Tom Barber sent in this text and photos describing how he made his Yamaha FJR1300 more visible to other drivers/riders on the road. On 10/5/02 he wrote:

I don't particularly care for the looks of large tail trunks (top cases), but I wanted to put something other than a soft bag on the tail rack. I saw a picture of this tail trunk from Chase Harper's Stealth line and ordered one. I also ordered an LED strip and the Backoff controller to make the LEDs flash on and off.

Part of the reason that I wanted to put a tail trunk such as this on was that I wanted to install an LED strip. The reason is that I suspect that drivers are becoming conditioned to associate braking with that 3rd brake light in cars and don't necessarily react to the regular brake light the way that they used to. Also if a driver sees your brake light only after you have already applied the brake, they don't see the change in brightness and in this case there is a failure to trip the brain's primeval mechanism for detecting movement.

Perhaps this is the reason why the law was changed to require cars to have the 3rd brake light. That, along with the flashing LEDs and the reflective tape, has produced the desired effect. Since I did this over a month ago, I can recall only a single instance of an automobile driver staying too close on the highway or approaching too close or too quickly at a stop light.

The frontal view above was taken with flash and it demonstrates how the 3M reflective tape (between the headlights) reflects light back to the source. When a car shines its headlights on this tape, that light is always reflected back toward the headlights no matter what the angle of the tape surface relative to the light source.

This is the same tape that is on the rear of the panniers but it doesn't look as bright in the above photo because the daylight washes out the flash. I don't know how they make this stuff but I will speculate that it involves a specific crystalline molecule. My reason for putting this on the front was not for safety but was purely to change the look. It is interesting but I'm undecided on whether it is going to stay.

Note the Backoff light attached to the upper rear edge of the tail trunk.

To connect the Backoff controller you need to connect to the running light, the brake light, and the ground. I first thought that it would be easy to access these at the wiring harness that runs along the side of the sub-frame, but that turned out not to be the case. I pulled one of the bulb sockets out so I could access the wires there.

The easiest method then was to cut all three wires, strip all six wire ends, solder six sections of wire with matching gauge and apply heat shrink (using a butane lighter). This left me with six wire ends but now easily accessible. To finish without having an excess of loose wires I wrapped it all up neatly with vinyl tape.