Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

Flashing your headlight

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Mr Owl PhD, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Quite often I have an instinct to flash my headlight because I'm not sure if someone waiting to pull in to the traffic either doesn't see me or doesn't realise that their (car) body language is saying that they are gonna go for it. However I never do flash for a few reasons. 1. I don't want to seem overly aggressive 2. I wonder if they will think it's a friendly signal to indicate that I'm a polite person like them and I'm doing the equivalent of waving them in.

    Yesterday I had an old biddy who appeared to be waiting for me as there was no other traffic then just as I approached she started to roll forward then we both braked.

    I was wondering what the current etiquette is regarding this. Could flashing a car waiting at a t section be misinterpreted as waving them through or would you trust that they see it simply as a nervous motorcyclist wanting to be sure they are seen?

    I have recently discovered that there are things called headlight modulators and they seem like a good way out of this conundrum. Are they easy to fit on a gs500?

    Any thoughts welcome.
  2. Headlamp modulators flash the main beam 240-260 times per minute and are intended for improved visibility and excellent for use when you may not be noticed otherwise. If you are concerned about being seen and don't have modulators then instigate a slight weave, which induces a movement into your approach and will get the attention of a waiting car.

    If, however, you want to let someone in then why not slow down, sit up and wave them in with your left hand? Not difficult and unlikely to be misinterpreted.

    I sometimes flash the headlamp because there's a bird in the road just after a mobile speed camera, but that's to get the bird to move ;)
    • Like Like x 3
    • Funny Funny x 1
  3. Do not flash the vehicles waiting to enter/turn across your path unless you want to get killed - end of story.
    • Agree Agree x 13
    • Like Like x 1
  4. HeliHeli Whoa that wavy thing sounds like a good idea I might give that a go, I can see that it may make one appear a bit of an unstable lunatic, but that's probably not a bad idea as I'm sure that it would give someone pause to pull out. I must investigate the modulator more seriously then. btw waving people in is not a problem slowing down and waving is obvious, and is not a problem anyway if they don't understand, I was more concerned about using it as a warning and it being mistaken for a waving in, I've had cars wave me in with their headlights.

    TWEETTWEET well that's pretty unequivocal my gut feeling says you are right which is way I always decide against it, but the old biddy incident made me decide on a rethink.
  5. +1 This.

    In the cager world a flash of the lights is indicative of "you go"

    This does not bode well for the Moto kind.

    Road craft and the expectation that no one sees you (ever) is the safest option.
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Like Like x 2
  6. TWEET is absolutely right!

    A flash of headlamps, from a car, even to other, thinking, car drivers..... and there are some..... means only...
    "I have working headlamps!"

    Never, ever stake your life on....... but he flashed me to go on.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Agree with Tweet & co, I wouldn't flash the headlights. Most drivers would assume that to mean you are letting them proceed. If you are not sure if they have seen you, do as Heli has suggested and change position, if this isn't enough, beep the horn. After beeping, if you can tell they've seen you and are remaining stationary, just give a wave or something to indicate the beep wasn't intended as aggressive.
  8. Mate just hit the horn and stay ready to react, the latter of which should actually be your riding mantra period!
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Only if it's an airhorn: those scooter beepers are worse than useless ;)
  10. ^^^ This is what I do if I'm suspicious that a car hasn't seen me. Not only does it make me stand out more, but it can also assist the driver in judging the distance and closing speed which can otherwise be difficult sometimes for them to calculate. I also suspect it has the added benefit of some drivers thinking that it's out of the normal causing them to hesitate and not pull out in front of you and then slow you down.

    Sometimes doing 'strange' things on a bike can be your friend. I've heard that doing strange things such as standing up on the pegs, or pretending there's a spider on you, etc can also assist in getting tailgaters to back off as well. If nothing else - it's likely to get people to pay more attention to you instead of their phones. ;)

    IMO flashing headlights should be used to:

    a) Indicate to a truck who is overtaking you that their rear has cleared you and they can merge back in,

    b) Indicate to someone that you wish to overtake them (This is actually permitted as part of the road regulations, but I don't hear it spoken of much)

    c) Get those birds that sit on the road just after speed camera's to move out of the way as HeliHeli mentioned. :)

    ... but never to indicate to a driver that you don't want them to do something as it will most often be understood as you do want them to do it.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  11. #11 BitSar, Feb 28, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016

    You're better off training self preservation and muscle memory to GTFO than you are to punch the horn.
  12. Agreed..... and most of the truckies know what is going on. :)

    Fine...you know, and I know that it's permitted, but I don't know the names of the other three people in Oz that understand that.

    If folk want to try this, I'd honestly suggest that they do it with plenty of space between them and the car they'd like to move over.

    My experience is that, for every 10 that move over nicely, there will be one who gets the shits and stabs the brake pedal.:mad:
  13. ...a truck overtaking you...

    Please explain!?
    • Funny Funny x 2
  14. It's standard between trucks that the rear one will flash the front (overtaking) truck once they are past and it is safe to pull into the left lane again.
  15. why is a truck overtaking you? are you stuck in 2nd gear?
    • Funny Funny x 3
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. I know, but overtaking a bike!!!
  17. I just do a weave side to side in my lane. Has alerted a few times drivers waiting to pull out.

    I read this tip somewhere else about how the human brain can't tell if a bike is closing in towards them due to them expecting to see a car instead. Some subconscious thingy. Give that a go.

    Don't flash your lights as that can be interpreted as a courtesy gesture that you are letting them in.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Just not in South East Asia - particularly Thailand. If someone, especially a bus or truck flashes their lights at you - get TF out of the way - they ain't stopping...

    Almost forgot that once.

    Never forgot it a second time ;)
  19. Under normal circumstances, I only ever flash the headlight if I'm passing a truck / bus on a multi-lane road, to draw the driver's attention to the fact I'm passing them in the mirror. I figure there's a reason the button is called "pass." Oh, and to scare birds off the road too. ;)

    Under abnormal circumstances: when an oncoming car pulls out into my lane. Among swearing, braking, swerving and maintaining control of biological functions.
  20. i think it can be for either. just how it is used differ it.