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A Legal Query

spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
edited October 2010 in The bottom bracket
We have been debating at work ( office full of lawyers!) and no one can come up with exactly what offence is made out

If you have a legal red light attached to your bike and then subsequently choose to fit a blue light to your bike. ( Say one of these but with blue lens, not red http://www.wiggle.co.uk/p/cycle/7/Catey ... 300001124/ )

What offence are you committing, if any? Please give relevant legislation if you think it is an offence.

If instead you fix said blue light to your clothing or to your helmet, is this an offence? Please give relevant legislation if you think it is an offence.

I do not believe the offence of impersonating a police officer is made out as no police officer wears such a light. What other offence do you think there is?
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  • If you become more visible because of a blue light, you're taking active steps to preserve your own life. I know it's a big ''if'' and I've no idea if blue really adds to visibility, but if it does, I can't see any defensible moral* argument for stopping cyclists using them.

    And if a driver catches sight of a blue light in the corner of his eye and suddenly decides to drive within the speed limit and do old-fashioned things like indicating, I still don't see any harm.

    Though if you equip yourself with a blue light and cycle along the street yelling ''nee-naa-nee-naa'' at the top of your voice, then I think you deserve everything you're likely to get.

    *note I say ''moral'' argument, I've no idea about the law.
  • I think you should really get out more
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicle ... edalbi4556

    The use of lighting and reflectors on pedal bicycles is regulated under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. The most recent amendment is Statutory Instrument SI 2005 No. 2559 which came into force on October 23rd 2005.

    Optional lamps and reflectors

    1. Additional lighting to the above mentioned obligatory lights is permitted under certain conditions:
    2. - It must not dazzle other road users
    - It must be the correct colour (white to front, red to rear)
    - If it flashes it must conform to the required flash rate (1-4 equal flashes per second)
    3. Optional lights are not required to conform to BS 6102-3 and there is no minimum level of intensity. So for example, on the rear of the cycle a cyclist may wish to have both a steady red lamp which conforms to BS 6102-3 and an additional flashing lamp which is not meeting the minimum level of 4 candela.
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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Bartimaeus wrote:
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicles/vssafety/guidanceaboutlightsonpedalbi4556

    The use of lighting and reflectors on pedal bicycles is regulated under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. The most recent amendment is Statutory Instrument SI 2005 No. 2559 which came into force on October 23rd 2005.

    Optional lamps and reflectors

    1. Additional lighting to the above mentioned obligatory lights is permitted under certain conditions:
    2. - It must not dazzle other road users
    - It must be the correct colour (white to front, red to rear)
    - If it flashes it must conform to the required flash rate (1-4 equal flashes per second)
    3. Optional lights are not required to conform to BS 6102-3 and there is no minimum level of intensity. So for example, on the rear of the cycle a cyclist may wish to have both a steady red lamp which conforms to BS 6102-3 and an additional flashing lamp which is not meeting the minimum level of 4 candela.


    IF that is correct and applies to lights on bike - what about if you fit light to saddlebag, helmet or clothing. These regs do not appear to cover that though.

    Can you get round the apparent prohibition by fitting it in that way?
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  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    I'm just quoting the DfT website... the CTC summary of the 'mandatory' lighting basically says WHITE front, RED rear - with the rear RED light having to be centre/offside and a certain height. Your extra lights can be anywhere, but WHITE front and RED rear. I only came across this as I was curious as to whether pedal reflectors are mandatory - and they are.

    If you are saying that the wording seems to leave a loophole for any lights not fitted directly to your bike - e.g. saddlebag, lid etc. then I would say that this maybe this is true based on the wording on the DfT website - but my guess is that the actual Regulations will have some legalese to cover this sort of thing.

    I suspect that you will be breaking the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations if you have a flashing blue light on your helmet.
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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Bartimaeus wrote:
    I'm just quoting the DfT website... the CTC summary of the 'mandatory' lighting basically says WHITE front, RED rear - with the rear RED light having to be centre/offside and a certain height. Your extra lights can be anywhere, but WHITE front and RED rear. I only came across this as I was curious as to whether pedal reflectors are mandatory - and they are.

    If you are saying that the wording seems to leave a loophole for any lights not fitted directly to your bike - e.g. saddlebag, lid etc. then I would say that this maybe this is true based on the wording on the DfT website - but my guess is that the actual Regulations will have some legalese to cover this sort of thing.

    I suspect that you will be breaking the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations if you have a flashing blue light on your helmet.

    The wording quoted is interesting. I followed the link you gave. Being a lawyer, I checked the actual redgs, not the DfT site. It is interesting the regs do not say as the DfT implies. The regs are almost impenetrable.

    I need to spend time cross referencing the RVLR and the 2005 ammendment SI to try to work out what the legislation actually says re blue lights and bikes. However, it does seem on the face of it to be permissible to fit light to self or your helmet as its not fitted to the vehicle!


    Thanks for the link. It is food for more research
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  • think you would find it very difficult to have a defence of 'it was attached to my clothing/rucksack/helmet/what ever, not the bike your honour' taken at all seriously

    No matter what the detail of the regs say. When mounted on the cycle you would effectively be 'part' of the road vehicle and if showing a blue light to front or rear you would be breaking the spirit of the law and willfully so, as you would appear to have sought to try to circumnavigate the regualtion. I think it would be taken as an 'optional light' in definition as the regs do not dictate how or where these are fitted and again as the rider and motive power your are an intrinsic part of the road vehicle when it is being used as such.
    How would you defend your reasoning for chossing a blue light rather than more conventional red/amber or white, light colours more normally associated with identifying you as a pedal cycle or slow moving hazzard (forgive the description but it is what you would usually associated Amber lights with). I think it could be argued that your desire was to give the impression of being someone or something other than a regular pedal cyle/cyclist, i.e. something/someone that is more normally would be associated with a blue flashing light?

    So you I believe you could probably take it to court to argue on a pint of law but it would be both costly (as you know) and probably futile
    If it were a motorist, would it be acceptable for the driver to wear a blue flashing miners light?

    In
  • Smokin JoeSmokin Joe Posts: 2,706
    If you become more visible because of a blue light, you're taking active steps to preserve your own life. .
    If I pulled out of a junction and caused a collision with a cyclist who had anything other than a white light on the front of his bike I would be rubbing my hands with glee as I would have a ready made defence.

    White at the front and red at the rear are there for very good and obvious reasons, any fashion junkie who fits different colours is asking for trouble.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Bluetoo wrote:
    ...you would be breaking the spirit of the law and willfully so...
    There are, errr, some people :wink:, who aren't remotely interested in the spirit of the law, only the letter - why, as we all know, even Highway Code isn't the law!
    And don't get me started on what "willfully" means - after all, how can anyone judge the motivations in someone's head?
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,125
    I'm sure the rozzers could pull you over for it and make your life difficult. Up to you if you want to start quoting SI's at them, but I'll stick to white front, red rear for an easy life.
  • Aren't those regs only applicable to retailers when they sell a bike?

    i.e. once you have the bike at home you can make whatever alterations you want.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 57,280 Lives Here
    Spen, are you a lawyer?

    I'm not sure if you've mentioned it or not.

    Surely you're best qualified to answer this question?
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Spen, are you a lawyer?

    I'm not sure if you've mentioned it or not.

    Surely you're best qualified to answer this question?

    I is a lawyer!!!!!!


    However, I am sensible enough to know that I do not know all the laws on everything.

    I usually look up the law before advising on the same. We regularly discuss cases / legislation at work to get views of other lawyers. This is a topic that no one seems 100% certain of. Hence my question
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  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Bluetoo wrote:
    think you would find it very difficult to have a defence of 'it was attached to my clothing/rucksack/helmet/what ever, not the bike your honour' taken at all seriously

    No matter what the detail of the regs say. When mounted on the cycle you would effectively be 'part' of the road vehicle and if showing a blue light to front or rear you would be breaking the spirit of the law and willfully so, as you would appear to have sought to try to circumnavigate the regualtion. I think it would be taken as an 'optional light' in definition as the regs do not dictate how or where these are fitted and again as the rider and motive power your are an intrinsic part of the road vehicle when it is being used as such.
    How would you defend your reasoning for chossing a blue light rather than more conventional red/amber or white, light colours more normally associated with identifying you as a pedal cycle or slow moving hazzard (forgive the description but it is what you would usually associated Amber lights with). I think it could be argued that your desire was to give the impression of being someone or something other than a regular pedal cyle/cyclist, i.e. something/someone that is more normally would be associated with a blue flashing light?

    So you I believe you could probably take it to court to argue on a pint of law but it would be both costly (as you know) and probably futile
    If it were a motorist, would it be acceptable for the driver to wear a blue flashing miners light?

    In


    The letter of the law is what matters in court.

    The law seems to referr to items being fitted to the vehicle. The cyclist or his clothing are not fitted to a vehicle.

    I can see a different argument re light fitted to a saddle bag.


    It is not for the defendant to justify or explain why he chose to show a blue light under these regulations.

    As for red/ amber associating you with slow moving pedal cycle - i am confused as do not motor vehicles all display red & or amber lights?
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  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    edited October 2010
    spen666 wrote:
    Bartimaeus wrote:
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicles/vssafety/guidanceaboutlightsonpedalbi4556

    The use of lighting and reflectors on pedal bicycles is regulated under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. The most recent amendment is Statutory Instrument SI 2005 No. 2559 which came into force on October 23rd 2005.

    Optional lamps and reflectors

    1. Additional lighting to the above mentioned obligatory lights is permitted under certain conditions:
    2. - It must not dazzle other road users
    - It must be the correct colour (white to front, red to rear)
    - If it flashes it must conform to the required flash rate (1-4 equal flashes per second)
    3. Optional lights are not required to conform to BS 6102-3 and there is no minimum level of intensity. So for example, on the rear of the cycle a cyclist may wish to have both a steady red lamp which conforms to BS 6102-3 and an additional flashing lamp which is not meeting the minimum level of 4 candela.


    IF that is correct and applies to lights on bike - what about if you fit light to saddlebag, helmet or clothing. These regs do not appear to cover that though.

    Can you get round the apparent prohibition by fitting it in that way?

    I would think that may be open to interpretation by the court, I don't know of any case law (I haven't looked...)
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    MatHammond wrote:
    I'm sure the rozzers could pull you over for it and make your life difficult. Up to you if you want to start quoting SI's at them, but I'll stick to white front, red rear for an easy life.


    I made it clear this was in addition to the statutory lighting
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  • ProssPross Posts: 29,551
    This is your chance to make a name for yourself and create a legal precedent :wink:
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,678
    I wouldn't personally bring this sort of thing to court in the spirit of road safety. Con and Use / lighting offences are about safety... Yes there could be issues with blue flashing lights, but a little knog type light or somesuch I wouldn't have an issue with at all. Especially if that person has the requisite lights too.

    Would a person with a little blue flashing light on their bike with no other police markings be construed as impersonating a police officer? I doubt it...

    What's the worst that would happen? Car driver thinks 'ooh, blue flashing light, I'd better slow down/stop talking on my mobile' etc etc.
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,551
    I got pulled over shortly after passing my driving test after pulling out in front of another car that had been indicating to turn at the previous junction. The copper who stopped me told me to take my reflective jacket (back before every man and his dog had one) off the parcel shelf as it "might make people think your something your not"! Now I can't imagine anyone mistaking my 10 year old, rusting, 1.1L Escort for a police car so I always thought it was a bit OTT. If he'd stopped me riding a bike with a blue flashing light on it I suspect he'd have thrown the book at me!
  • There was a malignant censored from liverpool who killed a young lad on a bike down south through his dangerous driving of a stolen car(he was well known to the law btw), he was not charged with dangerous driving or manslaughter because his legal team argued that the poor young lad was not wearing a reflective jacket and so was not highly visible to all road users.

    Happy outcome though; the malignant censored later died in a car crash in a stolen car
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • spen666spen666 Posts: 17,709
    There was a malignant censored from liverpool who killed a young lad on a bike down south through his dangerous driving of a stolen car(he was well known to the law btw), he was not charged with dangerous driving or manslaughter because his legal team argued that the poor young lad was not wearing a reflective jacket and so was not highly visible to all road users.

    Happy outcome though; the malignant censored later died in a car crash in a stolen car

    Clearly this is not the full story

    The defence lawyers would not have had the opportunity to make such arguments to anyone pre charge
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  • spen666 wrote:
    There was a malignant censored from liverpool who killed a young lad on a bike down south through his dangerous driving of a stolen car(he was well known to the law btw), he was not charged with dangerous driving or manslaughter because his legal team argued that the poor young lad was not wearing a reflective jacket and so was not highly visible to all road users.

    Happy outcome though; the malignant censored later died in a car crash in a stolen car

    Clearly this is not the full story

    The defence lawyers would not have had the opportunity to make such arguments to anyone pre charge

    is the true story. All the censored got was a ban for stealing a car. What company do you wirk for Spen.....I'd highly recommend all users to avoid it. :wink:
    The dissenter is every human being at those moments of his life when he resigns
    momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.
  • ceecee Posts: 4,553
    hey spen...

    I'd have said the Vehicle Lighting regulations regarding blue light use on emergency vehicles, particularly the section on what constitues an emergency vehicle....

    You make an interesting point on attached to the person...not the vehicle....

    I am sure this can be argued both ways.....

    for instance....say I have a red rear light as normal....but don't have it attached to my bike, but my rucksack instead....

    It could feasibly be argued that by the letter, I did not have a rear red light fitted.....I would however hope that any one involved in the decision on the case would have the common sense to throw it out, because the light is displayed as if attached to the vehicle....

    I guess the same argument could be made for the blue.

    My best guess is.....you'd need a rockstar lawyer and an in-pocket decision maker(s) to get away with the blue light even if its attached to the person.....

    (Hmmmm..what about those trainers with the blue lights in the soles.....would they break the rules if I cycled at night with them on??)

    Academically...is probably a very interesting discussion for lawyers....
    Pragmatically...I would be doubtful of winning with the on the person arguement.
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  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 554
    In Only Fools and Horses Del boy's police chum Slater nicked is own father for having a defective rear light ....so there you are..mess about with rearlights at your peril
    jc
  • bigmatbigmat Posts: 5,125
    Spen:

    1) What I meant above was that the police are likely to be inclined to stop you if you have a blue light. They won't give a damn whether its "technically" allowed or not and you'll look a right censored getting into an argument with them about it. Why bother?

    2) The chap above with the dangerous driving anecdote - he appears to have confused "charged" with "convicted", but the point is still clear - no need to be such a pedant!
  • ProssPross Posts: 29,551
    spen666 wrote:
    There was a malignant censored from liverpool who killed a young lad on a bike down south through his dangerous driving of a stolen car(he was well known to the law btw), he was not charged with dangerous driving or manslaughter because his legal team argued that the poor young lad was not wearing a reflective jacket and so was not highly visible to all road users.

    Happy outcome though; the malignant censored later died in a car crash in a stolen car

    Clearly this is not the full story

    The defence lawyers would not have had the opportunity to make such arguments to anyone pre charge

    He didn't say it wasn't the true story, he said it wasn't the full story. Any chance you can point us in the direction of the case summary? I haven't had any luck in searching Crown v Malignant Scouse censored :wink:

    is the true story. All the censored got was a ban for stealing a car. What company do you wirk for Spen.....I'd highly recommend all users to avoid it. :wink:
  • Bartimaeus wrote:
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/vehicles/vssafety/guidanceaboutlightsonpedalbi4556

    The use of lighting and reflectors on pedal bicycles is regulated under the Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989, as amended. The most recent amendment is Statutory Instrument SI 2005 No. 2559 which came into force on October 23rd 2005.

    Optional lamps and reflectors

    1. Additional lighting to the above mentioned obligatory lights is permitted under certain conditions:
    2. - It must not dazzle other road users
    - It must be the correct colour (white to front, red to rear)
    - If it flashes it must conform to the required flash rate (1-4 equal flashes per second)
    3. Optional lights are not required to conform to BS 6102-3 and there is no minimum level of intensity. So for example, on the rear of the cycle a cyclist may wish to have both a steady red lamp which conforms to BS 6102-3 and an additional flashing lamp which is not meeting the minimum level of 4 candela.

    Surely a light attached to you or a pannier comes under the optional as above (assuming that you have met the obligatory lights bit) and is clearly covered.

    1. Additional lighting to the above mentioned obligatory lights is permitted under certain conditions:- It must be the correct colour (white to front, red to rear).

    End of surely?
  • dilemnadilemna Posts: 2,187
    Those that draught legislation with respect to bicycle construction and use and cycling have no experience of either.
    Life is like a roll of toilet paper; long and useful, but always ends at the wrong moment. Anon.
    Think how stupid the average person is.......
    half of them are even more stupid than you first thought.
  • EKIMIKEEKIMIKE Posts: 2,232
    cee wrote:
    Academically...is probably a very interesting discussion for lawyers....
    Pragmatically...I would be doubtful of winning with the on the person arguement.

    That just about sums it up.

    Why does anyone need to ride around with a blue light? What's wrong with red?
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