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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or what? Maybe a death wish? I've been looking at headlight modulators for awhile now. Makes sense to me that something that can increase your visibility could help safety on a motorcycle. All of us have had those experieces where we did nothing wrong but nearly got creamed by a preoccupied cage driver. So I installed a headlight modulator on my R3T. While I was at it I also installed the brake light flasher as well. In California the brake light flasher is approved as long as it flashes no more than four times then goes on steady. On the first ride a elderly lady I was following (at a safe distance) whipped off the road and had a terrified look on her face as I rode by. I guess she thought I was the law. Later that same day I pulled up behind a guy in a left hand turn lane and he jumped out of his car and yells, why's that GD headlight flashing on me. I yelled back (in my best intimidating voice) so I'm sure you'll see me! I was ready to hit the kill switch and put the stand down so I could defend myself (he was really pissed), but he surprisingly turned and got back in the car. I quickly looked back to see if there was a sherriffs deputy behind me and there was not. Maybe it was the leathers, I'll always wonder. So I started shutting the modulator off when pulling up behind people at stops. The next day I was returning home on a two lane highway going about 65mph. There was a pickup approaching and we were the only two vehicles visible. He pulls completely over into my lane and forces me onto the shoulder looking right at me as he goes by at 65+. As I tried to get my pulse rate down, I thought what the hell:mad:, was he mad at the headlight modulator? A couple of days later I was riding in the Sacramento river delta. I was on a levee road and there are absolutely no shoulders on these roads. If you go off the roadway you are either in the river or in the vineyard. The banks are very steep on either side. Many drivers die each year from going into the river. A strangely familiar situation unfolds. I see a pickup approaching and we are the only ones visible. He pulls all the way over into my lane flashing his lights and accelerating:eek:. I'm not going in the river so if he hits me he hits me. He pulls back in his lane and is gone. I'm getting to old for this crap! There was no doubt what set him off. I turned modulator off and I've had no further incidents. The brake light flasher is still operating. Now I'll admit that California has more than its share of road rage types. But there has to be other experiences out there. When I'm riding I see more and more bikes with modulators on. I'm even starting to see them on some Hardleys. There's lots of bikes out year round in CA. So what's happening with modulators in other states and other parts of the world? What are your experiences? Are they annoying to you when you see them? I think this makes a good discussion even if you don't have modulator.:(
Thanks, Paul
 

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I don't have one and do not intend to get one. Those headlight modulators are annoying and decieving. They do make you look like police. I saw a guy with one of them one morning and people literally started cramming into the right hand lanes thinking it was a police motorcycle. It made it dangerous for everyone.

As far as pi$$ing people off, what do you think people are going to think if you are flashing your lights at them. They will think you are trying to tell them something.

I know that in Maryland, any blue or flashing lights on the front of the vehicle are illegal. I was stopped in my truck one day because my fog lights had a blue covering on them. When they were turned on they were white. The officer said that flashing lights are for emergency vehicles only.

NOTE: Sorry for all the "you's", I don't mean you personally, just anyone in general with the headlight modulator installed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hey, no problem deep6blue. I don't take it personally. That's why I posted the subject. We need opinions, because others are thinking of installing this device.
Paul
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just checked the web and headlight modulators are US federaly DOT approved for all states and Canada. Some highway patrol and state troopers have not gotten the word yet.
Does someone have something good to say about these devices?
Paul
 

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Without fail, my wife asks when she sees a modulated headlight (or tail light for that matter) "What is that thing for?" The only other time she mentions a motorcycle is when it's terrifically loud and obnoxious. But I suppose that's the point.
 

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I'm glad you brought this up, PBRPAUL, as I was thinking of installing a headlight modulator for added visibility. I'm leaning against it now - don't want to incite road rage, and I'm not in the mood to play "chicken" with crazy cagers...
 

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There are one or two bikes around there that have them. I think they could be effective at times, and at other times, annoying enough to make you a target.

I'll soldier on without one, myself. The brake modulator idea is interesting, though.
 

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:) I have the front and rear Kisan modulators on the front and rear of my Rocket and the KLR 650 that I was riding today...I first started seeing these on Goldwings a couple of years ago and thought it was cool as you noticed them..More HD riders are using them now too...I have had people start to pull out of side streets and driveways when looking in my general direction and then jerk the brakes when they "suddenly" notice me...I can't always prove that it's the modulators doing it but something caught their attention all of a sudden...I also am good about wearing a hi viz coat too...On my Rocket I also run caliper mounted Moto lights that I leave on during the day to form a triangle of light for people to notice..I have checked our NYS DMV website and it claims they are legal in all states..At least I know they are here...I've only seen one person ever pull over when I was behind them and haven't had any ill behavior from any cagers regarding their use..maybe they see them enough out here to be accustomed to them...I stopped at a Thruway pull over area a couple years back and one guy said that he noticed me quite a ways back because of the lights...I drove 50 miles on my KLR up to Buffalo for Father's Day dinner today and didn't have any adverse reactions...I've even had bikes behind me with them on and didn't find them annoying....Of course I spend more time looking out the windshield than I do in the mirrors so not a problem...Bottom line is I want to be seen by anyone out there...now for the deer that's another story in itself..As for myself I give them a solid endorsement

Also if I lived in California or Florida I doubt I would be brave enough to own a bike and drive ....I do have to hand it to fellas who do...You are fearless..
 

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No thanks please

They are neat I think but I would not install one.

After I got passed the "What the hell is that?" "Uneven pavement making lights look like they are flickering"...."Oh $h1t this isn't my lane!"

The second time I saw them I thought i was going to have a siezure (sp) right there. It doesn't take much to induce one and I would hate to see it happen in traffic.

After a while they will be common place and no one will notice anymore. Like the third brake light, daytime running lights, turnsignal mirrors, and baby on board signs.
 

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I use both as well... on a T100, but I have the Headlight rigged to the high beam switch. In the Day light it only comes on when I switch to high beam ( has a light sensor). I find it very useful when coming off the highway or passing through intersections where I see a car(s). I flick the highbeam, let them see the modulating light and continue to drive defensively. I drive about 10K miles a year. no problems so far.
 

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This is a great discussion to have about headlight modulators. The benefits far outweigh the negatives when you look at them, but you do have to realize there is an "etiquette" to using a headlight modulator.

Since it is designed to get attention, just like a horn, it should only be used when that is necessary - as Trekr states, using it when passing through intersections, coming off highways... or anytime you feel you aren't being noticed and need to be - like when someone could potentially make a left turn in front of you.

However, I do need to correct deep6blues post about the legality in Maryland. Headlight Modulators are 100% legal in all states - this is a federal law. If you read the information in the link he posted, none of it deals w/ headlight modulations. Headlight Modulators and their "modulation" rates are regulated by the Federal Government, but any company selling them already adheres to the regulations.

I work for a motorcycle safety company that sells headlight modulators, among other safety products, so I know a fair amount about the use, installation, and legal issues surrounding them.

Be safe, Be seen!
 

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I was on a road trip with my brother last week and a bike was heading to us with a modulator on. He said, “Is something wrong with his light?” To which I replied, “Nope, it is a headlight modulator.” “Why?” “Did you notice him?” “Oh, yeah.”

So they do work, and we haven’t motorbike police around here to fool cagers into pulling over, so we haven’t that issue to mess with.

With that said, I haven’t any plans to get one installed, and I already manually modulate my own brake light :D
 

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I use a brake light modulator, but I've read enough horror stories about headlight mods to want to use my 'passing flasher' switch instead when needed. Leaving them on just seems to drive people to bizarre and violent behavior.

I believe they ARE safer, but if they make other drivers go all road-ragey on you, it probably nets out about the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I started this thread back in June and have neglected getting back to it. I've put alot of miles on the R3T this summer and have enjoyed every minute. But after reading the replies, I have gone back to useing the headlight modulater. As several people suggest, leaving it on all the time sets you up for incidents that you never anticipated at the beginning of your ride. I now only use it when I feel it is necessary. I have had no further problems. I also still use the flashing brake light which I've never had a negative reaction to.
To those who say these devises are annoying or stupid, you had to notice them before you formed these oppinions. So they achieved their purpose. There's no accounting for the thought process that takes place in each individual after the initial recognition.
I don't know when these devises were made legal. I certainly don't remember DOT putting out any public service TV messages explaining there use to the average motorist. So the average motorist is left on their own to figure out what they are. I think this is part of the problem.
As all of us know there is absolutely no way to cover all the bases safetywise on a motorcycle. But thats part of the attraction. Keep your brains engaged at all times. PAUL
____________________
"Be nice to the right people on the way up, sooner or later you're gonna meet them on the way down"
The Foot of Pride, Bob Dylan
 

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I seem to remember a MSF instructor telling my class not to flash your lights as you ride through an intersection. Some cage driver facing you in the left turn lane may think you're signaling them to proceed with their turn. Not every driver, of course, but it just takes one.
 

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Modulator helps a lot

I've been using a modulator for about four years now, and won't go without one. The benefits far outway the negatives.

In my training we were told either a modulator or three headlights. The reason is that it's hard to judge the distance on a single headlight. The eyes require something more significant before it figure out how far away it is. So, passing lamps, and a headlight or other lights in combination with the headlight will give oncoming drives something to judge your distance by, and will make you stand out as cars typically don't have three lights grouped together.

The modulator prevents you from 'disappearing' into the car behind you. Sometimes, a m/c will literally vanish into a truck that's following it if the the lights line up. The modulator makes you very distinct.

In Canada we have have daytime running lights on cars/trucks since 1990. So, by now, that's like 98% (or so) of the traffic on our roads have their lights on during the day. The motorcycle also has it's light on during the day. The motorcycle is now inconspicuous with all those lights. So, to make the motorcycle stand out, the modulator does a very good job of that.

Yeah, they're relatively new on the market. I'm in Canada, and I believe the law was changed to accept them back in 2001 or so. I have never been stopped by police. I have had the occasional person pull off to let me go by, but that's only happened a handful of times in 60,000 km (40,000 miles).

I turn the modulator off if I'm in a m/c group, but otherwise, it's on during daylight hours. I have had a few people tell me when I have stopped that I have a short in my light, and I explain what it is, and they are impressed. I get many 'thumbs up' from drivers. I also use it on our freeways as it gets the attention of drivers that use their side mirrors and helps prevent them pulling out in front of me.

The trick is never assume it's working. Always ride as if you are invisible. The benefits of the modulator are such that I wouldn't feel safe without one.

H.
 

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if your on the fence with this issue-you can do what i do and that is to just simply run with your high beams on all the time-most people arent familiar enough with motorcycles to know if it is your high beam or just a bright low beam--in any case ,it will get their attention in a less frightening manner
 

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Luckily they are illegal over here in England. Because if there is a car wanting to pull out of a side street if they look round and see you flash they assume you are letting them out. There is a stretch of road near me that the surface is like the moon along with lots of side streets joining it. If you ride a bike down there with your lights on and hit a bump/hole then it looks like your lights flash and cars pull out - its happened to me.

But, maybe this is less of a problem with headlight modulators and more with us Brits being too courtious :eek:
 
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