Sequential Integrated LED Tail Lights for Motorcycles
Custom LED occasionally is asked if our Blaster-X Line of High-Performance Integrated LED Tail Lights have Sequential Turn Signals or not. For those of you who are wondering what an Integrated LED Tail Light looks like with Sequential Turn Signals, there are two illustrations below.
Custom LED has concluded to NOT incorporate Sequential Turn Signals into our Blaster-X Integrated LED Tail Lights because we believe Sequential Turn Signals are LESS noticeable and effective than "standard" Turn Signal Integration.
You may think that Sequential Turn Signals are more perceptible than Non-Sequential, but our research has concluded otherwise. If you would like to read about the summary of our findings, please read on.
Viewed at 1 foot
Admittedly, Sequential Turn Signals seem like a good idea on paper. There have been cars on the road with sequential turn signals from the factory - so it must be effective, right? Well, when it comes to motorcycle tail lights, and Integrated LED Tail Lights for that matter, it is actually LESS effective to have sequential turn signals based on our study. Keep in mind, a motorcycle tail light is often less than 6 inches wide.
To illustrate the relative effectiveness of Sequential VS Non-Sequential Tail Lights for motorcycles, we can use some simple illustrations. If you look at the illustration on the right, you can see a simple representation of a Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light on the top, and a Non-Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light on the bottom. Let's call this a view from 1 foot distance from the motorcycle tail light. Basically, this is a view of the tail light with your eyes right immediately behind the motorcycle.
In this illustration, it seems that the Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light is effective in properly indicating a turn signal and the direction to the right. It's hard to consider it being any better than the Non-Sequential tail light however. It's a draw based on personal preference, and not necessarily functionality. In other words, there may be a "cool factor" but not necessarily an increase in visibility
Viewed at 20 feet
Now, if we push back this illustration as if the tail light is 20 feet away as is shown on the right, you start to see the advantage of the standard Non-Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light over the Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light. At this distance, it's already hard to see the yellow portion of the tail light because of the size. To put it in perspective, 20 feet is less than safe following distance at 25mph. Imagine what 100 feet would look like for highway speed?
If you stare at the Sequential illustration on the right for a few cycles, and then move your eyes to the Non-Sequential illustration for a few cycles, you can see that the Non-Sequential Integrated LED Tail Light is clearly more noticeable at distance.
The Sequential version produces a slow increase in yellow light to indicate the turn, whereas the Non-Sequential version produces a sudden burst of yellow light to indicate the turn. Would you configure your brake light to slowly increase in brightness when you hit the brakes? Or would you want your brake light to dramatically increase brightness at the onset of brake application? The answer is clearly that you would want a sudden increase in brightness, which is what gets the attention of the observer(s). So why would you want a gradual increase in brightness for your turn signals then?
We believe that the misconception that favors Sequential Integrated LED Tail Lights is that the priority should be to indicate the direction of the turn. Unfortunately this gives a lack of priority to the indication of the turn signal itself. In other words, the Sequential Tail Light has additional functionality that helps indicate the direction of the turn, BUT sacrifices the most important aspect which is to indicate the turn signal itself! If the observer doesn't even notice your turn signals at all, then they can't tell which direction you are turning anyway. The goal of any signaling system should be to command the attention of the observer in the first place as a priority. Once you have the attention of the observer, your actions and intentions are easily understood generally speaking when compared to not being noticed at all.
The bottom line is that Custom LED believes Non-Sequential turn signals for Integrated LED Tail Lights for motorcycles is more effective than Sequential. Custom LED was founded by a motorcycle enthusiast, with values and principles that uphold safety through effective features and high-performance. It is choice that gives consumers the power to distinguish one product from another. We would never criticize a company for making a product that consumers want, however we would urge consumers to educate themselves so that they can make their choice without being influenced by marketing fads and momentum. Just because something is "different" doesn't make it necessarily better, and first impressions can be misleading.