As bikers, we know that people just don’t see us. We ride like we are invisible because to a lot of people we are. Intersections are one of the most dangerous places for us on the road. Cars pull out in front of us with regularity, and the result can be devastating.
So what if I told you there was a $70.00 part that would significantly reduce the chances of a car pulling out in front of you – would you be interested? I sure was, so I looked into it. Here is what I found.
The part is known as a modulating headlight. It causes the headlight to dim and brighten in rapid succession. I have seen bikes on the road with modulating headlights, and all I can say is wow – they really grab your attention! They jump right out at you, and everyone I talk to, whether a cager or a biker – says the same thing. I have heard some people question whether it is legal, and the answer is a resounding YES! In fact, there is a federal law that makes it legal in all 50 states during daylight hours, and it is also legal in every province in Canada.
Some of you are familiar with older styles of modulators that would always modulate. This style required that you hook it up to your high or low beam only, so you could save the other brightness level for night time riding. This was less than ideal, as it required you to sacrifice your high beams or use your high beams only while riding at night.
The present generation of modulators has solved that problem. During daylight hours, your headlight modulates on both high and low beams. As darkness descends, a sensor shuts off the modulator, and both the high and low beam are available for use. It is really the best of both worlds.
A couple weeks ago, I had the Signal Dynamics Diamond Star Headlight Modulator installed on my Sportster. There are a couple different brands available, and they are generally available on the internet, from motorcycle shops, and even from amazon.com and e-bay. Space was tight, but everything was mounted inside the headlamp, so it is a very clean and totally stock look, other than the tiny sensor sticking out the bottom of the lamp.
The result was perfect. The system performs exactly as advertised, and had even more features than I realized.
The features include:
- Toggle Modulation ON and OFF – The modulation of the headlight can be toggled on and off by the user at any time. When the bike is started the default is modulation ON. To turn the modulation on or off simply switch your bikes high low beam switch to the opposite position, and then back to the original position within one second this can be done with the switch in either the high or low beam position.
- Auto Night Shut-Off – The Diamond Star Headlight Module is designed to automatically turn on and off at specific light levels in order to comply with the DOTs regulation of no night time modulation.
- To Switch From Max to Min Mode – The Diamond Star Headlight Module is equipped with two levels of modulation to meet your visibility requirements. Both are fully DOT compliant. The default level is “Max” when the bike is turned on, but can easily be toggled to “Min” or back to “Max” by simply pressing the horn button twice within one second.
- Heads Up Alert – The Diamond Star Headlight Module can be connected to your bikes horn wire in order to add a visual alert to your horns audible alert. Pressing the horn will cause your headlight to modulate for 3 seconds, then return to steady on or toggle between min and max mode for 3 seconds if it is already modulating.
- Emergency Headlight Feature – The Diamond Star Headlight Module is constantly monitoring the bulb that you have selected high beam or low beam. In the event the bulbs should fail the alternate bulbs will instantly be turned on. This switching will only be done once when the bike is turned off and then back on you will not have use of the bulb that failed until it is repaired or replaced.
But the real proof was obtained on the road. I am always watching for the eyes of drivers when they are in a position to cause me harm. I hope that if the driver makes eye contact with me, they won’t pull out in front of me. The difference with the modulating headlight is huge. Its almost funny to see people snap their heads around when they see the modulating headlight coming; I think someone is going to get whiplash! It really grabs people’s attention, and there is no question why when you drive past reflectorized road signs. Even in broad daylight you can see the light pulsing off the signs.
In short, I feel much safer with the modulating headlight. I highly recommend it to everyone, as I can’t think of another product that will increase your safety margin to this degree for only $70.00.
Thanks for reading, and ride safe!
Adam M. Gee, Esq.
NY and PA Motorcycle Accident Attorney
The Ziff Law Firm, LLP
303 William Street
Elmira, NY 14901