Originally Posted by codprawn
May I ask why you don't use your headlight in daylight? To me it is one of the best ways of all of us motorists noticing a bike.
Towards the end of WWII the US navy experimented with the use of daytime running lights as a form of camouflage for their anti-sub bombers. It reduced the 'visibility threshold' from 10km to 2km. The research was scrapped because other methods of non-visual detection became more widely used, so the 'camouflage' design had to change.
Its a well known but little publiced fact that if you're riding with the sun low behind you then having a headlight on (or highviz for that matter) breaks up your silhoutte thus making you significantly LESS visible, and that its far harder to judge approach speed of an oncoming vehicle if it has its lights on - you can get away with it on a car because, since there are 2 light sources the brain can make a judgement based on looming, but on a bike you don't have that luxury.
Have you ever watched a bike approaching along a straight road? The slightest undulation in the surfaces causes the pitch of the bike to change, effectively making the headlight appear to flash. There are very plausible theories that some right of way violations at junctions are as a direct result of the waiting driver believing that he has been 'flashed out' by the bike.
At the end of the day I take every step that I believe will prevent me from having a crash. These range from loud pipes (they really DO make a huge difference), to road position, to careful observation and planning, and yes, in low light I have my lights on - I tend to turn them on on the bike sooner than I would in the car for instance. Touch wood so far its paid off and I don't believe for a second that I've had any incidents that would have been prevented had I had a light on. In fact I can only recall maybe 3 near misses that were the fault of a car driver. In 2 cases they simply failed to look at all and in the 3rd case someone joining the motorway decided to try to force me out of the way. A light can only work if someone's looking at you and gives a sh*t.