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Flashing LED lights!!

BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
edited November 2010 in Road beginners
Does anybody out there know the law regarding front lights?
I nearly collected a rider on my bonnet a few wks back, the rider(middle aged not a youth) was on a busyish road with no street lighting, the bike had one flashing LED on the front and if i hadn't taken a second quick look before i pulled out....crunch!
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Posts

  • ShutUpLegsShutUpLegs Posts: 3,522
    Did he have a helmet on more importantly?
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    If you struggled to see a flashing light then what makes you think you'd have seen a constant light?
    More problems but still living....
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
    Don't start that one off!!! That is an Individual choice and long may it stay that way.
  • willbevanwillbevan Posts: 1,241
    the brightness of the cheaper flashing front lights I personally think are a joke.

    Its the lights at night/dusk and even during the day that keep you alive.

    I am personally in favour of always having lights on, day time or night. I pretty much always ride with a dinotte 400l rear light, and a magic shine on the front, set to flashing. Also I have a second backup rear light on steady.
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  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Better than the (black-clad) rider with no lights on who pulled out in front of me last night. If it hadn't been for my cycling-honed super-senses...
  • Bozman wrote:
    Does anybody out there know the law regarding front lights?

    Up to 5-6 years ago any sort of LED light, flashing or otherwise, wasn't technically legal and you could be stopped by the police if you didn't have a filament type bulb to BS standards. The argument was that flashing lights could be confused with a motor vehicles indicators or emergency services vehicles.

    Common sense now prevails and you are now allowed LED flashing lights on cycles although, I agree, that the cheaper versions are rather poor.

    However, driving out of Cambridge at 5.30pm on Sunday evening I would have preferred to see some cyclists, clearly mostly under grads, using any sort of light and reflective clothing. :shock:
  • CiBCiB Posts: 6,098
    My understanding - and that's all it is - is that flashing lights are ok when used in conjunction with a steady light, which makes them legal as additional lighting but a grey area when used on their own.
  • MattC59MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    As far as I was aware, a flashing light is fine, but it must be accompanied by a constant light. However, according to the Highway code:

    At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.

    Personally, I use a constant front and rear light. IMO a flashing light, whilst it may (depending on the light) aid visibility, it makes depth perception more difficult.
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  • MattC59 wrote:
    However, according to the Highway code

    At night your cycle MUST have white front and red rear lights lit. It MUST also be fitted with a red rear reflector (and amber pedal reflectors, if manufactured after 1/10/85). White front reflectors and spoke reflectors will also help you to be seen. Flashing lights are permitted but it is recommended that cyclists who are riding in areas without street lighting use a steady front lamp.

    Just shows how confusing the Highway Code is. Seems to relate to a bike completely built up and sold by a retailer whereas most of us are riding bikes without a rear red reflector, spoke reflectors and clipless pedals that aren't reflective.

    Personally, when I'm in a motor vehicle I'd rather see a cyclist with a set of white and red flashing lights than no lights at all and I'd guess that Mr. Plod would take the same view.

    In Cambridge last year during the Autumn the local police were stopping cyclists riding in the dark, with no lights at all, issuing them with a £30 fixed penalty notice but giving them a free set of front and rear lights. It's a eduction process despite Cambridge, as a University city, having a large proportion of cyclists with a high intellect but usually also demonstrating a minimal amount of common sense. :cry:
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    I find flashing bike lights really annoying as a driver, so I always use mine on constant.
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 5,729
    MattC59 wrote:

    Personally, I use a constant front and rear light. IMO a flashing light, whilst it may (depending on the light) aid visibility, it makes depth perception more difficult.

    So very true. If you just use a flashing light you ar enot as visible as you might expect. Especially when you are pitched against a busy background environment of car lights, shop lights and everything else.
  • paulboxpaulbox Posts: 1,203
    Slightly different topic, but related... I saw two riders on major roads last week whose rear lights were completely obscured by their mud guards. Unbelieveable stupidity!
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  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    Lillywhite wrote:
    However, driving out of Cambridge at 5.30pm on Sunday evening I would have preferred to see some cyclists, clearly mostly under grads, using any sort of light and reflective clothing. :shock:

    The police there used to be (i left 10 years ago) good at setting up roadblocks for those without lights. You either bought a set of 20quid lights off them or got a 20quid fine (or had lights in the first place!)

    EDIT - should have read all the posts first... Also looks like inflation has caught up with it!
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  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,364 Lives Here
    Lillywhite wrote:
    In Cambridge last year during the Autumn the local police were stopping cyclists riding in the dark, with no lights at all, issuing them with a £30 fixed penalty notice but giving them a free set of front and rear lights. It's a eduction process despite Cambridge, as a University city, having a large proportion of cyclists with a high intellect but usually also demonstrating a minimal amount of common sense. :cry:

    Don't make it a town vs gown thing because it isn't.

    It's probably all my friends cycling back home to histon from the pub...
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,164
    Many lights flash at a very low frequency; blink and you have to wait 1/2 sec for the next ON phase. This is all the time a car needs to pull out in front of you.

    My front light doesn't have blinky mode. I prefer my rear to be steady.

    In fog I think you need one steady and one blink at the rear to ID you as a bike and to help in judging distances.

    I have seen riders with TWO rear lights on blink mode, going at different rates, most disconcerting and unneccessarryy.
  • [quote="

    I have seen riders with TWO rear lights on blink mode, going at different rates, most disconcerting and unneccessarryy.[/quote]

    may be disconcerting but certainly noticeable.
  • markos1963markos1963 Posts: 3,724
    APIII wrote:
    I find flashing bike lights really annoying as a driver, so I always use mine on constant.

    Surely you find it annoying is a good thing as you are taking notice of it. A lot of the reasons cars knock over bikes is that they don't notice other more vunerable road users or they don't want to notice.......

  • Don't make it a town vs gown thing because it isn't.

    It's probably all my friends cycling back home to histon from the pub...
    You obviously don't know Cambridge as well as I do having been born and bred there. :wink:

    The issue of cyclists riding without lights in the City is well known. In fact the Cambridge Evening News usually have a campaign in October just before the clocks are put back an hour. The reason for the number of bikes in the City is down to students, either under grads or overseas language students. Many will bring a bike, or hire one when they study there as a cheap and efficient way of getting about. All the cyclists I saw without lights along Huntingdon Road last Sunday appeared to be students, probably freshers.

    http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/issue/news/pol ... ut-lights/
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 65,364 Lives Here
    Lillywhite wrote:

    Don't make it a town vs gown thing because it isn't.

    It's probably all my friends cycling back home to histon from the pub...
    You obviously don't know Cambridge as well as I do having been born and bred there. :wink:

    The issue of cyclists riding without lights in the City is well known. In fact the Cambridge Evening News usually have a campaign in October just before the clocks are put back an hour. The reason for the number of bikes in the City is down to students, either under grads or overseas language students. Many will bring a bike, or hire one when they study here as a cheap and efficient way of getting about. All the cyclists I saw without lights along Huntingdon Road last Sunday appeared to be students, probably freshers.

    http://www.tcs.cam.ac.uk/issue/news/pol ... ut-lights/
    Huntingdon Road - I lwas brought up on that road. Trust me, after the physics student who died on girton corner, and all the students (and me) cycled past the coppers cleaning the pool of blood up with a mop, Girton college has become very strict on bicycle safety.

    Go stand on kings parade and half the cyclits without lights are locals, or middle aged women who stayed out a little too long. Just because they look like students ,doesn't mean they are. There's enough unecessary town vs gown hassle as there is.
  • Rick, the only reason that there are so many bikes in Cambridge and Oxford is simply down to the student population. The balance of probability is that the large proportion of cyclists without lights will be students that's why the CEN run the campaign and the police have crack downs which don't appear to happen in other parts of the country and certainly not where I now live.
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    I think there was approx one university (student or lecturer etc) death a term while I was there :(
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  • You can't blame the moron cyclists for not having lights when car drivers either drive round in pouring rain with just side lights or blind everyone illegaly driving with fog lights on the front when there is no fog.

    Blame the Police who do nothing about it.
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  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    markos1963 wrote:
    APIII wrote:
    I find flashing bike lights really annoying as a driver, so I always use mine on constant.

    Surely you find it annoying is a good thing as you are taking notice of it. A lot of the reasons cars knock over bikes is that they don't notice other more vunerable road users or they don't want to notice.......

    I thought someone might say that. No, is my answer, it's not a good thing. I don't want to p*ss car drivers off unnecessarily. You can see a good steady rear light from a long way off, it's why cars don't have flashing lights I guess (unless they're stopped and are using hazards). Like someone else has said, flashing lights make it difficult to judge distance. If they're on the front it's even worse.
  • APIII wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    APIII wrote:
    I find flashing bike lights really annoying as a driver, so I always use mine on constant.

    Surely you find it annoying is a good thing as you are taking notice of it. A lot of the reasons cars knock over bikes is that they don't notice other more vunerable road users or they don't want to notice.......

    I thought someone might say that. No, is my answer, it's not a good thing. I don't want to p*ss car drivers off unnecessarily. You can see a good steady rear light from a long way off, it's why cars don't have flashing lights I guess (unless they're stopped and are using hazards). Like someone else has said, flashing lights make it difficult to judge distance. If they're on the front it's even worse.

    Lights on constant are not as easy to spot really, or the police and fire and such like would all have a constant blue light, its a matter of opinion i think. But while driving my car i notice a flashing light more than constant light.
  • APIIIAPIII Posts: 2,010
    tamtheman wrote:
    APIII wrote:
    markos1963 wrote:
    APIII wrote:
    I find flashing bike lights really annoying as a driver, so I always use mine on constant.

    Surely you find it annoying is a good thing as you are taking notice of it. A lot of the reasons cars knock over bikes is that they don't notice other more vunerable road users or they don't want to notice.......

    I thought someone might say that. No, is my answer, it's not a good thing. I don't want to p*ss car drivers off unnecessarily. You can see a good steady rear light from a long way off, it's why cars don't have flashing lights I guess (unless they're stopped and are using hazards). Like someone else has said, flashing lights make it difficult to judge distance. If they're on the front it's even worse.

    Lights on constant are not as easy to spot really, or the police and fire and such like would all have a constant blue light, its a matter of opinion i think. But while driving my car i notice a flashing light more than constant light.

    You notice a light or you don't, it's as simple as that. How many cyclists have you hit from not noticing their light? You are right though, it's a matter of opinion, mine being they are unecessary, but you've probably noticed that :wink:
  • morstarmorstar Posts: 5,729
    motorbike lights can be phenomenally bright and yet the single beam can make depth perception tricky. A bike light is much leass bright and when it flashes you intermittently lose all perception. As a car driver I think a flashing light combined with a fixed light is far more noticeable than either on their own. The flasher draws attention but the fixed beam gives a much better fix on speed, position and trajectory.
    Blame car drivers all you like but just sticking any old light on that meets legal requirements isn't necessarily weighing the odds in your favour.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,518
    The issue was flashing lights!!! I ride with 2 solid front lights, the bloke that i nearly hit "twice" had one flashing LED in a busy area, he was lucky that i looked twice. A single flashing light in traffic can disappear.
    P.S Oxford is full of cyclists and a few good pubs, the Turf being one
  • InitialisedInitialised Posts: 3,047
    I always though Constant on the bike, flashers on the body
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • If you struggled to see a flashing light then what makes you think you'd have seen a constant light?

    ace.
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,878
    So why do the manufacturers produce lights with flashing modes if it isn't to make you safer?
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