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Old 08-20-2011, 04:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Headlight Modulator - Any Recommendations/Comments?

Anyone installed one that they like or dislike?

Any brands that are goood or not so good?

The ones I have looked at (so far)are:

Kriss
http://www.kriss.com/h4mod.php

Comagination
http://www.comagination.com/modulator.htm

Kisan
https://www.kisantech.com/index.php?cat_id=2

Are there any others that are better?

Any maufacturers that riders have had trouble with or have failed?

Problems with install of any brands?
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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This is just my input and it's only my opinion. It's not to flame the subject but some will be offended.

I just had this conversation with another rider that swears that since he installed one about 6 years ago he has never had another "close call". I instead chalk it up to the fact that his experience level was finally adequate 6 years ago and he finally became a good rider, lol. Here is the simple problem I have with them, and this comes striaght from law enforcement agencies that try to protect the lives of cops. My girl wanted to be a civil servant, like a park police or animal cop, at one point in her life. She graduated with a Criminal Justice degree but decided not to be a cop as the locals were only willing to hire her for a beat patrol.

The one thing they stressed over and over was this thing about how when a cop pulls you over they are supposed to pull in behind you at an angle in such that the driver side of the car is visible to oncoming traffic. Basically a 45 degree angle to the road with the taillights pointed towards the grass and the headlights towards the road and car that was pulled over. The idea is to make the side of the car more visible to oncoming traffic. You see if they pull over directly behind the car a car from behind might only see the taillights of a vehicle and if the officer is not in the vehicle the brakes won't be on. Some drivers think it is a car on the road driving and plow right through the patrol car. We've all seen this on those tv "extreme video" dramas. So where am I going with this and why does this pertain to motorcycles with modulating headlights? Well in their training they are told that numerous studies have gone back and interviewed the driver of the car that strikes the patrol car and there is enough evidence to provide a trend. The trend is that drunk drivers are drawn to flashing lights like flies to poo. It's just magnetic. Drunk drivers, and tired drivers as well, tend to fixate upon the flashing lights. In their mind they know they don't want any part of the cop and what is going on, however in their "attempts" to not collide with the lights, they spend all of their energy staring directly at them. As riders we all know what happens to a rider during target fixation, riders in turns suddenly stare at the guard rail and then seem to ride directly into and/or over the guards. This is the exact same phenomenon that the police say happens with drunk drivers and flashing lights.

So if the police know that flashing lights protect them from alert drivers but make them a magnet for drunk drivers and train their cadets to prevent this, then I want to distance myself from that situation as much as possible.

One thing they train you for in the MSF courses is that there are no "accidents" only collisions. They also point out that in ever collision both parties hold some responsibility. Were you riding faster than you were scanning the road ahead for possible danger? Did you anticipate and take preventative actions that a person ahead might pull out in front of you? Are you watching the drivers around you for signals and clues that they may abruptly change lanes? Riders I know swear that modulators let them be "seen", when in fact they should be doing the looking themselves and preparing for danger. I don't want a driver on a 2 lane road to stare at my headlight and then cross the lane hitting me head on, that's just not my style. There is proof that this happens all the time to the police and they train for this. I don't know if there is any database that says that modulators were the reason for an accident, but I also don't know of any that says a modulator prevented one either. I say ride smart, stay safe.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:11 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I appreciate the info and I considered this before making my decision.
But a vast amount of motorcycle accidents are due to the other driver not seeing the motorcycle.
Also a lot of those accidents are due to either the auto turning left across the riders path or pulling out in front of a motorcycle. Again, due to not seeing the motorcycle.
I appreciate your perspective, but do not want this post to become a pro/con discussion; that would be good topic for a separate post.

I am looking for info about the best modulator and one that will last more than a couple of years.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Just check the laws in your state as it pertains to flashing headlights most are illegal.....
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Modulators are legal in all 50 states and Canada and are actually required in a few states.
They actually do not switch on/off they drop from 100% to about 20% power.

Please keep this thread about modulator brands and reliability.
If you want to comment about other side items; please start another thread.
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Old 09-04-2011, 03:37 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by caferacermike View Post
The trend is that drunk drivers are drawn to flashing lights like flies to poo.
Your argument makes a lot sense - if there were more dunks than sober people on the road! But the IIHS says over half of all motorcycle accidents are multi-vehicle accidents. In those multi-vehicle crashes 75% of the time the motorcycle was struck from the front, and the "other" vehicle was turning left 42% of the time. Can't find statistics on how many pull-out in front of us.

Quote:
Did you anticipate and take preventative actions that a person ahead might pull out in front of you? Are you watching the drivers around you for signals and clues that they may abruptly change lanes?
The NHTSA says 90% of motorcycle crashes occur on urban or rural highways, and that 37% of the time the rider took no preventive action - not even hitting the brakes. How's that compare to highly trained LEO's? Odd, 38% of the time, the LEO didn't take any preventive measures, either. So much for anticipation as a defense.

Quote:
I don't know if there is any database that says that modulators were the reason for an accident, but I also don't know of any that says a modulator prevented one either.
True - but there might be a few studies...

Cyclists report that the distance at which they would be first recognized by a driver was twice that estimated by the "other" drivers - a deadly combination.

When turning left, the estimated arrival time is UNDER-estimated based on the size and speed of the approaching vehicle. Motorcycles being small sure doesn't help.

People just don't see motorcycles - it's a perception-thing! In fact, that study says it may even be a first-fixation thing, too. I don't know about you, but I want to be the first thing on which they fixate.

Anecdotal evidence: yes, I've been using modulators for about ten years. Yes, I swear by them 1) The day I bought my 900-pound, bright yellow Gold Wing I had 3 people not "see" me in the 45 mile drive home before I could install my modulator. 2) Went to the Indy car races at mid-Ohio, and my modulators quit working AFTER we got there (broken wire). When we left, we hadn't gone half a mile before someone turned left in front of us, and I had to hit the brakes hard enough my wife ended-up sitting in the front seat!

Live to ride. Blink to live! I'll never own another motorcycle without a modulator, thanks!
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILMONSTRO View Post
Just check the laws in your state as it pertains to flashing headlights most are illegal.....
Summary: you're technically correct, but flash and modulate are two very different things, according to federal law. Federal law wins: states can't override federal law, and modulators are legal in all states!

Now, the long version...

You're right - flashing lights are illegal in most states. But what does the term "flashing" mean?

Federal regulations defines "Flash" as "a cycle of activation and deactivation of a lamp by automatic means continuing until stopped either automatically or manually."

But modulators don't flash! They... well, modulate! And the term "modulate" is defined, in absolutely no uncertain terms, by federal regulation Title 49 CFR, Part 571.108, section 7.9.4.

States and political subdivisions cannot make modulators illegal, according to Chapter 301, Section 30103, under Preemption.

In response to a question concerning the rights of a state to make modulators illegal, the NHTSA Acting Chief Counsel, John Womack, told Signal Dynamics that states cannot make them illegal. Period.

When states or political subdivisions have a law saying modulators are illegal (or the officer issues a ticket for "flashing lights"), as long as you have a modulator that meets federal specifications, a little thing called the United States Constitution says they lose. It's commonly called the Supremacy Clause.

States are allowed to adopt their own law, as long as it is identical to the federal law. Check the American Motorcyclists Association list of state laws to see if modulators are specifically mentioned for your state.

I know the state of Washington has a specific law, but it differs from federal law. So if you got a ticket in Washington for having your modulator hooked-up to your low beams, federal law preempts, you win (if you have a good lawyer). Washington law says modulators are legal at night - federal law says no, they are not legal at night!

I've seen many posts saying that in the state of New York they are illegal. Odd, the NY DMV says they ARE legal, specifically!

I live in Ohio, and the AMA sites says Ohio has a law allowing modulators. I searched, I couldn't find the exact Ohio law, so I contacted the AMA legal-eagle types, and they gave me the number of the law. I looked it up, Ohio "references" FMVSS 571.108, thereby "adopting" it into Ohio law.

Hope this helps.

Live to ride. Blink to live! Enjoy the ride.
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