Instructables

Bicycle Turn Indicators

Being a bicyclist in the East Bay is a hard task at times with drivers who don't know how to signal and being yelled at to "get out of the street and on to the side walk" (even though it's illegal),

Whats even harder is attempting to warn drivers when you are going to turn. You could throw your hand out, but this can make you loose stability and most people don't remember the ways to put your hands. This instructable seeks to make warning drivers and other cyclists that much more easier, and make your more visible while doing it especially at night.

Alas this is the premise for the Bicycle Turn Indicators, another pal in the "Make Your Bike Into A Car Series"

 
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Step 1: The Flashing Circuit

When first considering this project i thought of all kinds of ways to make lights flash from using an arduino to a 555 circuit to the circuit Kipkay uses for his LED Fan Sign http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2008/10/weekend_project_ultimate.html. My Friend and coworker JacobAziza http://www.instructables.com/member/JacobAziza/ mentioned that he had to change out his mechanic relay on his car and motorcycle to run it of LEDs. PERFECT! why build a circuit from scratch when the circuit already exists for automobiles?

A note about flashing circuit relays for cars, There are two kinds electrical and mechanic. Make sure you pick up an Electrical one, i made this mistake, and got the right one off ebay. Below are some pictures.
y not just program an ic to flick the led set u have picked much more quiet and powered by a tun of coils on the wheel all spinning arround a magnets on the fork and have a shape on the indicators so u can tell with is witch when its dark ok bye
i mean for the coils they would be on the inside of the case close enough to the magnets on the spokes with black paint on a clear peice of plexi glass for the light to go through so u dont get confused with the sides ok bye again...

The flasher is there probably so that he can here the blinkers operating.

I'm all for learning how to make some bike turn signals, but your opening is absolutely horrific. "Being a bicyclist is hard." What? No it's not. If you can ride a bike, you're a bicyclist. Not hard. "Whats even harder is attempting to warn drivers when you are going to turn. You could throw your hand out, but that make you loose stability and who wants to remember all the "proper" ways to put your hands?" If you have that much difficulty signaling without loosing stability, then yeah, you probably should be in traffic. For that matter, if you can't keep straight for a few seconds with only one hand, you should probably give up cycling. If you're unwilling to learn the correct ways to pilot a vehicle, you shouldn't use it. That's like saying "Who wants to learn pesky driving laws." I understand a common way to advertise something is to create a need in the reader, but painting the picture that cycling is difficult and dangerous is not going to convince someone to start riding a bike. Much less build blinkers for it. Sorry to come off as crazy, but I'll go out on a limb and ask you to revise your opening. It's really just inaccurate, bad advertising.
Here's ALL three ways to properly signal while riding a bicycle.
bicycle-hand-signals.jpg
Well thats the old way. All the signs are done on the left side because the signs were originally used for people when they were in their tractors.

It is actually still used today on motorcycles, because you are supposed to use the front brake for most of your stopping power; and since it is on your right it leaves the other hand free for signaling.

frenzy (author)  toekneebullard4 years ago
on most city streets cycling can be and is a harder task than most would appreciate. this is what i ment by "being a bicyclist is hard". I'm sure anyone who has been yelled at while biking (and getting the famous doppler complaint) or anyone who has been hit can agree with this. This instructable seeks to make cycling a little more easier for both cyclist and driver. being a bicyclist in most cities takes skill and practice. But i don't agree that less able bicyclists should just be banned outright from cycling in traffic. I think that with technological advances we can allow anyone to ride a bike. I know many older bicyclists who are a little uneasy in busy traffic, and do take side streets, which i greatly encourage. I also ride with taller handle bars than most which at very low speeds, like when coming to an intersection waiting to turn left, the handlebars are a little harder to control. I did change the opening a bit to be more clear. thanks for the input
So I see that you only used 1 flasher, how did you wire the left from right?
mattyfu2 years ago
Great instructable, was exactly what I was looking for. The only adjustment I'd suggest is to have the beta cases on the back flipped horizontally because it's not easy for a car following to tell which direction you'll be turning because the right and left turn signals are only a few inches away from eachother.
nottauser3 years ago
Hi frenzy I like the setup you built all be it with beta boxes which I am sure were cheap but I am interested in estetetics(I know I probably spelled that wrong) and design. they appear to function well and as designed and do add to the experience of riding with confidence and a greater sense of security while sharing the road with people who should be able to see you and anticipate where you are going by using the signals is a major perk for all onlookers too! beside that I think it makes as much sense to have turn signals on bikes as it does for motorcycles and cars in our fast paced world of road travel. I am a 47year old kid at heart and love to ride my chopper styled bike downtown for coffee and a people fix and wish I had a setup like yours for my bike. and I am looking into finding the blinker and leds locally and soon to see if I can build a setup like yours with one difference being to orient the lights in a horizontal plane to better define the direction intended when blinking and to create a visual buffer zone between myself and surrounding traffic. I like keeping my hands on the bars next to brakes and shifters and it just seeme natural to have blinker switches there too! If I get mine setup I will send you pics or video .Thanks for the inspiration ! nice work!
IS there a way to circut a Small INdcator LIght by the switch so u know which is on when its night time?
I've always wanted to do this, but wanted to find a way to not deal with programming all those expensive chips that vanish all so easily. I also would like to look into charging the lights off a dynamo...
 where did you get that seat??????????????????????
really wnat one might make one

The seat is a Derri-air basic model; I know because I have one (www.derri-air.com) . They also have a sheep's wool cover for it. Very comfortable compared to a standard seat, but you have to become accustomed to it.
luigi29994 years ago
I have signals similar to this, incandescent in the front, LED in the rear. You should watch some of my youtube videos, I show mine working as hazards.
You have hazard lights?
ensoarts4 years ago
I Love this Instructable!  going to build my own soon.
Quick question though.  If you split your array of 20 in two for 10left turn and 10 right, doesn't that mean you really have 2- 10 LEDarrays? So all 12volts go through whichever side is activated. Whichmight necessitate a recalc of the resistor value. Am i wrong?

Also I'm not clear on how you wired up the switch and flasher circuitany way you could diagram that out?

thanks again, awesome instructable!

Hycro4 years ago
Some of the 6-Volt lantern batteries have 4 non-rechargeable D size batteries inside them, particularly the Energizer metal jacket lantern batteries...I converted one to rechargeable once, by taking the old D cells out, and putting new, rechargeable ones in...
p0g0684 years ago
nice instructable it easily demostrates the process ! so anyone can make their own version thank you
twocvbloke4 years ago
Nice job, I'm working on a set of indicators for my bike, only for the rear I'm using a red trailer marker light (fits perfectly onto my pannier rack's reflector/light mount) which has reflectors either side of the red light (converted to LED) and I plan to drill holes in the reflectors to fit the yellow LEDs, only I can't decide on whether it'll be 3x 8mm or 6x 5mm LEDs... :) I had thought about using a pair of flashing LEDs, one for each side, as the flashers, but the wiring for that would be too much of a headache, but using an automotive relay, now that's a superb idea!!! :D I just need to plan everything out, I'm ok without indicators for the moment, as long as I don't end up on a busy road, but it would be a comfort to have so I can let the eejit drivers behind me know that, though quite nervous, I'm turning... :S Great job, shame about the Betacam cases though, they'd have been great in someone's Betamax library (that's if they are the small Beta size)... :)
This has really got me thinking, the indicators, reading through this, are easy enough, but how about a brake light? They'd be a good idea on most road-going bikes, and I'm sure a microswitch could be fitted to the rear brake lever (always brake with the rear brake, then use the front to add additional braking power), and it shouldn't be too hard to add them to an existing light fixture, or even just modify a light to shine when the brakes are applied... :) But anyway, I decided on 8mm LEDs, and I can't go back cos I have drilled the light lens with an 8mm drill bit, and I have put them in an arrow formation, 3 LEDs per direction on the rear, haven't started on the front yet... :) And I have also come up with a little dashboard for the different functions I'm putting together, left and right indicators, brake warning (as in, lights up when applied) and lights on, I know there's no real need for it, but, I might as well... :D
frenzy (author)  twocvbloke4 years ago
please show me what you come up with when you're done!
Will do, just need to save up a little money for a flasher, the yellow LEDs, a switch and a reel of wire, aswell as a front light of somesort (I just have an LED torch zip-tied onto the handlebars at the moment), it's one of them things I like doing, working out how to do all the wiring, getting it set up, tested and "commissioned"... :) The dashboard looks good, just need to glue in the LEDs and work out how to waterproof it... :D
Are these turn signals bright enough for daytime use, or are they only for nighttime? Thanks!
frenzy (author)  armchair_enthusiast4 years ago
a bit, but they are best at night.
good design.... i like it but the wires need to be "tightened" up a bit so they dont hang out while going down the road... I cringe @ thinking about doing all that work then having some issue cuz a wire got yanked.
JacobAziza4 years ago
In the second video, you have the left signal on, but you are turning right. Kind of defeats the purpose I think.
frenzy (author)  JacobAziza4 years ago
yes yes, the video is meant to demonstrate the turn signal, i'll make an on the road version soon.
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