AM
I've seen threads of this subject on several different forums and it always draws a lot of opinions. Just like noses, everyone has one. Here's mine.
I think if your riding in traffic or around a lot of cars like in a parking lot (car park) that a flag sticking up over the hood (bonnet) of the car might be useful. But from my observation of other bikes on the road, I think that blinking lights front and rear get noticed more. I wouldn't ride without my blinkies.
Nothing is going to replace you being observant of what others are doing around you.

EDIT: Regardless of how much care I've done with blinking lights and/or flags there has always been someone stop and want me to put a slow moving vehicle sign on the back or some other suggestion because they can't see me.

I was riding on the shoulder of Hwy 19 and a car came out on the shoulder in front of me while on her phone. She stopped on the shoulder and looked to her left to see if cars were coming in the first lane and saw me sitting beside her car on the shoulder. She screamed and then backed up and stuck her head out the window and told me to go on that "she would not run over me". I told her she would have already run over me if i had not been watching her. I refused to proceed until after she had gone first. Those are the ones you have to watch out for. Not that I'm not for flags or blinking lights, in this case they would not have helped.

Radical Brad
09-08-2013, 12:33 PM
I tend to avoid any safety gear that may lead me to let my guard down. I feel "safer" when I am aware of the dangers, much like that poor frog in the video game "Frogger".

I see riders with huge flags, crossing guard vests, lights, etc and I think... "wow, they must feel safe.... SUCKERS!!!!!!!!!!!"
No amount of preemptive safety gear will stop a texting air-head from mowing you over.

You want to stay safe? Invest in one of these....


And treat every single car as if you were a singular enemy in the middle of enemy territory.


09-08-2013, 01:01 PM
First off- I agree with Brad. No matter what visable device you use. Pretend no one see you and you will be far safer. Coworker got nail by a kid texting who ran a red light. He survived it due to his due diligence.

Next- that flag will provide quite a bit of wind resistance. It will act like a drag parachute. A small one. But with your other pedaling gear inch concerns use a flat flag that flutters rather than a wind sock like that.

And while riding initially everyone will see you as I am sure you are already aware your cool ride is unusual and will get seen until they get use to it. Then it will be invisable regardless of the lights, flags and vest.

Safe riding out there.

09-08-2013, 01:24 PM
Hi "TT" (George),

I agree that you have to "be seen to be safe" and "blinkies" (as you describe them) are on my list of additional things to add to the trike. - Thanks! :)

Brad, my dear chap, you sound like a man who objects to people being in their own little iPhone/iPod (or Android) bubble while you are sharing THEIR road? ;-)

Of course you are right, any measures we take can only hope to focus the attention of someone who is semi-aware anyway, but my hope would be that I would somehow survive such an encounter and the level of "I AM HERE" devices/warnings/alerts on my ride make any subsequent lawsuit pretty cut & dried. Not much good to you if you are dead and smeared all over 300yds of roadway I grant you; but maybe the compensation paid to your dependants for such gross negligence on the part of the driver might be easier to obtain.

I must confess that I have seen this problem from the other side too.....

I lived in California ('85 - '87) and one awful night I ran down a Cyclist at a 4-way stop.
1. It was night time.
2. They were strangely dressed all in black.
3. They had no lights on their unlicensed bike.
4. I was seen to observe the "bow & curtsey" at the 4-way stop by another driver who attested to that fact.
5. He also confirmed that the cyclist just "barrelled" on through the stop without paying any attention to the 4-way stop whatsoever.

It scared the living daylights out of me. As an ex-pat working in Silicon Valley and living just round the corner I honestly thought I was going to get lynched (or shot) by her folks.
Luckily she only had a broken collar-bone and some cracked ribs.

The policeman at the scene said I was blameless and he was writing her a ticket and not me.
My insurance paid her medical bills in a full & final to prevent/avoid any future claim against me, my insurance rates were unaffected.

It later came out that she was a 21 Year Old and not the "child/teenager" I had assumed she was.

So, I am very aware of how a cyclist should behave, and also how it is in my best interests to be as visible as possible to other road-users.

Not sure I can stretch to a cell-phone jammer, but "blinkies & flags" are on my list.



09-08-2013, 04:26 PM
I agree with some of what Brad said, but I don't agree that we shouldn't take safety measures to reduce the risk of being seen and not hit and instead rely on our own ability to monitor everything around to stay keep safe.

Now in every state I have lived in here in the US, cyclists are required to follow the same rules of the road as cars. This means no riding on sidewalks, signalling when turning and complete stops when required, including yielding the right of way. Unfortunately, a lot of cyclists casual cyclists don't realize this and a lot of serious cyclists just don't follow them.

Additionally, according to US statistics, most accidents are the cyclists fault and 1/3 of accidents happen at intersections where cyclists either fail to stop, or pull out in front of a car instead of yielding the right of way when they should.

Bottom line, cyclists need to be aware of the rules of the road and need to pay as much attention to what they do as they pay attention to what car drivers are doing.

Also, I definitely would NOT recommend the cell phone jammer. With a range of only 15 meters, you are more likely to make the situation worse as drivers get frustrated with their phones because they are not working and start trying to redial and get irritated which causes attention to focus on their frustration/anger which leads to less attention to their driving and the situations around them.


09-08-2013, 05:43 PM
Here, in Australia, cyclists are required to obey the road rules and over 12's are not supposed to ride on the footpath (sidewalk) unless doing so in relation to the supervision of an under 12. Unfortunately, and stupidly, there doesn't seem to to be any registration, official assessment, or anything else to require/ensure that cyclists actually know the road rules that they are supposed to obey.

Now, there's a good excuse for not following them - the rules, not the cyclists, although it could apply to both.


Radical Brad
09-08-2013, 06:22 PM
Yeah, the cell jammer was a just a joke, but of all my "encounters" lately (most in my car on the highway), it was some bubblehead using a PDA while driving.
I mean REALLY!!! what the heck do these people yap about all day long on those things???

REPLY : nuttn wacha doin?

TAP-TAP-TAP: drivin, you?
REPLY : using a chainsaw

TAP-TAP-TAP: with one hand, wtf?
REPLY : ya, gotta text you.

TAP-TAP-TAP: oops just hit a bike, lol!
REPLY : get away fast

TAP-TAP-TAP: already gone, lol
REPLY : cool.

09-08-2013, 07:18 PM
Funny, I thought that last dialog was going to end with a one handed lumberjack!

09-08-2013, 08:42 PM
....heh heh - you should see the stuff that happens over here, throw away the rule book and crank up the lunacy ten fold, and still not even close. I keep well away from busy roads..........

09-08-2013, 09:04 PM
NBi BraAs ever, playing devils advocate (I've probably just been beeped), but the cell phone jammer may cause more worries than it solves.
The stupid idiots (beeped again) would then be lookoing in dire panic at their essential toy and wondering why it did not work--shakiu ng it, pushing buttons and banging it on the dash, all the time not looking at you- or any one else.
I agree with your approach--they are the enemy--everyone of them. So avoid the enemy. In Beijing traffic there are only two rules to follow
Rule 1) Don't hit any thing else.
Rule 2) Don't let anything else hit you.
I don't have a flag--I do sit at car driver level-direct eye contact, and it does make a vast difference compared to an upwong--really noticeable.
However, Beijing has a unique feature in its driving style. Most places have a "turn with care" policy---Beijing has the "N0 look turn" They do not look when pulling out into traffic
from a right turn. So you have to be awake .
If I did have a flag it would have to be welded on--some one would steel it .
In saying this, I must point out that 80% of streets here have wide bike lanes, and separation barriers on many, so for the most part, I only mix with other two/three wheelers.
Where I do have to mix with cars, in general, its actually safer than any road in Australia, as despite their atrocious driving, they are used to mixing with bikes, and you get a fair go if you ride "positive" . Hesitate, and you could wait for hours!
Just apply rules 1 and 2.
Steve G
A very busy Beijing

09-09-2013, 12:01 AM
...yeah Steve - heard Beijing was bad for traffic. BKK is only 70K from here, and that's one place I can't imagine cycling round, bad enough just driving and trying to keep the car in one piece - never a dull moment !

09-09-2013, 12:07 AM
I only ride on the cycle paths. To ride on the roads with the trike where I live is far too danderous, there are four wheel drives everywhere I have twelve houses in my cul de sac and we all drive at least one four wheel drive. Mine is very high and it makes it hard to see a recumbent trike, my trike isn't even as tall as my wheel arch if one come up alongside me at a junction it would be difficult to see.


09-09-2013, 03:42 PM
Hi Dan, I used a fibreglass mast with plastic type flag from amazon the flag parted company with the mast on a 40mph + jolly downhill due to plastic fatigue, I now use flags cut from hi viz vests , very light and flexible, I get 6 flags from one vest cut out with soldering iron to weld the seam from fraying. an Airzound horn is also quite handy, they are LOUD!!!! in the year I have been riding my trike I have had only one incident of bad behaviour from a car driver, he started to rant and rave and I pointed to my Etrex gps and asked if he minded me recording the conversation, a little bluff but it killed the situation :evilgrin: apart from that every response from car drivers has been good, just be prepared fo the millions of questions as to how much it cost where did you get it etc and enjoy your new toy Dan, its going to open a new world for you regards John

09-09-2013, 05:33 PM
Hi Sandman,

I have an Airzound (lovely product, get's jaywalkers out of their little texting/gaming/MP3 playing "bubble" in no time flat with a startled/sheepish look on their face) :-)

Fibreglass flagpole on order and (strangely enough) I ordered some piano-wire just this morning.........to create a frame for......guess what?
...a flag made from a High-Viz vest (great minds think alike etc. etc.).

Looking forward to some "fun" later this week (when the weather improves).



09-28-2013, 09:12 AM
Hi all. My only piece of advice on the flag thing is this. If you do have a flag make sure it doesn't flap all over the place as the noise in the wind can be distracting to your own riding! On myTrice trike I have a fibre glass pole with a small reflective (Dayglo) strip and it is only about 8" by 4". It makes me visible enough to any competent driver and it doesn't drive me insane with the flapping ion the wind.

09-28-2013, 10:05 AM
Hi Dogbad,

If only I went fast enough to cause it to flap :)

I do understand what you mean though, it could be distracting, but at least if it is there making a little noise, you are assured that it is there doing its job.

If it's normally "fluttering" and then you have silence that probably may mean it has snapped-off or been grabbed and torn away by overhanging branch etc. and then you are not so visible any more.

On balance, I would rather have a tiny bit of noise (always) for the reassurance that I am more visible.

Enjoy your rides,


10-02-2013, 07:00 AM
Though I haven't seen any for a while, here in the UK there was a craze for a small plastic flag & flexible pole (all cast as one) that protruded horizontally to your offside by about a foot (6" or so past pedal line). Normally attached to seat stay or pannier rack, it's true. it's a little low down to see, but considering this seemingly harmless device threatened to put a gouge in the paintwork of any vehicle close enough to contact it, it was seen alright!

Not the 'be all, end all' of devices, just another to the armoury.


10-02-2013, 09:47 AM
I like that idea of putting the pole at an angle to the bike so that the flag is beyond the side of the trike. That definitely would help some for getting a safer passing distance.

Thanks for posting that Nitty.