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The law on bicycle reflectors

rumbatazrumbataz Posts: 796
edited September 2015 in Road beginners
I've read up a little bit on the law regarding reflectors. Perhaps I've misunderstood things things but here's what I think applies:

1. You must have a front-facing and a rear-facing amber reflector on your pedals at ALL times;

2. You must have a rear reflector when cycling at night.

Ignoring lights for a moment, is that a fair summary on the current UK laws regarding reflectors?

By bike came with high quality front and rear reflectors but I took them off to install lights due to space issues. I also replaced my pedals with clip-less ones and these have no reflectors on them although an ungainly reflector kit is available for them at extra cost.

As someone who tries to do the right thing and regularly witnesses casual cyclists riding no-handed on pavements without helmets whilst texting on their phones, am I worrying too much about the law on reflectors? I rarely cycle at night but will always use lights and reflective clothing if I do.

Posts

  • Mad_MalxMad_Malx Posts: 4,031
    You are worrying too much.
    What are you worried about plod, or drivers?
    You would definitely not be pulled up by the police.
    If you are dressed & lit as you describe then another set of reflectors will make no difference to your chances of being hit, but the driver's lawyer would still claim its your fault.
  • sungodsungod Posts: 12,700
    the law also requires drivers to stay within the speed limit

    for night time riding get a pair of orange ankle reflectors (springy bands, they take a few seconds to wrap on), they'll do a much better job than pedal ones
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • I don't think anyone, plod included, is all that bothered about cyclists using reflectors as long as they are using lights after dark.

    The bike I use for commuting - so the one that does a lot of dark miles at rush hour - has a full compliment of reflectors for two reasons. Firstly, two amber pedal reflectors going up and down caught by a car's headlights identifies a cyclist up the road far better than any flashing lights and, secondly and perhaps more cynically, if your bike is not technically legal (no reflectors) a defence lawyer may be able to use it to prove contributory negligence.
  • redvisionredvision Posts: 2,615
    OP are you more concerned about the law or using something to attract the attention of drivers & help you be seen?

    I do a significant amount of my training at night. In my experience lights are the most important thing for night riding, not reflectors. The law on this matter is quite frankly out of date.
    I do not, and never have had reflectors for night riding. I simply have two rear lights (one on flash and one steady), and a front light. All my jerseys do tend to have at least a small reflective strip, but from speaking with drivers i know who have passed me at night it is the lights which get their attention, not the reflective detail.

    OP the police are not going to stop you for riding without reflectors at night (unless you have done something to massively p*** them off).
  • To all those that asked: I was concerned about the law, to be honest. I cycle very defensively and try never to put myself or anyone else at risk. Hence, I always do make sure I'm very visible.

    My question came about because when I collected my bike last week it came with a white front and red rear reflector already attached. I think the nasty nylon pedals are attached because they have the required amber reflectors already on them. As space is a premium on the seatpost and the handlebar, I removed both reflectors and I also swapped out the nylon pedals for clipless ones.

    Whilst browsing cycling sites I came across an article about reflectors that pointed to a government site which went into the detail that I posted in my opening post.

    I guess it's not a big deal and nothing to worry about.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    To all those that asked: I was concerned about the law, to be honest. I cycle very defensively and try never to put myself or anyone else at risk. Hence, I always do make sure I'm very visible.

    My question came about because when I collected my bike last week it came with a white front and red rear reflector already attached. I think the nasty nylon pedals are attached because they have the required amber reflectors already on them. As space is a premium on the seatpost and the handlebar, I removed both reflectors and I also swapped out the nylon pedals for clipless ones.

    Whilst browsing cycling sites I came across an article about reflectors that pointed to a government site which went into the detail that I posted in my opening post.

    I guess it's not a big deal and nothing to worry about.

    Where the law applies with reflectors, is that the shop cannot sell the bike without them. They'll either be fitted to the bike when you collect it or be in a bag of bits that come with it. Whether you fit them/take them off or not is up to you.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    If you're not riding at night there's censored all point in reflectors.

    I'd go for being visible over strictly complying with regulations.

    So if I'm riding in daylight I won't be all in black.

    If it's dull - I'll have a light at the back.

    If I'm riding at night then two lights at the back and two at the front.

    Tyre flys on the wheels for side visibility.

    Reflective tape can be liberally applied to the bike or bags etc if needed.

    I'm not technically legal but it's best to be visible rather than dimly lit but complying to the law.
  • Highway Code https://www.gov.uk/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82. Rule 60

    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)

    These lights and reflectors must meet the standards of the The Road Vehicles Lighting Regulations 1989. Schedule 20 says there must be two reflectors on a pedal, one placed on the leading edge and one on the trailing edge of each pedal, such that the reflector on the leading edge of each pedal is plainly visible to the front and the reflector on the trailing edge of each pedal is plainly visible to the rear.

    The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010 specify that a bell and all reflectors are to be provided with a new bike, but there is no requirement for the purchaser to keep them on the bike. (except to comply with the law when riding at night)

    Failure to fit lights, rear reflector and pedal reflectors is a breach of the RVLR and is a criminal offence. However prosecution for lack of reflectors is unlikely to happen if you are otherwise visible. If you are involved in a SMIDSY, it could be argued that using a bike on public roads at night without rear and pedal reflectors was contributory negligence; wilfully sacrificing safety for speed. This would not be credible if you were lit up like a Xmas tree.

    I have applied some retro reflective tape to the back of my seatpost and part of the seat stays on my winter bike, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/221188866742?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&var=520134426184&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Coupled with the two rear lights and two front, this makes me very visible.
  • NeXXusNeXXus Posts: 854
    Pedals also require rear facing reflectors but the majority of people on SPDSL and even SPD, aren't going to even consider this.

    If riding solo I wear as much reflective stuff as possible + more light than I probably need (Can tone this down if I'm meeting clubmates) There would really be no excuse for not seeing me
    And the people bowed and prayed, to the neon god they made.
  • there was a goon in Westminster a few years back (MP or Lord can't remember now) who tried to bring a Bill in, ref reflectors on bikes and I think, mostly about reflectors on pedals. The law is the law but given what others have said ref spd's etc (and there is now a company doing spd's with reflectors!!) that if you're lit up like a Xmas tree then a defence lawyer would be hard pushed to win in a court. A judge may agree that you were technically illegal (he has to) but even if he said lack of reflectors were a contributing factor, the caveat would be that you were so well visible that a driver would be expected to easily see you.

    I use some hi viz in the day, sometimes even have high powered lights on front and rear and deffo have lights/reflective clothing in the night. I have a very strong lumen rear light which you could see from Mars......no excuses from drivers!

    as an aside, I wear hi viz on my motorbike and was stopped by a solicitor once at a garage and he said..."nice to see you in hi viz.......if someone hits you then even before the arguments start in court, you're 80% in the right in the eyes of the judiciary"
  • I have applied some retro reflective tape to the back of my seatpost and part of the seat stays on my winter bike, http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/221188866742?_trksid=p2060778.m2749.l2649&var=520134426184&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    Coupled with the two rear lights and two front, this makes me very visible.

    Thanks for the reminder - Just ordered 3M each of Blue and Yellow to wrap around parts of my bike!
    Intent on Cycling Commuting on a budget, but keep on breaking/crashing/finding nice stuff to buy.
    Bike 1 (Broken) - Bike 2(Borked) - Bike 3(broken spokes) - Bike 4( Needs Work) - Bike 5 (in bits) - Bike 6* ...
  • Surely the point about reflectors is they don't rely on batteries to be work and hence continue working when your lights have failed. For sure hi-viz does the same thing.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Reflectives do work well and as has been said - they can't run out of battery.
    If you're cycling at night at the bare minimum get something reflective on your feet or lower legs.

    They show that you're a cyclist from miles off. And you never know when your back light is going to fail or fall off.
  • navrig2navrig2 Posts: 1,558
    edited November 2019

    Just noticed this is a very old thread. Still I have typed this stuff already so may as well leave it.

    Surely the point about reflectors is they don't rely on batteries to be work and hence continue working when your lights have failed. For sure hi-viz does the same thing.

    [Pedant hat on] Hi-viz does not do the same thing. Hi-viz is fluoro coloured clothing (Orange, yellow, green). You need to add reflective strips to get the effect you are referring to.

    I've bought several bikes over the web. Supplier's compliance with the law? Patchy to say the least.

    Ribble - failed. No bell. (Twice)
    Fatbirds - failed. No bell.
    Bird MTB - passed. I even kept the bell on the bike and have used it.

    I don't know anyone who rides a road bike has the required reflectors (rear, front and pedals) and a bell. All have decent lights - be seen and see.
  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    If you think the average plod, including those assigned to the Roads Policing Unit have infallible knowledge of the construction and use regs for cycles, you're very much mistaken. There are bigger fish to fry and more important aspects of law to be concentrating on with the limited resources available.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.



  • So if I'm riding in daylight I won't be all in black.


    Why's that?

    I wear 90% black.

  • StillGoingStillGoing Posts: 5,207
    Not if it's raining because you've stated elsewhere that you'd sooner sit on your turbo playing on Zwift.
    I ride a bike. Doesn't make me green or a tree hugger. I drive a car too.
  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 6,036
    Although I haven't got round to it I do think attaching some kind of reflectors is ideal just to stay within the law. That's as well as proper lights and visible clothing not instead of. I assume that some kind of reflective adhesive strip would fulfil the legal obligation or does it have to be some kind of British Standard approved relflector ?

    A bit of tape would be pretty easy to attach to a seat post - so would a reflector of course (some lights are both) but many of us would prefer to use that space for a light and if we are actually racing some commissaires may pull you up for a traditional reflector. Not sure if attaching reflective tape to all pedals would be possible but where it is no harm in doing so.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    mbrig11 said:




    So if I'm riding in daylight I won't be all in black.


    Why's that?

    I wear 90% black.

    My mate used to ride in all black - on a Sunday we ride out to meet each other and then one turns round and we start the ride. Foolproof eh ?

    Except it was a dull day. He was under the trees and I didn't see him at all and I was looking for him. So imagine you're a driver with a hangover and a rainy windscreen.

    I know you should be safe on the roads - but there are crappy drivers out there. A bit of colour or lights and you can be seen miles off.
  • Not if it's raining because you've stated elsewhere that you'd sooner sit on your turbo playing on Zwift.

    Indeed.
  • fenix said:

    mbrig11 said:




    So if I'm riding in daylight I won't be all in black.


    Why's that?

    I wear 90% black.

    So imagine you're a driver with a hangover and a rainy windscreen.

    I
    I thought cyclists were more likely to be hit if they were wearing fluoro

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