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Lights - Flashing mode a contravention?

johnnicebutdimjohnnicebutdim Posts: 99
edited February 2013 in Road general
I've just taken delivery of a rear light for my bike and read the notes on the box. It says:
'LED cycle lights should only be used for extra visibility and should not be used in flashing mode when attached to your cycle as it is a contravention of the Road Vehicle & Lighting regulations'.

If that's true, there are a lot of people out there 'breaking the law!

Your views?
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Posts

  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    long long story

    When LED's were first on sale (early 1990's) they were not legal for use by themselves, but as the legal requirement on a bike is a rear, front, pedal and wheel reflectors, any extra lights is a bonus even if its flashing (that was the concern, it could cause a fit or something)

    The police took no notice of bikes with no lights (which is worse)

    20 years later we are now covered by EU standards on bike lights (LED is perfectly acceptable) but the paper instructions that come with lights tend to have 20 languages on them and in some place in the world LED's are not legal (backward countries like the US)

    The forward thinking lawyer of the company put this statement on the info sheet so they can be sold worldwide without any comeback
  • Great. I can flash away to my hearts content then. Cheers!
  • cornerblockcornerblock Posts: 3,228
    Great. I can flash away to my hearts content then. Cheers!

    No! That is illegal.
  • estampidaestampida Posts: 1,008
    Thats funny

    I can really see plod measuring the Hz of your LED light..... or the candle power......

    surly there are plenty of rapists and murderers for plod to be getting on with.......
  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 8,221
    Don't panic just flash away perhaps even have 2 lights and if stopped put one on solid. As to the other type of flashing whatever floats your boat. As DIY has noted via CTC various laws are in place but we regulary break them. I.E SPD pedals most don't have reflectors unless you have the clip on flats. Most UK police forces aren't bothered as long as you are lit up and can be seen and not blinding oncoming vehicles, their gripes are Mr or Mrs worker on bike in the dark with no lights or hi viz gear dressed in dark clothes that cannot be seen until to late.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • Like all regulations, there is plenty of stating the obvious!

    I don't use lights to be legal, I use them to be seen as I'm sure most riders do.

    All is clear now, not only am I safe but LEGAL too....how nice!
  • NapoleonDNapoleonD Posts: 18,632
    I can count on no fingers the number of officers I know that have reported/ticketed someone for having flashing lights...
    Twitter - @NapD
    Strava - Alex Taylor (sportstest.co.uk)
    ABCC Cycling Coach
  • NapoleonD wrote:
    I can count on no fingers the number of officers I know that have reported/ticketed someone for having flashing lights...

    As it should be. I'm a great fan of using 'common sense'.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Rear light ok, front light madness... They disappear in busy traffic and they a nightmare when it comes to judging distances.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Daytime
    Depending on lighting levels I'll put a single LED flashing light on the rear and same on the front - if it's bright enough then neither are on.

    Evening/Night
    Rear - 2 lights that are on flash mode - one is a single LED flash and the other is a 5 LED that does some sort of sequence - there is always at least one LED lit and it's very visible from behind.
    Front - depends on the road - if it's my usual fast road with few junctions then my primary concern is being able to see where I'm going - I have a bright LED light that I can put in either constant full power or 1/2 power depending on conditions. Alongside this is a small flashing LED light - enough for drivers to see me.
    Through town the other night then the small flashing LED was on and the bright one was on 1/2power with flashes to full power - I don't think either 1/2 or full power constant would've been more suitable as it seems to me that a flashing light does indicate that it belongs to a pushbike rather than a motorbike.

    On the subject of lights - I've seen a couple of riders on the road with bright helmet lights and dimmer or no handlebar mounted lights - to me this isn't as clear as a bright handlebar light - but I can understand it's usefulness for offroading.
  • slowbike wrote:
    I have a bright LED light that I can put in either constant full power or 1/2 power depending on conditions.

    What make & Model are you running? I commute through urban and rural areas on my way home but think I need a better front to see potholes (of which there are many!) as I go?
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    It's the Cateye Nano Shot Plus

    Bright enough to see cycling around the lanes that I don't know last night ...

    But quite pricey - one of the Cree ones of Ebay may be better value ...
  • slowbike wrote:
    But quite pricey - one of the Cree ones of Ebay may be better value ...


    Yes, a friend has recommended a Cree XML T6 which does seem a reasonable price on Ebay or Amazon.
  • KerguelenKerguelen Posts: 248
    NapoleonD wrote:
    I can count on no fingers the number of officers I know that have reported/ticketed someone for having flashing lights...

    I've ridden past Strathclyde's finest on many occasions with all 6 (yes, 6) lights in flashing mode and they've not done anything. They're probably just glad I've got lights at all.
  • I've ridden past Strathclyde's finest on many occasions with all 6 (yes, 6) lights in flashing mode and they've not done anything. They're probably just glad I've got lights at all.

    They were probably blinded like rabbits in a headlight and frozen to the spot!
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    slowbike wrote:
    But quite pricey - one of the Cree ones of Ebay may be better value ...


    Yes, a friend has recommended a Cree XML T6 which does seem a reasonable price on Ebay or Amazon.
    The reason I got the Cateye one was because I wanted to know I had one decent light on the front - I ride on country roads in the dark so seeing and being seen is vital! I may get a Cree one as a backup for next winter.

    I do similar on the back - I've got one cheapy light and one Cateye 5LED bar.

    Always 2 lights fitted to the back in the dark - just incase one fails - and it has before (damp prevented it turning on again after a stop)
  • mabbomabbo Posts: 117
    I commute dark country roads a couple of times a week, 18 miles each way. Have two back lights, one steady, one 5 LED flasher. Also have two small knog style rear flashers on my helmet. On the front, one of the chinese Cree LED'S, always on constant, low or medium setting, two small white flashers on the helmet. Hi-viz jacket, winter bike is old, so flat pedals with reflectors. Ther'e loads of stuff about what is and isn't legal, but two points, It is a legal requirment to have a red rear reflector, and as stated elsewhere pedal reflectors. Nobody gets booked for non compliance, but if you had a bump with a motor vehicle, and they got a smart savvy lawey, you may find any claim up the swanee if they spotted any non compliance.

    Another topic, how come motorists heading towards me in the dark dip their beams for other vehicles, but not for me on my bike. Which of course means I can see nothing for about 50 yards !!!! Car drivers seem to think cyclists eyes are different. Anyone else get that?
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    mabbo wrote:
    It is a legal requirment to have a red rear reflector, and as stated elsewhere pedal reflectors.
    Ah - yes, one of my rear lights has a built in reflector ...

    My overshoes and tights have reflective strips in them - so I'm reliant on them being classed as "pedal reflectors" ... obviously someone may be pedantic and say they're not - but TBH, 2 lights, hi vis jacket, reflective clothing, reflective strip on the rear mudguard - if they haven't seen me then they're either blind or they're not looking where they're going and reflectors on the pedals wouldn't make any difference!
    mabbo wrote:
    Another topic, how come motorists heading towards me in the dark dip their beams for other vehicles, but not for me on my bike. Which of course means I can see nothing for about 50 yards !!!! Car drivers seem to think cyclists eyes are different. Anyone else get that?
    Occasionally - and when they do I flash up the Nano to full beam - they dip and so do I ...

    TBH this is partly why I want a second powerful light on the front - so I can beam up with that ... :D
  • KerguelenKerguelen Posts: 248
    I've ridden past Strathclyde's finest on many occasions with all 6 (yes, 6) lights in flashing mode and they've not done anything. They're probably just glad I've got lights at all.

    They were probably blinded like rabbits in a headlight and frozen to the spot!

    I wouldn't be surprised. 2 Moon X-500s on the bars and a Smart Lunar 35 on top of my lid will do that. 3 flashing tail lights as well.
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    slowbike wrote:
    I have a bright LED light that I can put in either constant full power or 1/2 power depending on conditions.

    What make & Model are you running? I commute through urban and rural areas on my way home but think I need a better front to see potholes (of which there are many!) as I go?

    you want one of these:
    http://www.lightmalls.com/ultrafire-501 ... ht-1-18650
    you'll need a charger and some bats (18650) too. and a mount. But you wont find anything brighter for the money.

    On the subject of pedal reflectors and reflective strips. Technically they do need to be on the pedal and appropriately stamped.
  • Kerguelen wrote:
    I've ridden past Strathclyde's finest on many occasions with all 6 (yes, 6) lights in flashing mode and they've not done anything. They're probably just glad I've got lights at all.

    They were probably blinded like rabbits in a headlight and frozen to the spot!

    I wouldn't be surprised. 2 Moon X-500s on the bars and a Smart Lunar 35 on top of my lid will do that. 3 flashing tail lights as well.

    Well, I stand corrected. Apparently 3 flashing headlights were not visible to the censored in an SUV who pulled out in front of me at a roundabout last night.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Kerguelen wrote:
    Well, I stand corrected. Apparently 3 flashing headlights were not visible to the fool in an SUV who pulled out in front of me at a roundabout last night.

    I'd suggest having at least one on the bars on constant ... not that it excuses twits who don't look ...
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,920
    Bozman wrote:
    Rear light ok, front light madness... They disappear in busy traffic and they a nightmare when it comes to judging distances.

    Nonsense. A steady light is far harder to pick out in busy traffic as it is just one light amongst many. A flasher catches the attention far more. I also don't get the judging distance arguement - bike lights are hard to judge anyway as they are so small but I don't find it any harder if a light is flashing. But to be safe I always have one on constant and one on flash at the front with two on different flash modes plus a fibre flare on constant on the rear. I also use a blue fibre flare on flash on the top tube to give some side visibility, rear and spoke reflectors, orange snap band reflectors on my ankles and a Night Vision jacket but still some people pull out in front of me. The only downside of using a front flasher IMO is that it marks you out as a bike and drivers then seem to think you will only be going about 12 mph, with a high power solid light they might think you are a motorbike and expect you to arrive more quickly.
  • I also don't get the judging distance arguement - bike lights are hard to judge anyway as they are so small but I don't find it any harder if a light is flashing.

    Failure of visual estimation of motion under strobe. T.A. Croft, 1971. Nature 231:397

    I find the best option is one powerful light such as Hope (but angled down so as not to blind other road users) and a flashing light next to it. If they're both flashing then people can't judge distance, if they're both constant then you can appear to be a car way off in the distance.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Pross wrote:
    Bozman wrote:
    Rear light ok, front light madness... They disappear in busy traffic and they a nightmare when it comes to judging distances.

    Nonsense. A steady light is far harder to pick out in busy traffic as it is just one light amongst many. A flasher catches the attention far more. I also don't get the judging distance arguement - bike lights are hard to judge anyway as they are so small but I don't find it any harder if a light is flashing. But to be safe I always have one on constant and one on flash at the front with two on different flash modes plus a fibre flare on constant on the rear. I also use a blue fibre flare on flash on the top tube to give some side visibility, rear and spoke reflectors, orange snap band reflectors on my ankles and a Night Vision jacket but still some people pull out in front of me. The only downside of using a front flasher IMO is that it marks you out as a bike and drivers then seem to think you will only be going about 12 mph, with a high power solid light they might think you are a motorbike and expect you to arrive more quickly.

    I nearly collected a cyclist on my bonnet about 5 years ago, the idiot had one small flashing light in busy traffic, being a motorcyclist I always double check before pulling out and if I hadn't the guy would have been under my wheels. He was as good as invisible in the dark with moving traffic, his light just merged in to distant oncoming traffic.
    This came up in conversation the other week, out of 6, 4 of us had had the same close call.
    Buy a bloody 1800 lumin Cree for £25 and live a bit longer, no cyclist who gets totalled using a forward facing flashing led light would get any sympathy from me.
  • ProssPross Posts: 23,920
    Bozman wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Bozman wrote:
    Rear light ok, front light madness... They disappear in busy traffic and they a nightmare when it comes to judging distances.

    Nonsense. A steady light is far harder to pick out in busy traffic as it is just one light amongst many. A flasher catches the attention far more. I also don't get the judging distance arguement - bike lights are hard to judge anyway as they are so small but I don't find it any harder if a light is flashing. But to be safe I always have one on constant and one on flash at the front with two on different flash modes plus a fibre flare on constant on the rear. I also use a blue fibre flare on flash on the top tube to give some side visibility, rear and spoke reflectors, orange snap band reflectors on my ankles and a Night Vision jacket but still some people pull out in front of me. The only downside of using a front flasher IMO is that it marks you out as a bike and drivers then seem to think you will only be going about 12 mph, with a high power solid light they might think you are a motorbike and expect you to arrive more quickly.

    I nearly collected a cyclist on my bonnet about 5 years ago, the idiot had one small flashing light in busy traffic, being a motorcyclist I always double check before pulling out and if I hadn't the guy would have been under my wheels. He was as good as invisible in the dark with moving traffic, his light just merged in to distant oncoming traffic.
    This came up in conversation the other week, out of 6, 4 of us had had the same close call.
    Buy a bloody 1800 lumin Cree for £25 and live a bit longer, no cyclist who gets totalled using a forward facing flashing led light would get any sympathy from me.

    Surely that's more to do with the size of the light rather than it being on strobe? When I'm sat in stationery traffic in the dark and cyclists are filtering I tend to notice the flashing lights in my mirror before the steady lights. Surely this is the reason emergency services or road works vehicles use flashing lights? I use a 1200 lumen Magicshine type light on steady and a 600 lumen torch on strobe. However, on one particular roundabout I switch the 1200 lumen light onto strobe as well as I got fed up with drivers somehow not seeing me. It hasn't happened since. Nice to know that you would have no sympathy for a fellow cyclist who gets wiped out when using a light that is legal and that no motorist who is paying attention should miss seeing though.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    Like you I normally have a bright steady light and a flashing one on the front (dim rides and the flashing one goes on, only when I need to see where I'm going does the bright one go on - but these are country roads) .. but cycling back through town the other evening - in the dark, wet and windy conditions - I felt that my visibility wasn't enough on the front - a steady light could be misinterpreted and my flashing one isn't that bright - so I switched my bright one on to "hyperconstant" - which is constant 1/2 power with high power flashes - I felt a lot more comfortable with that. It's the first time I've used it whilst riding and I can now see why they made that facility - it's not flashing and it's not constant - it's both - so it attracts attention and hopefully enables the driver to identify me properly.
  • BozmanBozman Posts: 2,570
    Pross wrote:
    Bozman wrote:
    Pross wrote:
    Bozman wrote:
    Rear light ok, front light madness... They disappear in busy traffic and they a nightmare when it comes to judging distances.

    Nonsense. A steady light is far harder to pick out in busy traffic as it is just one light amongst many. A flasher catches the attention far more. I also don't get the judging distance arguement - bike lights are hard to judge anyway as they are so small but I don't find it any harder if a light is flashing. But to be safe I always have one on constant and one on flash at the front with two on different flash modes plus a fibre flare on constant on the rear. I also use a blue fibre flare on flash on the top tube to give some side visibility, rear and spoke reflectors, orange snap band reflectors on my ankles and a Night Vision jacket but still some people pull out in front of me. The only downside of using a front flasher IMO is that it marks you out as a bike and drivers then seem to think you will only be going about 12 mph, with a high power solid light they might think you are a motorbike and expect you to arrive more quickly.

    I nearly collected a cyclist on my bonnet about 5 years ago, the idiot had one small flashing light in busy traffic, being a motorcyclist I always double check before pulling out and if I hadn't the guy would have been under my wheels. He was as good as invisible in the dark with moving traffic, his light just merged in to distant oncoming traffic.
    This came up in conversation the other week, out of 6, 4 of us had had the same close call.
    Buy a bloody 1800 lumin Cree for £25 and live a bit longer, no cyclist who gets totalled using a forward facing flashing led light would get any sympathy from me.

    Surely that's more to do with the size of the light rather than it being on strobe? When I'm sat in stationery traffic in the dark and cyclists are filtering I tend to notice the flashing lights in my mirror before the steady lights. Surely this is the reason emergency services or road works vehicles use flashing lights? I use a 1200 lumen Magicshine type light on steady and a 600 lumen torch on strobe. However, on one particular roundabout I switch the 1200 lumen light onto strobe as well as I got fed up with drivers somehow not seeing me. It hasn't happened since. Nice to know that you would have no sympathy for a fellow cyclist who gets wiped out when using a light that is legal and that no motorist who is paying attention should miss seeing though.

    Yes it does, I didn't really explain it very well, I'm talking low lumin lights not a 1200 lumin light that'll burn your retina out.
  • NapoleonD wrote:
    I can count on no fingers the number of officers I know that have reported/ticketed someone for having flashing lights...

    I doubt most officers even know what the law is regarding flashing lights. I'd rather see someone with flashing lights than nothing at all.
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