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Installing blinking headlights for safety

4473 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Mase
I've learned a ton from all the great posts on this site.

In return, my first how-to post...


My friends who are veteran riders strongly encouraged me to install a blinking headlight modulator, especially for all the crazy drivers here in SF.

Install is pretty straightforward, basically plug and play. But a few points to note:

- I'd order it straight from Signal Dynamics. Yes, it's DOT compliant for all 50 states.
They're great folks, and if you have any technical problems they're happy to accept returns. Unlike some other vendors on eBay and such

- Make sure you order the EUROPEAN H7 harness with the orange brackets, for the narrower 12.5mm spacing which the R3 bulbs use. I mistakenly ordered the JAPANESE harrness with the blue brackets, but those are too wide at 15.8mm. Go figure, we have a Japanese bike, right?

- Contrary to the install instructions, I think there is a polarity issue with how it plugs into the power harness (not the light bulb side). I blew a bunch of 15amp fuses in the process. So have a bunch of spares handy, and just try by process of elimination.

- I'm still a bit concerned that other drivers will misinterpret the blinking headlight as a turn signal. And if they're bothered by high beams, all the better. Hey, better they see something than nothing at all.

I would ideally have liked to have both headlights blinking at once, but this does not appear to be possible. Just the right side blinking on low beam, and left side blinking on high beam. I talked to the folks at Signal Dynamics, and the only way to get both to blink would be to install a third headlight or some sort of load (one bulb on the low output on the harness, and two bulbs for the two high beam harnesses). More trouble than I wanted, and also couldn't figure out where to hang a third headlight. Not to mention battery issues with an extra bulb.

There's also an optical sensor that switches the blinking automatically off at night, to be DOT compliant. I just cut out a triangle of foam, and wedged it into the middle space in the nose of the bike.


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Flashing headlights are DOT approved?

Unless being used for hazard lights when stationary that is a bust in California.

Had a friend busted for it 28 years ago after taking a headlight modulating relay off a six flags security vehicle.
I don't know if it "legal" but here in Georgia I've noticed that there are a good amount of Harley riders using this in the past year.

Now I'm noticing that most of the Harley guys are converting over to LED setups...

I'm running a standard Nokya 4,300k halogen high beam with a 1,000k yellow low beam halogen.

I figured since red is the first color that the brain recognizes (that's why stop lights, stop signs, brake lights, yield signs, firetrucks, some ambulances, and cops have red in their red & blue flashing combination strobe lights) and since yellow is a lighter shade of red (red and green make yellow) that it would help a little bit with being seen BUT NOT blind them with yellow high beams.

I haven't had anyone flash at me, double tap their brake lights while in front of me, or adjust their rear view mirrors while in front of my so I don't see any reason to remove the yellow bulbs.
I personally hate them and find them annoying.
I personally hate them and find them annoying.
If I had to stare at my own headlights I'd be annoyed too. But fortunately I'm on the other side of them. And if it catches the eye of other drivers, then they served their purpose.

According to the company, they are fully DOT compliant at least in the US.

Are flashing headlight(s) legal?

Yes they are! There is a federal law supersedes all state laws and makes motorcycle headlight modulators legal in all 50 states. FMVSS 108 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) (49 CFR Part 571.108 S7.9.4) allows motorcycle headlight modulation systems in all 50 states provided they comply with the standards set forth in this section:
A headlamp on a motorcycle may be wired to modulate either the upper beam or the lower beam from its maximum intensity to a lesser intensity provided that:
(a) The rate of modulation shall be 240 plus-or-minus 40 cycles per minute.
(b) The headlamp shall be operated at maximum power for 50 to 70 percent of each cycle.
(c) The lowest intensity at any test point shall not be less than 17 percent of the maximum intensity measured at the same point.
For other countries, such as Canada, please consult with your local department of motor vehicles.
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I'm sorry but I think causing oncoming motorists to think that you're signalling to turn is way more dangerous than just riding normally and defensively. A driver will be much more likely to do the dreaded left turn of death in front of you, thinking that you're going to also turn at the intersection.
I think the effect you're looking for can be much more easily and safely achieved by attaching a simple bicycle strobe light to the top of your helmet.
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