Trailer visibility


Information, ideas, experiences and help with camping, pulling a trailer and roughing it on your Goldwing
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Sharon2665
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Trailer visibility

Post by Sharon2665 »



We are getting ready to head out on a trip through the north western states and see the sites. This is our first trip where we will be pulling a trailer behind our GW Trike. The trailer is narrower than the back of the Trike so it’s hard to see in my bikes mirrors. I’m most worried about other cars pulling over into or lane to soon because the don’t realize there’s a trailer behind the bike. We’d like to put some type of elevated flag on the end of the trailer for visibility. Having a hard time finding anything other than those made for bicycles which I have already heard will not stand up to highway speeds. Any suggestions on what to use?


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Andy Cote
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Andy Cote »

I am unsure how courteous the cage drivers are in the Northwest. Here in my neck of the woods, They can't ever be trusted. One would think that an extra eight feet of trailer would never be an issue but ……..

Of course we will all talk about defensive driving skills. Never linger, stay out of blind spots, watch for the common yielding failures, yada, yada, yada. In the end, you are still somewhat at the mercy of the zombies. A refresher trip through a MC riders course might be worthwhile.

Not sure what you have for a trailer. Could you add something to the top? A rack with a bag on it, car topper, a bicycle on a rack, stuffed pink elephant? AZgl1800 has swim noodles that he likes. Floppy, attention getting and harmless if they hit something.

As far as flags go, Firestick antennas have the same rods they use for antennas but w/o wire just for safety flags. See here: http://www.firestik.com/CatalogFrame.htm

Those could be helpful, maybe with their strobe feature on divided highways.

Some extra lights could help. Some people are fans of neon yellow paint. You can add some spot mirrors to help. I always like a nice air horn, strobe brake lights and modulating headlights.
2015 Goldwing, basic black

Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas
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Sharon2665
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Sharon2665 »

I do like the idea of a pool noodle! We have poles with flags but I don’t think the flags will last at highway speeds. I am mostly worried about passing someone who also wants to get around another vehicle and them not realizing there’s a trailer behind the bike as ours is a pretty small one and doesn’t sit up high. Then the idiots whip over and take out the trailer and therefore me.
Thanks for the ideas. I also like the pink elephant. Maybe I could find one with a flashing trunk on it! Just seen to many idiots on the road and it gets worse all the time. Three yrs ago we did an Month trip on Rt 66. Made it safely until we were coming home. Came through Denver Colorado unscathed and were out in the country and getting off at an exit. Lots of traffic stopped in a line on the exit ramp when I got hit in the back end by my brother in law and his bike. Couldn’t figure out why but quickly came to light that a cager behind them took his foot off the brake and rammed into them thus pushing him into me. Luckily my husband was farther forward and his bike was not effected. Mine was driveable but his had to be towed back to Ohio. It was noon time and come to find out the cops said he was drunk and admitted to taking oxycodone! Two days from home and that happened. So I always like to prepare for the worse just in case.
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AZgl1800
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by AZgl1800 »

I have yet to loose a Pool Noodle, to the wind or to Theft :lol:

on my wood box trailer, it is Bright Yellow with Hazard Stripes on the back

I used Semi Truck LED lights, separate ones for the brakes, and separate Turn Lights, the idea is to spread the "lighting" all over the place. There is a SuperBright 18 LED flashing strobe in the center of the rear panel. It flashes 10 times when brakes are applied and then goes solid.

in city traffic, nearing stops, I use the hand brake to keep tickling the brakes, in 10 second intervals to keep that flasher going. even when stopped waiting for a Green Light. have never, ever, had an LEO visit with me on the subject
Last edited by AZgl1800 on Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
~John

'02 GL1800
2009 Piaggio MP3 250cc
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CrystalPistol
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by CrystalPistol »

I don't pull a trailer but I have one. In taking notice of others, I found that when overtaking a trike with trailer, a trailer of contrasting colors stands out a bazillion times better than a matched trailer … especially if the matched trailer used the same tail lights like some do.

White trailers are really great behind any color trike … except a white trike. You have a white trike I see, red or black or blue or green would all "jump out" at an overtaking vehicle. I also have long held the opinion that nice big amber signal lamps and red tail / brake lamps go extremely well together, and a high center mount bright "brake only" light works supperb as well.

As to a "flag" to watch, a old school spring mount fiberglass whip of 48" length would work great, put reflective tape on it and your small flag of choice … or just a red flag.

Side lights should be amber towards front of trailer, red towards rear. My trailer is same Candy Spectra Red as the trike, it was like that. I have intentions of adding amber forward facing lights on front of trailer out near the corners. I also want to add more contrast at the rear. I have a black top now. I have more to do out back myself.

I just read the "pool noodle" idea, I like that. In a bright green or yellow would certainly stand out. I could slit it, cut to length and wrap the polished tie down / top trim rear crass part … or … just run a good strong cord through it and tie to the cross bar portion and let it move a little.


Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)
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Andy Cote
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Andy Cote »

Again depends on your trailer but on my Kompact Kamp I upgraded all the rear lights. I used school bus amber and red lights from Superbrite LEDs. I also added a third brake light made by Sound Off Signal for emergency vehicles. Very bright strobe with five quick flashes then a solid signal. I added some aluminum diamond tread plate for additional reflection and contrast.

None of that created the height I think you wanted. I was thinking like you that something higher may be nice but I was concerned with wind drag. That's why I was looking hard at Firestick; especially the version that has the lights on top.

I've since sold that trailer and my new trailer doesn't lend itself to these changes. I did add Hyperlite 3 way lights to the rear and replaced the stock 1157 bulbs with SCMG Xtreme LEDs. Still thinking about other options. Pretty attention getting as is except for that one situation you describe.
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2015 Goldwing, basic black

Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas
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AZgl1800
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by AZgl1800 »

I like the large Square inches of the School Bus lights that you got, but with my Wood Box, there was no way to install them, not enough room on the back.

So, I elected to go the Semi Truck LED route and use the metal brackets to hold the lights off to the outside of the trailer.... that created more width between the two lights, my Trailer is 32" ID square, so the OD is about 2 inches more. and the lights give it about 3 inches each side more width.....

at the time I bought my lights, I did not see the School Bus LED lights... either I missed them, or they were not available at the time.
~John

'02 GL1800
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Andy Cote
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Andy Cote »

AZgl1800 wrote: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:45 am I like the large Square inches of the School Bus lights that you got, but with my Wood Box, there was no way to install them, not enough room on the back.

So, I elected to go the Semi Truck LED route and use the metal brackets to hold the lights off to the outside of the trailer.... that created more width between the two lights, my Trailer is 32" ID square, so the OD is about 2 inches more. and the lights give it about 3 inches each side more width.....

at the time I bought my lights, I did not see the School Bus LED lights... either I missed them, or they were not available at the time.
John,

I liked them when I saw them. Not sure how long SuperbrightLED has had them. They actually are thru bolted surface mount; one screw in each corner and a center hole for the wires. They only concern I had was the sides have a slight curve to them so if you butt them tight together, they end up with a gap at each end and I was trying to cover the existing hole for the original recessed lights. Then I thought of the aluminum to cover the existing hole plus more and mounted the lights to that. I was really happy with the end result.

The SCMG Xtreme LEDs for the 1157 replacement are also nice. Much, much better than older LED replacements.
2015 Goldwing, basic black

Previously: GL1200 standard, GL1200 Interstate, GL1500 Goldwing, GL1500 Valkyrie Standard, 2000 Valkyrie Interstate, many other Hondas
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offcenter
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by offcenter »

On the trailer I built years ago, I had the same concern about the trailer not being seen.
I found a pair of chrome directional signals off of a Yamaha that had fairly long chrome
stalks so that they protruded out from the side of the bike.
I mounted those lights standing vertically on the edges of the lid of the trailer and
wired them into the tail lights and directional signals.
They stuck up high enough to be visible above the fender of most cars.
George in Jersey.
99 Goldwing GL-1500 SE
76 Goldwing Gl-1000
77 Honda CT-90 "Trail 90"
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Sharon2665
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Sharon2665 »

We have done a lot with the lights that are actually on the trailer and added more on both the back end and the sides. My biggest worry is still that guy that’s next to me on a divided highway and decides to just whip over as soon as my bike passes him because he can’t see the trailer behind me.
Thank you so much for the Firestick idea. I had never heard of them so the link was perfect. I see they also sell the whips and flags and when I looked around the site I saw where they had used them on a truck that did 342 mi in 1/2 mi. So I guess I would not have to worry about them holding up to highway speeds now would I? I thought about getting the CB antennas as they are colored and a little larger but not sure if that would be better than the flag whipping around. The strobe would be the best but I’m sure it is probably illegal on the highway in one of the states we will be in if not all.
My husband found some LED lighted whips that are made for ATVs that you can set the color you want on them etc and even have them flashing (which I’m sure is also illegal) but I’m not sure how they would hold up at 70 mph! But I think the Firesticks might have given us a good solution. Looks like they even have some hardware that would help to mount them to the side of the trailer. I’ll let you know how it works if we go with that.
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Sharon2665
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by Sharon2665 »

Andy Cote wrote: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:27 am Again depends on your trailer but on my Kompact Kamp I upgraded all the rear lights. I used school bus amber and red lights from Superbrite LEDs. I also added a third brake light made by Sound Off Signal for emergency vehicles. Very bright strobe with five quick flashes then a solid signal. I added some aluminum diamond tread plate for additional reflection and contrast.

None of that created the height I think you wanted. I was thinking like you that something higher may be nice but I was concerned with wind drag. That's why I was looking hard at Firestick; especially the version that has the lights on top.

I've since sold that trailer and my new trailer doesn't lend itself to these changes. I did add Hyperlite 3 way lights to the rear and replaced the stock 1157 bulbs with SCMG Xtreme LEDs. Still thinking about other options. Pretty attention getting as is except for that one situation you describe.
Thanks Andy. Looks like those Firesticks would mount on the sides of your new trailer and give you the up top visibility you want. Those are great large size lights for the back end.
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CrystalPistol
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Re: Trailer visibility

Post by CrystalPistol »

Andy Cote wrote: Tue Jul 23, 2019 5:27 am Again depends on your trailer but on my Kompact Kamp I upgraded all the rear lights. I used school bus amber and red lights from Superbrite LEDs. I also added a third brake light made by Sound Off Signal for emergency vehicles. Very bright strobe with five quick flashes then a solid signal. I added some aluminum diamond tread plate for additional reflection and contrast.
Nice job. Big lights = good. I've come up behind tractor trailers with sheets of polished aluminum or stainless steel on the rear at night, attention getting and even if you know you're on low beams, you tend to check again. I have considered the idea for my CM2000 as well as a "pool noodle" (yellow or green?) on the tie down rail.

I saw one (looked like my CM2000 when I caught up) a few months ago one night being pulled down I-81 that the whole back end was covered in red & white reflectorized tape in patterns except the trailer's tail lights. It must have been a mile ahead when first I noticed it, the Forester's LED head lights really lit it up. The lit-up tails mostly showed up only really well when there was a curve or dip blocked my headlights from the reflector tape, almost too much tape effects.

Good 20+ years ago we rode with a group down to Virginia Beach to see a full moon over the ocean & sunrise, couple in front of me had a 1100, had two whips on back with a safety vest with reflector strips strung between them, it was moving around a lot in the breeze and really stood out.

I don't know why I even consider it except that I like to tinker. Trailer hasn't been out for a few years now?

Red to rear …. Amber to front (and OK for rear signals).


Make Courtesy your "Code of the Road" …

… & Have a Safe Trip!
:)
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