Lights, reflectors and the law....

Schoie81
Schoie81 Posts: 749
edited June 2013 in Road beginners
Hi guys,

As I understand it, at night (ie. between sunset and sunrise the following day) if you're cycling on UK roads, you must have a forward facing white light, a rear facing red light, a rear facing red reflector and an orange reflector on both the front and back of both pedals.

The biggest problem I imagine is the pedal reflectors, as with clipless pedals, its not possible to do (is it?). I can't see why there's a need for a red rear reflector if you've got a red light on anyway? I imagine that the vast majority of cyclists use front and rear lights when its dark, but can't say i've noticed too many with reflectors on.

I can't imagine PC Plod being too bothered about stopping you to check your lights have BS marks and you've got all your reflectors in place, but if you do have insurance, it can affect your claim if your bike wasn't 'legal' (I've heard some insurers try anything to avoid paying out...). Also, can cause problems if you're ever in an accident - increasing your chances of being sued for causing it because your bike wasn't kitted out legally, or conversely, reduce your chances of a successful claim against someone if the accident was their fault.

So what does everyone do about this? Just ignore it and carry on regardless?
"I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"

Comments

  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    for winter commuting along country lanes & A roads
    Lights - I've had up to 3 rear lights and 2 front lights on. Multiple rear lights allows for extra brightness & failures - I have started one ride with 3 rear lights, one fell off down a bumpy descent and another failed (it was wet) at the shop stop - so ended up with one working rear light to get home with.

    Rear reflectors - one of my lights has a rear reflector built in - but TBH you wouldn't see it with the rest of the lights on.

    Other reflectors - I bought some reflective tape that has been applied to the mudguards - it stands out somewhat! I also have reflective clothing - jacket & reflective strips on the longs & overshoes - I would think this would far outweigh the benefit of pedal reflectors. The pedal reflectors should give a vertical moving reflector that indicate to the driver that it's a cyclist - so the reflective bits on my overshoes & longs cover that.
    The only reflective on the front is my jacket - but the Cateye Nano + is that flippin bright that you're not going to see anything other than that - on full power I've had cars dip their headlights before they've got round the corner ... (yes the light is directed down at the road).

    All in all, I believe my winter visibility is significantly better than the summer visibility. I've not had to test the legal standings yet (and hope not too) - but as the Police haven't stopped me I'm assuming they don't think it's an issue. ;)
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,522
    I always thought it was a legal requirement to have reflectors on a bike when the shop sells it. After that they're not needed.
  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    No reflectors, but 2 front and 2 rear lights (one steady the other flashing)
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • rpherts
    rpherts Posts: 207
    Interesting about the pedal reflectors. I would estimate 1 in 50 road bikes are covered. If I ride at night I have reflective bands around my ankles, should be the same but sometimes the Law is an ass.
  • Stewpot407
    Stewpot407 Posts: 97
    monkimark wrote:
    I always thought it was a legal requirement to have reflectors on a bike when the shop sells it. After that they're not needed.

    mmm...that sounds familiar but in reality I'm not sure it happens all the time. Can't see a Felt F1 or Pina Dogma leaving the shop covered in reflectors, in fact they don't even come with peddles that have reflectors on them .... perhaps they should :lol:

    On another note there aren't any MOT's to get through or equivalent VOSA group to sign off new builds before they hit the road. I'm guessing its a law (if there is one) that can't be policed/regulated.

    All that said I bet you couldn't find a child's bike, sold on the high street without reflectors.

    Cheers

    Stew
    An aging Trek 5500 OCLV
    Not so aging Pina Dogma (AK61)
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    As I said, so long as you have lights on when its dark, I think you'd be unlucky to get pulled by the police just on the basis of missing reflectors (an on-the-spot £30 fine is the punishment for non-compliance - just for info...). I guess though if you were riding like an idiot they might stop you, have a word about how you're riding and make it stick in your mind by relieving you of £30 at the same time. If you're being sensible though I think its only likely to become an issue if you have an accident, and even then, how much of an issue is debatable...and we all just hope that day never comes....
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    I've never heard of any claims reduced due to lack of pedal reflectors or front and rear reflectors ? Have any been reported ?

    The main point is to try and not to be in a position where you need to make a claim. So as others have posted - dont rely on one rear light. I always have two at least in case one fails. If you ride a lot at night you can get reflective tape for the back of your pedals - black or white. Most cycling shoes (not all for some reason) have reflective bits and most overshoes do.

    If you've got mudguards then thats a brilliant place for reflectives.
  • Pross
    Pross Posts: 40,514
    The only thing I can imagine is some driver's insurance company lawyers picking up on the fact that the cyclist they knocked down was lit up like a Christmas tree but that their lights weren't BS rated or that they didn't have pedal reflectors. You would hope in that situation a judge would determine the cyclist had taken sufficient precautions but you never know!

    To cover that my rear lights are BS standard (I think) and my crappy light that I have on flash is to BS. I have been using orange ankle bands in lieu of pedal reflectors but I'm intending getting orange reflective tape for the back of my pedals for next winter.
  • monkimark
    monkimark Posts: 1,522
    i was wrong - it is the law
    https://www.gov.uk/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82/overview-59-to-71
    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/schedule/1/made
    Not sure what use reflectors would be on spd pedals (even if you could fit them somehow) since they'd be hidden by the shoe
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    oxoman wrote:
    The ones they don't like are the people with no lights that have no hi viz that jump on and off the pavement then moan when people hit them.
    Usually wearing black clothing ... the rider (I can't call them cyclists ... ) that is.
  • doug5_10
    doug5_10 Posts: 465
    The pedal reflector law is completely daft, don't know of any examples of anybody falling foul of that in any legal action? Although I could see it happening with some driver/insurance company trying to worm their way out of paying up. What percentage of those riding in the dark/winter (mainly commuters) ride clipless? A fair few I would guess, although if you're a 'proper' cyclist using clipless, you're more than likely have 'proper' clothes/lights/whistling doo-daas that completely supersede the absence of pedal reflectors (although I can still picture this being argued against in any legal proceedings!)
    Edinburgh Revolution Curve
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/1920048
  • I've seen mentioned somewhere, but not sure how valid it is, that reflectors and bells are required to be fitted to all bikes sold as complete. This is circumvented by selling bikes minus pedals.

    Also, there are some attachments for some types of Shimano SPD and SL pedals if you are worried.
  • Schoie81
    Schoie81 Posts: 749
    I've seen mentioned somewhere, but not sure how valid it is, that reflectors and bells are required to be fitted to all bikes sold as complete. This is circumvented by selling bikes minus pedals.

    Also, there are some attachments for some types of Shimano SPD and SL pedals if you are worried.

    I wonder when a bike becomes 'complete' then... If you buy a bike without pedals, but buy pedals at the same time, from the same shop, is that a 'complete' bike? Or would it only be 'complete' if they fitted the pedals for you before you picked it up?

    I'm not worried!! I've only had a road bike for a month and so with the light nights, it hasn't been an issue for me yet. In the winter I'll probably still commute on my MTB, which does comply with the law (at the moment :wink: ) and my road bike will be for weekend, daytime rides. As others have said, I've no intention of going out on the road without making sure other people can clearly see me, so i'll always have hi-viz clothes on, reflective patches where possible and lights, and if the police still aren't happy (I don't see many on the routes I cycle - i'm not often in urban areas) then I guess i'll cross that bridge when I come to it!! I was really just curious to whether others were aware of the law and/or worry about fully complying with it.
    "I look pretty young, but I'm just back-dated"
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Schoie81 wrote:
    I was really just curious to whether others were aware of the law and/or worry about fully complying with it.
    Yes - and no, just the spirit of the law ...
    Don't forget - in any accident claim you're claiming against the driver - not his insurance co.

    But then - I've not heard of any insurance co inspecting the bike and confirming it complies with the lighting regulations. I suspect that would only be an issue if the driver said you had no lights/reflectors etc etc . ...
  • unixnerd
    unixnerd Posts: 2,864
    The biggest problem I imagine is the pedal reflectors, as with clipless pedals, its not possible to do (is it?).

    You can do it with SPDs: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/683031-New-Sh ... 1051613300
    Some SPDs even come with these fitted and I have a set on my winter bike. Personally I think they're a really good idea if you cycle on unlit country roads as a driver in the distance will know he's looking at a bicycle and not something faster.
    I can't see why there's a need for a red rear reflector if you've got a red light on anyway?

    As a backup in case your battery runs out, even cars have them after all.
    http://www.strathspey.co.uk - Quality Binoculars at a Sensible Price.
    Specialized Roubaix SL3 Expert 2012, Cannondale CAAD5,
    Marin Mount Vision (1997), Edinburgh Country tourer, 3 cats!
  • slowbike
    slowbike Posts: 8,498
    Sometimes it's best if the car driver does think your faster - if they think you're a cyclist then they go into overtake mode straight away.

    As for rear light battery failure - once I started with 3 lights working, lost one on a bumpy section and another failed at a stop - resulting in one rear light to get me home