Letters to the Editor

Strobe lights prove difficult for some on the road | Letter to the Editor

Driving to work the day I write this, I pulled over to the shoulder and waited for several minutes until a bicyclist from about 1,000 feet away passed. The strobe lights used on the front of bikes on the island are so visually upsetting to me that I actually become nauseated. It does not matter whether it is light or dark out, the effect is the same: I feel ill and my head hurts.

I have, in years past, been a bicyclist on Vashon, and I am an avid walker. I completely understand the need to be seen when you are a vulnerable being on the side of the road as large, fast vehicles pass. But with the advent of LEDs, the lights for cyclists and walkers have become piercing and remain so from

greater distances. Averting one’s eyes works, if the light is not pulsating. But when a light is on strobe mode, it is very invasive and nearly impossible to avoid.

I have heard that this sort of pulsing light can trigger seizures in those who live with epilepsy.

I am hoping that walkers and cyclists who use LED lights, including myself, will take note of this situation and choose the non-strobe mode when riding or walking the sides of Vashon’s roads.


— Debbie Butler


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

Read the Oct 19
Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Browse the archives.

Friends to Follow

View All Updates